On Pragmatism

This started off as just a reply to a comment on my previous post. I thought I’d do it proper justice and explain the “why” of my move to simplicity.

You and I are almost the same age and we’re in very similar fields so we’re sort of approaching the same fork in the road. You’re also seeing the world on fire around you and the woeful lack of water to put it out. You understand the appeal of sorts of getting away from it all, but at the risk of reinventing yourself (not a fun prospect, especially when you’ve done it before) and possibly losing the safety net of familiarity.

The thing is that I already do much of my work not in-person, but via telecommute. I have to travel occasionally to New York City, but this isn’t crucial to what I do unless I’m training someone or there is something that cannot be done remotely (and the list of those things has reduced dramatically in the last two years).

Skype has pretty much revolutionized conference calls, as have email and Dropbox for sharing documents and internal communication. There’s no reason these things need to be changed immediately so I’ll still have income.

So I say, instead of reinventing myself, I’ll reinvent my surroundings. I’ll reinvent what I consider to be really important and stick with that. I’ll still be me; I’ll have the same skills I do now so I’ll keep working in the same field at least for the moment. But I do want to move away from it gradually until I can become self-sufficient in another line.

The grand plan, of course, is to gradually move away from the tech world into something else. Something like making soap.

But any job someone started purely out of love is doomed to failure. Business is usually about forming alliances, not friends, and while that sounds Machiavellian, it’s the nature of our current economic structure. I’m hoping to do something I will enjoy, but I’m not naive enough to think it’s something I’ll do just for the love of it. Hopefully we can move away from the harshness that has come to define the way we do business.

And realistically, I’ll need to work harder first to maintain myself in the initial phase of moving out of this lifestyle. Needing less will do a great deal to lessen the demand to earn more later on.

5 thoughts on “On Pragmatism

  1. So, you’re doing it like cars do. Speeding/gearing down in order to turn but not letting it totally idle while turning :-). The plan seems mature and the steps just about the right size (neither huge nor baby).
    I trust that soon enough you’ll write us from your cabin :-)

    PS: This telecommute thing was supposed to change the lives of millions but it remained more of a fantasy to most. I finally hear of one case that it’s put to work.. Maybe it was a bit slow to take off. We’ll see.

    • Indeed, hopefully soon enough :D

      Telecommuting has its ups and downs. I can’t help but wonder whether most of this was accelerated by losing touch with my fellow man on a face-to-face basis. I really miss that.

  2. We all have to start where we are! You have a sensible approach to an undertaking more people should consider, in my view, and we here in Yurt Central all wish you super success with your Cabin. And it IS quite something to swing out there without a safety net. But well worth it! After all, the fires of the world may begin to extinguish themselves if we humans begin to get our heads out of the paper bag and think responsibly. ????

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