Feb 162011

I was going to start off the Manatee Fritters Conchblog with an introduction to a minimalist lifestyle.  I had lots to say and will get to that in later posts but a story crossed the interwebs that just caught my attention and I had to write about it.  Some county worker out west died at her job. In her cubicle.  And nobody noticed for a full day.  Let me repeat that.  She died, in a fucking cubicle, and nobody even noticed for a whole day.  I won’t be remembered for much achievement in my life but the last thing I would want is to die at some crappy go nowhere job where no one even noticed when or if I was still alive.  Every time I read about someone who died or was injured at their job, and I am referring to the garbage/go no where/soul sucking jobs that so many of us settle for, it’s depressing.  This person died for what, $12.00 an hour?  Plus benefits?  No doubt this was someone who at one time had aspirations to achieve something with their life.  What the hell happened?   What possesses someone to settle for so much less?   I’ve had my share of crap jobs over the years.  I will never forget walking into the rock quarry at my first job out of high school and noticing all the “lifers”, the ones who will die at their jobs, were all missing fingers, had scars, limped, and thinking, no way is this going to be a career for me.  Convenience, a quick paycheck, a chance to get out of a financial hole, all led me to a crappy job here or there.  But not once did I take one of these jobs with the idea it would be a permanent.  As soon as I saw an opportunity to get out, I was gone.  But it amazes me that people will so willingly give up their lives for such a miserable existence.

I realize that you have to start somewhere.  No one starts at the top.  Things happen along the way.  We get married, have kids, responsibilities and priorities change.  But still, you die, and nobody notices?  That is sad.  You have to train yourself to never settle for the status quo.  If you are in one of those dead end situations, you need to get your self out.  Take training for something else.  Learn a new skill.  If you do like the company you work for, don’t settle for your current position.  Work your way up.  If you are not making progress, get out and go somewhere else.

So what does any of this have to do with the Florida Keys?  The Keys has more than it’s fair share of crappy jobs.  Construction, bartenders, waiter/waitress, there are plenty of dead end jobs to chose from.  They all offer low pay, long hours, and no benefits.  The reason employers can get away with it is because people will lower their standards just for the chance to live and work in the Keys.  It’s a great benefit to be sure, but the shiny wears off fast.  The cost of living in the Conch Republic is very expensive.  In the end, it is no different than living anywhere else in the country other than the water and great weather.  You still need to live somewhere, eat, do laundry, etc.  It just costs more and takes some doing to make it down here and as many have found out, it’s easy to fail.  In my case, I’ve had a few crappy jobs to get started, but never settled and now, I have my own little business.  The money sucks, I put in way more hours than a regular job, but I am quite happy and there is a ton of room for growth.  It hasn’t been easy, but it beats being a slave to a soulless corporation where no one notices if you live or die.  I’m doing what I want and where I want to do it.  No reason you can’t either.  I don’t mean you need to sell everything and move to the Keys, (we don’t have the room) but don’t wind up as nothing more than a memorial plaque on a cubicle.   Need some inspiration?  Just keep the link above on your computer or print it out and paste it on your fridge and look at every time your job gets you down.  Never settle!

So enough depressing stuff.  Coming up next:  Taking your first steps toward a minimalist lifestyle.