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Monday, August 1, 2011
Security vs uncertainty
A few years ago a friend of mine told me that he had just quit his permanent job at some office and started to work as a freelance. "Freelance?" I answered "You had just started in that field, how are you going to find new customers?"
It turned out that he already had two customers and they probably were the same ones that he was dealing with at the office. As an independent professional he was earning pretty much the same money, working half the time. My friend's revelation helped me to get a clearer understanding of some of the decisions that I had made myself a few years back. The calculations that he had done could have actually been done by anyone else who does the same job. Why then he's the only one I know of who got to that conclusion? Now I know the answer well, as it is in fact the same reason why I also left my job as a permanent employee more that ten years ago: he didn't care about the dose of uncertainty that the new situation would have injected into his life.
I'll leave out on purpose the other - more or less important - factors that might have made my friend feel at ease even without having a stable job and I'll focus on my point of view on the matter instead.
I don't want to be misunderstood: security is a very comfortable mattress on which I would like to lie until the last of my days. Even though it's a privilege for the sake of which I would commit (with my imagination!) the most heinous crimes, what has so far made me opt for a life which is lacking almost any of it is what you have to give up in order to have it in exchange. Piercing day after day with a skewer of repetitiveness, monotony, strict timetables, slowly roast them over a charcoal of minor depressions, of non exciting jobs, of loss of enthusiasm, to finally eat after a few decades the tasteless yet balanced meal of a planned life and hitch-proof old age, is something that rather than fuel me with security gives me vertigo. Actually there is some sort of certainty that I get from it all: the one of aimlessness and depression bouts.
It's not about instigating people to do any stupid thing one can think of as we only live one life. I've done many silly things but none of them was too bad. It seems to me that the concept actually makes sense: if I had three or four lives to live, investing one on a security fund might look like a good idea, however, having been educated to rely on the scientific method and as I still haven't come across any sound proof of a second or a third life, I prefer to handle the first one that I happen to live with great care. Maybe, come to think about it, the opposite approach has more to do with irrationality. And with some kind of phobia.
Of course this is not a criticism to those who made or are about to make different decisions. I got lots of examples of people who prefer to live an extremely secure life that I still hold in high regard. This is the way I am though, and I have learned by swallowing bitter pills and going through painful crises that it's better for me to follow my instinct. This is especially true as I know that fortunately mother nature provided me with a dose of rationality and common sense big enough to smooth the sharpest corners and to plane the most irregular surfaces of my impulsive side. Over the years my instinct has proven to be trustworthy. Obviously there are ups and downs, but if I think of what was crossing my mind, stretching my nerves and kicking my soul about(*) on some sleepless night only a few years ago, the issues that I am faced with now make me smile.
After all we're just talking about living: the only occupation for which everybody is born with the necessary prerequisites.
(*) I know, I said that I am a supporter of the scientific method and then I've mentioned the soul. Actually I have never been too good at living a life without contradictions...