Don’t Work Full Time!

The nine to five doesn’t work. The full time job model that most of the world faces is broken and wrong. From the moment we are born to the time we are christened as adults with our first paycheck we are taught to shut up, sit still, and conform.   We are taught to conform to corporations who employ us, and subversively control us. Enter: the great treachery of capitalism. The lie that in order to be loved, respected, successful, and fulfilled, you must be employed (by another company) full time.  I’m here to teach you all how to avoid falling into that trap, and I’m here to journey with you away from the trap, and into the ocean of possibilities that appear when you take control of your own destiny.

Toward the end of my 4th year of working part time jobs, I got hired as a game-master at a company called “RavenChase Adventures LLC”. This company ran an Escape Room. Players were locked into themed rooms and forced to escape before the hour ran out. Unlike everywhere else I had worked, I wanted to be there. I enjoyed getting to learn from my coworkers. Our boss encouraged us to follow our dreams and take risks. He himself took risks and allowed us to contribute in ways that were meaningful and challenging. He trusted in us to be able to learn, and execute effectively in all capacities. He gave us all a spark of hope.  Hope that maybe we were worth more than $7.25 an hour.

In August of this year, I made an amazing decision to move closer to Rebecca.  I quit my job at the Escape Room and took a full time job at a print/copy company. I made this decision expecting that the affirmation from my family, and my partner’s family, would bring me everlasting joy. I thought doubling or tripling my salary would be worth it. I thought having benefits would make me feel more secure.

Instead it has completely broken me. Each and every day I wake up, I sit in an office, or in a car, and am presented with a day devoid of challenge or excitement.  My coworkers, who are all over 40, have accepted this as their fate. When asked why they continue to work here even though they hate it, they reply with “that’s just how life is” or “because I can’t do anything else”. Envisioning myself in the future saying the same thing to a new recruit makes my stomach lurch. How could ANYONE in their right mind allow themselves to become so dehumanized that they accept this misery SIMPLY because “that’s how life is”?

That’s not “how life is”. Life is vibrant, joyous, creative, beautiful, exciting, surprising, and overwhelmingly fulfilling. Life with a Corporate boot on your neck is hell.  If you want to be happy, and fulfilled, and joyous in life, than you must look away from wealth, and look toward enriching your life through art, music, dance, love, creativity, and helping others.

 So what am I doing about it????

I used to think that because I was raised as a musician, I was destined to be a musician and nothing else. I didn’t think I could paint, take pictures, write, make movies, build houses, or fix cars. The truth is: I can be and do whatever I want. Realizing this is the first step to escaping the degrading mindset of compliance that corporations want from their employees.

I firmly believe that you are what surrounds you. If you watch tv all day, than the sum of your mental capacity is limited by what you watch. If you work around people who are complacent and satisfied with meaningless work, than you will become a zombie like them. If you wish to be an artist, surround yourself with art, and challenge yourself creatively. If you wish to be a carpenter, surround yourself with wood and working tools, even if you don’t know how to use them. If you want to open a business, commune with small business owners and entrepreneurs and you will be more likely to succeed.

In order to break free from corporate complacency, we must first and foremost teach ourselves to learn actively.  We need to start seeking challenges outside of the working world.  Through sharing my learning experiences with you, I hope to inspire you to begin to learn and explore things you never thought you could. In the past three months alone, I have learned the following in a functional capacity, and I wish to share with you how I have been able to do so, while working a full time job.  Please join me on my journey to escape the meaningless life of a corporate employee.

Digital photography editing,
Darkroom Photography,
Ableton Live,
Acrylic and oil painting,
Bamboo flute,
Drywall building,
Writing a blog.

Learning How to Learn

I hope to inspire you and prove that you can do and learn whatever you would like.

We seem to have an illusion that everything requires lots of money and time to get started.  If you want to learn guitar, you are put off by the exuberant prices of the instruments, and extra equipment you think you need, and the high cost of lessons.  When I was considering learning darkroom photography, I was faced with the prospect of learning the chemistry and concepts that I had never come across.  I remember reading articles about darkroom that were full of words like “stops” and “fixer” and “emulsion” and thinking “how will I ever learn ANYTHING if I can’t even understand the language being used???”

How did I overcome the problems that faced me when I was trying to learn darkroom photography? I created a well defined goal. 

Day 1-2     I knew I wanted to do film.  My dad had an old film camera that no one was using, and I’ve always loved the way film grain makes a photo look.  I’m also a huge DIY fan, and I knew I wanted to eliminate anyone else touching my art.  The goal was:  I want to be able to take, develop, and print my own pictures from start to finish with the least outsourcing possible.  From there, I read everything I could on each step of the process.  Having that well defined goal illuminated those steps. 

Taking Pictures.

Developing Film.

Printing/enlarging photographs.

Day 3-10 After I had figured out WHAT I wanted to learn, I needed to invest in my own learning, so I bought a camera and an enlarger and paper and film and all of the equipment necessary.  I purchased everything on craigslist, or borrowed it from family and friends, keeping the cost to an absolute minimum.  Even if I didn’t have EVERYTHING in perfect working order, it didn’t matter.  BECAUSE I had invested in my OWN LEARNING and not hesitated once I had a defined goal, I couldn’t turn back!  I improvised a missing foot on my enlarging easel.  I used the wrong size film tray, and used paper fixer for both Film and Paper, etc.

This is key.  Investing in your own learning.  We are wired not to invest in something unless we know we will succeed.  If you TAKE that initial risk, you are much more likely to follow through to the end.

Nike’s motto of “just do it” rings very true to me.  If you just do something without thinking of whether or not you will succeed, you are bound to learn.  If you hesitate at the beginning of an endeavor, you will hesitate at each step on the journey.  Your hesitation can happen before you define your goal, but once you have positively defined your goal, simply do the next thing.

Day 11-28 After I had gotten all my equipment, I took two or three rolls worth of pictures.  I knew I wasn’t ready to begin developing yet, as I was still learning how the chemicals worked, and how to block light out of my tiny apartment bathroom.  I had to prove that I was learning at least a little, right?  If I was to continue down this path I needed to know that I wasn’t just taking blank pictures.  I sent off a couple of the rolls I had exposed to a company in California to develop, and print, and send back to me!

By doing this I AFFIRMED my learning.  I accomplished part of my goal, and outsourced for the rest, to prove to myself that I had progressed in the right direction if only a little.  This gave me the courage and inspiration to continue my journey.  By affirming this to myself, and rewarding myself for investing in my own learning, I re-lit the fire that had sparked my initial interest.  Half of the pictures were terrible, but they were better than not taking any!

After that, it was just a matter of following through with researching and executing the necessary steps to achieve the other two steps.  Once I had gotten the basic process down, I could begin really diving deeper into each aspect of darkroom photography without any fear of failure or consequence.  I feel fully equipped and confidant that I can create my own pictures from start to finish!  All in less than a month!

The key to being able to do anything you want, is to set a goal, invest in your own learning, and affirming your progress.  Map out the things you need to ensure that you are learning the subject, not just repeating processes.  Following orders isn’t fun, and neither is following step by step instructions.  Learning dynamically like this leads to better retention and builds confidence.  Go learn something new!