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Thread: Rat race alternatives

  1. #1
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    Question Rat race alternatives

    I was wondering if there are other ways to work less (besides improving one's finances and regardless of one's specific situation)?

    - part-time work
    - shorter commutes e.g. telecommuting
    - less overtime
    - some intentional communities

  2. #2
    Senior Member awakenedsoul's Avatar
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    Having roommates saves money. Going car free or car light saves a ton of money. Focusing on needs instead of wants will enable you to work less. Sometimes, if you just start making the changes, things fall into place. That's what's happened with me. I hung up the clothesline, planted the fruits and veggies, picked up the knitting needles, and it all just snowballed.

    Welcome to the forum Dansercer!

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    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    We are semi-retired both working p.t. doing consulting work in our previous fields & I also teach an online course at the uni. Welcome! Best of both worlds.

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    I was wondering if there are other ways to work less (besides improving one's finances and regardless of one's specific situation)?
    Not many.

    - part-time work
    good luck finding a job like that. Maybe a walmart greeter doesn't expect 40 hours?

    - shorter commutes e.g. telecommuting
    I think all shorter commutes really requires is a willingness to move for work (it's much better obviously to be a renter and not a homeowner if this is what one plans to do). Of course not all areas are areas one would want to live in of course.

    As for telecommuting: if you can find a company that allows telecommuting. Mine has BANNED IT ENTIRELY in no uncertain terms for the entire department (I only used it once or twice when a plumber come or something - I guess that's what vacation days are for, for when the bathtub won't drain). But a company that allows telecommuting maybe ONCE a week (say Fridays) is easier to find that one that allows part-time work (because the latter is pretty much impossible to find). Still I don't think it's anything companies are moving toward as recently Yahoo banned telecommuting etc.. I did come across one large non-profit recently that said they do a lot of telecommuting (the position was not worth taking for other entirely unrelated reasons but it does show at least some telecommuting exists out there)

    - less overtime
    mostly depends on the company you work for. Overtime is often something one does SOLELY to keep one's job not because one wants the money (however if you get paid for it, at least one gets paid for it, it's a consolation prize when one would rather not work weekends or something but it's something - ha having worked unpaid overtimes at times, I say that ). But definitely some companies abuse overtime more than others. Some companies are mostly 40 hours a week with only occasional overtime and some are daily overtime as an expectation.

    - some intentional communities
    utopian, but this has always appealed for me. I think it's probably more realistic to "drop out" that way than trying to have more time in the existing economic system which is a exercise in banging one's head against a brick wall repetitively.

    See the thing is one may be able to live on less, but still all jobs that aren't paying near minimum wage expect at least a 40 hour week, so unless one could actually live on being a part-time employee earning close to minimum HOURLY wage, it wouldn't work.

    I think certain advanced professional degrees where one is self-employed or has a small practice enable some people to work less, just have to go to school forever first. Also teachers get the summer off. So there is that, maybe even some of the other school employees might as well?

    I think work-life balance is a lot easier if you are lucky enough to live in various parts of Europe etc., unfortunately I'm an American so that's the perspective I'm giving.
    Last edited by ApatheticNoMore; 1-5-15 at 3:51pm.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    I worked part time (25-30 hours with Fridays off) at a university for a quite a few years before going full-time. At that time, I was doing admin work for departments and professors so it was fairly low stress and usually interesting and now allows tele-commuting for many of us at least one day a week. Great benefits and decent pay and now that I have put in three years at full time, I can get a decent pension when I retire. We also moved closer to our workplaces so that we didn't have to deal with crazy traffic and bought an old fixer upper that most wouldn't have messed with. I could take the bus if needed and ditch the car but not ready to do that yet. Obviously, it helps to be partnered so that there are two incomes to work with. I am investigating part time jobs now for when I retire and I am finding quite a few possibilities there too. I think it depends on a lot of things how much one can cut back - your age, your location and all the other variables. It's no fun to be 50 and broke though so if you are younger it is best to have a solid plan rather than just trying to avoid a situation you don't currently like.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Working for yourself, if you can. If you pay your dues by gaining expertise in a particular field and can develop a network of clients, working for yourself is great.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dansercoer View Post
    I was wondering if there are other ways to work less ...
    - be your own boss, work for yourself, then you can set your own hours
    - cut expenses, then you don't need as much income
    - marry into money
    - win the lottery

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    Of course being your own boss is also at least as often a way to work a lot more (from what I've heard running a small business can be very time demanding - much more so than any 40 hour a week job you were trying to escape from).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    I would love to work part-time since there are other things I'd like to do besides work so much, and I don't need anywhere near all the money I currently earn. The problem is that I have an office job that pays roughly $70/hour and there just aren't a lot of part-time jobs that pay that much, at least from what I can tell. Perhaps if I was able to do consulting, like Teacher Terry, I could maintain that hourly wage, but not have to work full time. In the meantime I continue to work full-time and sock away a decent chunk of my income so that my options continue to expand.

    Telecommuting could work for me and reduce commute time and housing expense. My company is open to it and truthfully I can do my job just fine from anywhere. I'm out of the office at meetings/traveling half the time anyway. I'd still have to work full-time, but I could live somewhere cheaper and save money even faster. But I don't live in a vacuum. SO's job requires that he be on site in the big expensive city every day. I'm not willing to ditch the SO just to save money/time on housing/commuting.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I have 3 graduate degrees which gives me a lot of flexibility in consulting in slightly different areas which has helped alot now that I no longer want to work f.t. We also each have a small pension. Eventually I probably won't want to work at all but at 60 I think that is at least 10 years off.

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