Why have we become economic slaves?

The definition of economic slavery, or wage slavery, is one’s total and immediate dependence upon wages to survive.

Past generations have had to work to make sure they had a modest roof over their heads and food on the table. It was simply survival.

We are now led to believe that we all have economic freedom when, in fact, most of us are bound in servitude to the people that employ us.

Most of us have succumb to the fact that a minimum 40 hour work week is normal. We work for below average wages and poor management.

Then we are told when we have to be at work, when we can go home, what we have to wear, when we can eat and even when we can use the washroom. If we dare to make a suggestion on how something could possibly work better we are labelled as not a team player. God forbid we want to take holidays at a certain time or need more time off to tend to a sick family member or our own illnesses.

The 40 hour work week happened during the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Workers were putting in 10 to 16 hours a day and protested against being overworked. American working situations were worsening as well. Finally the 8 hour day was brought in and everyone was happy to accept.

Many countries have brought in more “family friendly” working hours with success so why can’t North America follow suit?

We have become a society of capitalists. The big companies want the largest slice of the pie no matter the cost to their workers. Studies have shown that the average worker gets less than 3 hours work done during their 8 hour shift. Corporate profits soar while wages decline.

Other studies have shown that people over the age of 50 are far more productive and happy when they work 25 to 30 hours per week rather than the standard 40+ hours a week. We are made to feel that if we don’t work 40+ hours then we are lazy plus we can’t earn enough money to live comfortably.

Our consumption of material goods also tightens a rope around our neck. We want the biggest and best of everything. Most people have an instant gratification need and will not wait to save up the money for it. Then they amass a pile of credit card debt, insanely expensive car loans and a huge mortgage. Once a person is living pay check to pay check then the company you work for has you. You can’t afford to change jobs because you would have to take a pay cut, less holiday days….your bills are fixed now so less money would put your further and further into debt. We are told that this is just the way life is now. Lots of debt, no savings and very little time for ourselves and our family.

Under current working conditions, people are forced to build something of a life with the small amount of time left over in a day or on their days off. As we all are aware our days off are typically spent doing household chores, grocery shopping and cleaning. We are so exhausted from work that we have to give up time with family & friends plus feel we don’t have time to do the things that are healthy for us and free such as walking, exercising, reading, hobbies, sports, meditating, games night with the family. What we end up doing is buying the big screen t.v. with the expensive movie subscription, video game players, etc so we can tune out and try to recover our sanity. We are trying to buy relief.

Working overtime may pad our wallets but it is a sacrifice to our personal time. The saying “The more money you have the more you spend” also applies. Very little goes into savings for the average person. The other scenario is that people work overtime just to keep up with their mounting debt.

We have become a society of overworked, mindless, unhappy people. We buy useless items for that split second of happiness(buying things gives a surge of dopamine, which makes us feel good temporarily). We want to “Keep up with the Jones’s” because they look happy with all their crap, so obviously, that must be the key to happiness.

At the end of the day we are the only ones that can stop this vicious cycle. Get your debt paid off as quickly as you can. It might mean sacrificing a number of things for a period of time. Work an extra job, downsize your home, put yourself on a strict budget. Once you debt is gone or drastically reduced you will notice your stress level will be reduced as well.

When I first started out in my profession I worked 10 to 14 hours a day, sometimes 6 days a week. I was lead to believe that the more and harder I worked the faster I would advance. Somewhat true but I ended up being physically and emotionally drained. I had lots of money but no time or energy to enjoy it. I also amassed a huge amount of consumer debt because of “retail therapy”. The little amount of time I did have for myself ended up costing me a fortune because I used my time to shop for clothing. It was easy because I could go shopping on my lunch hour or after work at the mall I worked at. Dopamine hit 1…credit card bill stress 10. When I finally wised up it took me 2 solid years of not spending money on anything but paying off my debt. Once I got out from under it I vowed never to allow that to happen to me again.

Get rid of the things in your home that you don’t use. Clutter is very distracting and can make us feel more chaotic. If I bring anything into my house now, something must go back out. Keeps things more organized and uncluttered. When you have personal time get outside & get some fresh air or sit and talk to your kids and spouse.

Quit allowing a company to dictate everything in your life and take control.

When I was working downtown and had to take the train to work I found it very upsetting watching people going to work. Some were sleeping, most were staring blindly at their phones. Everyone was quiet and looked very unhappy. Sad really.

Now that I work from home I get to orchestrate my own life. If I want to make more money I work a few more hours. My typical workday is around 2 to 4 hours. If I want to take a trip to see my daughter or go somewhere warm, I plan it for when I want. If I want to take a day off and spend it with my son or friends I don’t have to ask anyone.

I have no consumer debt. I am pretty strict with myself as to what I am allowed to buy. I have sold a ton of “useless crap” that was cluttering my house. Pretty much everything in my house is used on a consistent basis. I re-evaluate items I own about every 6 months and get rid of stuff that has no value to me. I still have a hard time getting rid of clothing but it’s a process lol.

I sold my house and will never buy again. Renting is easy. I have fixed bills and don’t have to worry about my furnace needing to be replaced or the roof needing repairs. All of this did not happen overnight though. I have worked on my mindset and spending over a number of years.

If you need help getting your financial life in order there are a number of companies out there that can help with that. By not putting a huge emotional investment into “things” can help you pare down. Also, look at changing things as a process and that it will take time. Make a list. Give yourself a timeline.

I hope you can make your life the best it can be. I know you can do it!

Gayle Impey

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