On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy
To Live Differently – A Personal Manifesto
Recently, I realized that I’m coming upon 3 years of blogging about modern work-life issues and, particularly, remote work. With regard to the latter, I’ve repeatedly mentioned benefits for the environment, some employers, and some employees. However, I’ve yet to share my personal views and reasons for my insane dedication to this topic.
Some presume that I’m a lofty idealist, envisioning that everyone will be working this way in the future. On the contrary, I’m quite a realist and know that not everyone wants to. For example, some enjoy commuting for the hour or two designated to listening to their favorite podcasts. (Though, as I like to point out, one can still walk around the neighborhood for that amount of time and listen to a podcast before and after working at home or wherever one chooses to work.) Nevertheless, I’ve blogged incessantly to spread awareness of remote work as a real choice while realizing that individual preferences would, to some extent, assert themselves and determine who works remotely and the proportion of time spent doing so.
My personal reason for being a stickler about this topic is due to noticing that a quiet, simpler work environment, as well as life in general, is increasingly difficult to come by. People are surprised that I’m not a “big city” person. In my twenties I’d dreamed of living somewhere like San Francisco only to recoil from this idea in my early thirties. People have asked if I don’t desire to live somewhere with more culture and diversity but I conceptualize “diversity” differently than most. When I say “diversity,” in this blog, I’m going well beyond a buzzword that alludes to race and gender and am referring to all of nature’s manifestations (stable, dispositional differences and/or life beyond the anthropocentric one).
When I came upon the story of Christopher Knight, the “North Pond Hermit,” I couldn’t help but admire him and agree with his assessment of society: I don’t like what I see in the society I’m about to enter… It’s too loud. Too colorful. The lack of aesthetics. The crudeness. The inanities. The trivia. Somewhere inside I’ve always harbored a dream of doing something similar (without the part about breaking into other people’s homes of course). Hilariously, a family member recently texted this to me:
Others perceive remote areas as isolating and lonely, but all I see is life – diversity that’s been displaced by human civilization and that few ever occupy (but for good reasons). Perhaps I’ll never do what Knight did as I’m aware that the immense physical requirements and trajectory of normal human aging don’t mesh well. That, and I’d rather not subject my dependent to that type of life. Having enjoyed time in “the boonies” however, I’d strive for a middle ground – life on the very edge of civilization, with one foot in and one foot out. Without remote employment opportunities, it’s difficult for a less established professional to avoid the urban jungle. I’ve paid my dues in the past and still expect to, and I don’t expect a stable, virtual work arrangement to fall into my lap. Someday, perhaps, I may create my own virtual company.
My unapologetic distaste for the anthropocentric life might not come across as endearing (as it’s often interpreted as weird and anti-social) but it’s my honest opinion and, as they say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Yet, I I do enjoy and value the individuals I meet online – another reason why I blog. And, to my readers, if the idea of stepping outside your home and seeing a swathe of green and blue (instead of buildings and residences cramping your little space like cage bars) appeals to you then you know what I’m talking about. If the type of work-life depicted in the following video appeals to you then you know my mind.
What do you like or dislike about life in the city? Let me know in the comments section!