I have been really interested in my friends and family's reaction to my returning to the work force. (Yes, the interview went really well and I have a job at Alrewas Hayes wedding venue at a much better hourly rate). Without exception, I have been showered with pleased congratulations.
I set out last year to see if I could live on very little money and so be free from work and live life to the full instead. So far I have failed in that endeavour. So, if anything, I would expect those who know me to be commiserating with me rather than congratulating me! Except I wouldn't because of what I see as the new Puritanism in our society.
It used to be unless you were working on saving your soul by prayer and charity etc, you were cast out of polite society and headed for hell. Now it seems, if you are not working at a job, you are heading in the same direction! Work has become the new salvation. If you work hard enough, you can climb ladders to the heavens of promotion and home ownership. If you are worthy, then you will get a socially acceptable career. If less worthy, then just a job. But even cleaning mucky toilets in a marina as I did previously, was treated as having more worth than adventurous exploring, living life idly and having a laugh.
As with the old Puritanism, having a laugh and enjoying yourself is regarded with deep suspicion by our capitalist society. In the old days Christmas and all the other festivals were cancelled for the fear of people having too much fun. These days, apart from a work sanctioned couple of weeks off here and there, you are expected to keep your nose to the grindstone, day in and day out, sacrificing free time, sacrificing time with the kids and your spouse, sacrificing time to muck about.
And the reward for all this slaving for the great god Economy? You can be enslaved to a mortgage company for around half your adult life. You can buy stuff like tellys that will then fill your life with advertising to encourage you to buy even more stuff. And when you have loads of stuff, the odd foreign holiday and a house you can sort of call your own despite the fact that the mortgage company actually owns it, then you have reached this capitalist heaven.
Then what? I am not at all surprised at the number of people who either keel over or become deeply depressed or anxious when they reach retirement. They have been sold this dream of advancement but then when they are no longer of any use to the machine, they are spat out onto the scrap heap. And having lived a life with no fun, no idleness, no mucking about in it, they find it very hard to know how to pass the acres of time they now have on their hands.
So yes, I am pleased to be on the way to being financially solvent again. I am particularly pleased that the arrangement I have made means I can still go cruising for 4 months of the year and only sell myself for the other 8. But, I see no moral good in the mere fact that I am employed again. I do not see my worth as a human being connected in any way to how I keep the wolf from the door. I certainly don't see someone who has managed to claw their way to the top of the career heap as any more praiseworthy than a person of the road, living on the goodwill of strangers.
There are ways of judging the worth of a person but do we really want to set the moral bar so low as to judge them on the job they have, or don't have?