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Day 18: The costs of being employed

Mon, Jan 23, 2017 | Read in 4 minutes

Employment is a way to make money. And while I respect that, I also think and believe that it is one way to make money. Other ways roughly include people—artists and creatives—who use their talents to fulfill their daily needs. I don’t think there’s any shame in employment as much as there is no shame in being an artist. Both types of work are still work. Both serve a greater personal purpose for each of us.

In my experience, employment has been a very interesting journey. I pretty much ended up letting go of the “corporate” and “traditional” ways of “landing a job.” I find much more time, freedom, and fulfillment in freelancing although it’s not all sunny days in these parts. I understand that every journey must begin somewhere. The following are what I found to be the costs of being employed.


They say time is more important than money. I couldn’t agree more. Time is priceless and yet so many people take it for granted. They find money to be more essential than time. Although it’s been said a million times, still there are those among us who are willing to gamble away time whether unconsciously or subconsciously, i.e. gossiping, scrolling through social media, drinking away, or what have they. I’m sure all these things bring them immense pleasure and serve a purpose one way or another. But sometimes, we need to figure out the things that can truly bring us fulfillment in the long term, not just for the moment.

Leisure is good every now and then but time is—and will always be—of the essence.

The jobs we normally have are designed so that one needs to work for 8 hours a day every day for the rest of the workweek. If we calculate, that would be 40 hours per week, 160 hours per month, or 1,920 hours for a year. That’s a lot of hours that are spent on something you don’t consider to be fulfilling. That’s roughly 20% of your year excluding over time.


Now I get it. Numbers make me dizzy, too. And frankly, 1,920 hours a year can just fly by as long as you’re getting paid for it. So let’s look at the quality of time spent on the typical 9-5. Is it really an investment personally to spend time doing something that’s considered “compulsory”? What about your talents and the amount of ideas you can’t necessarily execute because somebody else has to give you the authority?

The lack of freedom is probably one of the reasons why I would never thrive in a corporate environment. I just don’t buy into the “robot” mentality.

I’m human. You’re human. We deserve to be happy with the work we do.

And I’m not saying that simply because I’m a millennial and I feel “entitled to a promotion without my share of hard work.” I believe in hard work. But even while I grew up in a culture where having a “stable job” is the common answer to what you wanna be when you grow up, I didn’t picture out that stable job to be working behind a desk under people who don’t really care about me. I knew the value of freedom in anything: time, creativity, voice.


Does it take a lot to be fulfilled? To feel fulfilled? Fulfillment is an emotional word. And it depends on what you want to accomplish in life. It’s different when you want to be happy.

While being happy is a matter of choice, fulfillment is the sum of all the choices that you’re going to make.

How do you make use of your day so that you are doing exactly the things you would love to be doing? How do you let go of procrastination, bad habits, negativity, laziness, and all of those things that are holding you back from leading the life you deserve? These are the questions I rarely ask everyday. And I guess that’s the reason I get stuck every now and then.

Fulfillment is knowing that you did the work and owning all those hours—those hard work, ideas, creativity, accomplishments. It’s more than money, for me. It’s that same feeling of satisfaction that you get when you’ve overcome a HUGE obstacle. In most cases, I find that our biggest obstacle is ourselves and the self-limiting beliefs we subscribe to.

The real cost of being employed for me was that I sacrificed who I wanted to be in order to please others. I was working, doing my dues, but I was not happy about the person I became. I couldn’t commit to any job because I always questioned how important it was in relation to my own existence. Those were difficult times. And I’m not saying being a freelancer is an easy-peasy task neither. It’s an excruciating, headache-inducing challenge but, when I remember why I started, it lights me up like the much-needed candle I needed in the midst of going through a long, dark tunnel.