Hi! I'm Carey. It was about 11 years ago that my husband and I got to be foster parents and eventually adopt my dd, age 11.5 now. At the time, my husband and I were both working full-time suit jobs, somewhat like careers. We were deep in debt, but had begun to take steps to dig ourselves out. I previously had a plan written that I would work 30 hours at home and 10 in the office. But my bosses decided they would rewrite the plan, making it really difficult for me to stay home and work, I think because they wanted me to work full time in the office despite what they had said. I was lamenting to my friend that I was looking for a way to figure this out. She said, "You can just quit, right?" Could I? After deliberation and hoping for the best, I quit, and became a SAHM to my daughter. I had read the book Unjobbing by Michael Fogler about six months prior. Funny how that works out.
I think a good part of Unjobbing is getting your expenses down to as little as possible, and working (or bringing in income somehow) just enough to cover the basics. Of course, it's different for everyone, so there's a lot of things Unjobbing can mean, depending on your circumstances.
I realized I had too much stuff and no time to play with it. I was deep in debt, despite making far more money than I ever had in my life. And I was depressed! It sucked! Part of unjobbing for me was realizing, once I quit my job, I had a lot of time, and this could be the basis of an economy to participate in. This is the gift economy, or the economy of the community. As I got hooked in with friends who were also unemployed and interested in investing their time (mostly artists and moms), it was amazing the abundance brought into my life from my own willingness to share my physical resources as well as my time. For me, it really was like the story from the bible about the two loaves and five fish that fed the multitude.
Most people I knew then had very part-tme employment. Some were temps, others paper boys. Some babysat, sold crafts on Etsy, mowed yards, cleaned houses, substitute taught, and so on. A lot of people worked under the table, and many were on welfare. Especially for moms who wanted to stay at home, but did not have the resources to do so, welfare (at least food stamps) really helped. I am in that category, having received food stamps and medical coverage. Before anyone calls me out about this, this is a reality for a lot of people, an increasing amount of people as the economy continues tanking.
It seems like the less I worked and money I made, the less I needed to buy things. I tried my hardest to live up to the mantra of my depression-era grandparents that raised me, "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without." I learned how to dumpster dive, and was freakin amazed at what all could be gotten out of the garbage, like manna off the ground. I simplified my life, getting rid of 2/3 of my possessions. I grew a big garden and canned food for winter. I learned to put on more sweaters in winter. I replaced what I could of things I threw away with reusables (paper towels, napkins, kleenex, etc.). Any place I spent money, I tried to figure out how to do what I needed or wanted without spending that money.
And it wasn't a bad experience at all. I did not spend my days, desperately seeking ways to cut my expenses. Most of my days were spent doing things for myself, like growing and cooking food, repairing clothes, hauling wood, playing with my kid and my friends. Anytime someone needed help, I was there. And it was so fun! Sure, it might take some hours of physical activity, but there was a good time had by all, and usually good beer.
I did a lot of volunteer work in social justice for many of those years. I started a Food Not Lawns chapter in my town and organized a ton of skill shares, from how to start an organic garden to fermenting foods to raising goats. I shared every piece of knowledge I had gained up to that moment, and whenever someone asked about a topic I was ignorant about, I found someone to speak. We had a seed and plant exchange too. I made so many contacts through FNL, it was amazing!
I feel I could write more about Unjobbing, like specific topics of Food, Housing, and...just about everything. Would it be more appropriate to start separate threads?