L's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
hutchol
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:03 am

Re: L's Journal

Post by hutchol » Thu May 16, 2019 7:46 am

Hello,

Sorry I admit I've only just stumbled on your journal and I haven't read all of it so I apologise if I go over ground already covered. I'm in a similar sort of situation to you- mid-twenties and living with parents in the UK to save money, only doing a full time boring office job instead of part time.

Some combination of unjobbing seems to make the most sense to me- being mortgage free with some savings and limited expenditure working part time or freelance. I don't want to put too much faith in savings as I'm not really sure how long the system on which they depend is going to last. But then I suppose most jobs are equally dependent on it.

Could you get work marking exam papers? It's not very interesting but it would provide work when tuition is slow and would probably make you a more valuable tutor. I originally planned to do that when I tried to become a teacher, but I hated the teaching part so much I quit. I think you need class teaching experience, unfortunately
, but you might find a board that needs examiners enough to waive the requirement. They're definitely desperate for class teachers (and with good reason) so that might cause a shortage of examiners.

Earlybath
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:43 am

Re: L's Journal

Post by Earlybath » Thu May 16, 2019 9:00 am

Yep podcasts are a bit of a low information density nightmare, but needs must...
I've tended to view a lot of ER type writing as people rattling the bars of their gilded cages, un-jobbing seemed to be a much more reasonable "why build a cage?" approach.
I think you are in a pretty unique situation where you have the time and mental space to put a life together that works for you, without risk. The small shed load of savings that's needed for ER isn't really relevant at the moment.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Thu May 16, 2019 11:05 am

I agree, Earlybath. I admit I sometimes look at the high-paid One More Year golden-handcuffs types and wonder whether they'll have any life left by the time they get round to living it... My main savings goal at the moment is to get to the point where I can move out from my parents without a crippling mortgage, to be honest. Other than that I don't mind if I need to do 1-2 days a week ongoing to cover my costs if it's something I find satisfying for now. I'd still like to retire early and be in a situation where I don't need the money at all, but there's no burning need with my lifestyle at the moment to retire tomorrow! ASAP! immediately! or whatever.

Hi hutchol! With the full time office job, if you have other skills, you're unsatisfied, and you've got the energy, it might be worth trying to start some kind of side-hustle/future alternate career, even if it doesn't seem likely now. When I first started working at the office I'm working at, I was doing 4 days a week there, but I managed to lower it over time, and it really left me with a lot more ability to work on my goals. It depends if the full time aspect is giving you enough of a pay boost compared to part time, I guess - for me, that office is still the lowest per hour rate of my income sources.

I've thought about marking exam papers, but it did seem that they were mostly looking for people with PGCEs last I checked. Might be worth me checking again. I actually dropped out of a PGCE myself a few months in to the programme - that's the thing that was giving me too much stress a few years ago that I mentioned - due to a combo of personality clash with the head of department at my placement, my instinctive dislike of bureaucracy (e.g. writing a detailed lesson plan for each lesson, which I felt set things in stone too much, instead of a general plan I could be flexible with, having to write down the specific ways in which pupils were making progress, needing to display my learning objectives on the board at the start of each lesson instead of just knowing what they were in my head...), and my poor skills at behaviour management (with little guidance from the school or my mentors as to how to get better at it) when I had more than about 15 pupils. None of these things are things that stop me from being a good tutor, but they are things that made me hate the current education system... So yeah, not surprised you quit, and not surprised there's a shortage. xD

hutchol
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:03 am

Re: L's Journal

Post by hutchol » Thu May 16, 2019 2:41 pm

BookloverL:

I have read the rest of the journal now and my Holmesian powers of detection did suggest that you might be a another one that the teaching profession has chewed up and spat out! I managed the PGCE, mainly because I was fortunate to have a sympathetic mentor/ head of department. I found the progress obsession particularly bizarre (as if you learn anything in by progressing in equal amounts at set intervals?!). It was particularly jarring because I'd just starting reading John Michael Greer's blog and realized that progress is basically the new established religion (only the architecture is far worse...). It was behaviour that got me in my first year as a proper teacher. It got to the point where my lessons were basically an extension of break time. It's interesting that you mention the group of 15 thing because I found exactly the same. In my PGCE year, I had two parallel Y7 groups, one of which by a quirk of the timetable had 15 kids and the other 30 and the difference was incredible. Did you find the dislike of bureaucracy/ silly rules created behaviour issues too? My natural instinct was always to be reasonable and if a kid wanted to go the toilet to let them and let them decide how and where to write something and to get up and fetch a dictionary if they wanted one, but any room for maneuver seemed to lead to chaos. It's quite depressing really.


I have thought about a side hustle. My issue is that my main hobby is singing (choral and church), which absorbs quite a bit of my time but is quite difficult to make any money out of. Most of the money is in London and is therefore bound up with the costs of living/ getting there and it's a fairly winner-takes-all market- there's a lot of wannabes a lot better than me who make essentially nothing or have given up trying. I could perhaps make a bit on the side if I got my sight reading up to scratch. I'm also sitting some accounting exams (that's my boring office job) and I'm trying to read as much as I can, so time is fairly short. I'm hoping to develop some practical skills that will at least save me money and be useful if we're facing a future where self-reliance is important, whether they generate cash or not.

On the subject of housing, what's a realistic budget for a house you would want to live in round your area? I'm trying to get a feel for regional variation because I'm thinking about relocating (I live near London and house prices are ridiculous, as much as I don't want to move away from friends/ family). I know you can google averages but I don't think they necessarily tell you all that much. I've gone on Zoopla and looked at a few places but I think you really need to know an area.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Thu May 16, 2019 3:29 pm

Yeah, I found JMG's blog when I was a second year uni student, so by the time I graduated I'd already long left the progress->technoutopia mindset of my sixth form days. All I really wanted from teaching was to make a difference to students, whether that was by teaching them maths (which is obviously a heavily emphasised subject at the moment, way more than I think it should be, it's just that my degree was maths so that was what made sense to teach, we should be teaching them actually practical skills like gardening and home ec) or by improving their general self-belief or something. But I found that there was so much bureaucracy that it prevented me from coming up with interesting lessons, because no, I had to teach the topic the department wanted me to teach that day, I had to include all those elements from Ofsted/the school's internal bureaucracy, I had to plan it out and use a powerpoint instead of making up examples to suit the class as I went along, I had to make sure my powerpoint was simultaneously exciting and fun and also not overstimulating the autistic kid or unreadable by dyslexics, also not be boring but not come across too weird - I overcompensated for general weirdness on that one and came out somewhere near boring robot, I think... etc, etc, etc...

Definitely the bureaucracy created behaviour issues, mainly because I had to keep trying to enforce all the silly rules that I didn't actually believe in. I never wanted to enforce the rules or shout, because I hate shouting, but the class I had most trouble with (their main teacher was the head of department) was mainly disciplined by shouting, and therefore didn't respond to my attempts at anything else. If I ever have a kid, I'd definitely consider homeschooling them, to be honest.

You don't necessarily need to go straight in with a side hustle that earns lots of money - learning something that saves you money at home, or that just brings in £50 or something is a good start. Before I tried the maths tuition, I tried a couple of other things that didn't get off the ground, but since I wasn't doing them as my only income and/or I had savings, it was fine, and it was a valuable learning experience. Singing - like my dream of writing, definitely tough to break into, but if you investigate other genres there might be hope. Not looked into it super-detailed-ly, but off the top of my head, maybe busking? Putting something particularly striking on YouTube? Combining with another talent? Accounting - this is definitely something you can take part-time/self-employed later if you want to, once you're qualified, provided you know how to get customers. Practical skills - if you get good enough at these they could also earn you money long term. Also, once you've had a couple of years to detox from the bad school experience, you may be able to try tutoring or something, for kids or for adult learners. Oh, and for German, you could consider translating, too. Just some ideas for you here, don't feel obliged to do any of them if you don't want to.

Housing near me, in Lancashire, for the cheapest smallest houses that come up in the very middle-class, "nice" village I've lived in all my life except for uni and when I was doing the teacher training, houses start from around £180,000 right now. For a house in the nearby not-that-good town in an area of it you'd actually want to live in, probably starting from £100,000. I prefer the village still because I'm emotionally attached to it.

hutchol
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:03 am

Re: L's Journal

Post by hutchol » Thu May 16, 2019 4:26 pm

I didn't stumble across that whole vein of thinking until post-university. I think part of the reason why I've just bumbled on from one thing to another is that most of my energies have been absorbed in revising my world view and working out what I actually want out of life. Have you kept up with JMG? I'm finding his new blog less interesting than the Archdruid Report, though I can see why he wanted to change focus. I loved his post-industrial novels.


The bureaucracy/ behaviour thing is interesting. What I found was that the kids are so used to the petty rules that if you don't enforce them rigidly and sure that they have only one or a very rigidly prescribed selection of options each second of each lesson, they (not all obviously) will start to push the boundaries of the acceptable to see how far they'll go (very far in my case). Whether a saner system would be any better I think depends on how sane is the wider society in which it's based. I definitely need a rest from it before I go back to any kind of education! I wouldn't put my own children through it either, if I had them.


They are interesting ideas. Translating is good if you have a specialism. I do the (very basic) accounts for a German company, so I'm developing some of the technical vocabulary, so that could be an option. Part time and/ or self-employment is the goal, preferably with a diversified income stream. I'm eager to try beekeeping, partly because I love honey and partly because of their ecological importance. I think it would be tricky to do much more than cover costs, if that, but as long it doesn't cost too much, I'm happy. I think having any kind of hobby that absorbs your attention without costing money is good. I'm reading Schopenhauer's series of essays on life/ practical advice at the moment and he said that he never made any money from philosophy but it did save him a lot of money by giving him a non-financial focus. He put it more elegantly than me.

Thank you for the information on houses. That is quite a lot cheaper than round me. I am quite emotionally attached to where I live as well, but I might have to bite the bullet if it means ten years of mortgage interest.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Fri May 17, 2019 3:10 am

I do keep up with JMG, but I definitely think his older stuff was better. It seems a lot of his recent articles are devoted to endlessly rewording his thoughts about Trump and the Democrats, which, a) I don't care about so much since I don't live in America, and, b) means that there are fewer articles that are giving me that "a-ha!" moment. I want to know more about ecologically sound living! I wonder if there's some local in his new neighbourhood in Rhode Island that keeps trying to argue about Trump with him or something and keeps bringing it up fresh in his mind.

Definitely any money-neutral hobby is much better than a money-costing one, especially if it's something that will have non-monetary benefits like beekeeping. Gotta try to save those pollinators... Haven't read Schopenhauer, but I have read some other philosophy stuff, and in general I'd agree. Not much money in it, but a lot of benefits for the mindset, provided you don't mind being forever slightly unable to empathise with people with completely unexamined lives.

There's definitely a lot of scope for moving to a lower cost-of-living area within the UK. The North West isn't the only one, so it's probably best to consider what features are important to you in an area and do more research before taking the plunge. For example, personally, I love the view you get from and of hills, so I'd never move to a flat part of the country if I could help it even if I did have to move away from here. Transport is also a consideration, if you want to be able to go places quickly - a different nearby town that's over twice as far away as the nearest town has much better rail links, for instance, and is probably somewhere between the two places I mentioned before in terms of price.

hutchol
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:03 am

Re: L's Journal

Post by hutchol » Fri May 17, 2019 4:30 am

Yes, I do wonder why JMG is so Trump fixated. I've found with a lot of blogs that I get obsessed for a while and read the whole back catalogue but then you start to feel as if you were covering the same ground with slightly different topics. I went through the same cycle with the ERE blog.

You do start to feel a bit cut off once you've shed the prevailing myths. It becomes difficult to relate to people other than on a superficial level. Thankfully, I'm fairly introverted and things like this forum help you realise you're not the only one.

Rail links would be handy. Ideally, I wouldn't have a car and I find practical cycling distance to be about 10-15 miles, so that's an issue too, as is a reasonable musical/ cultural life. I'll have to have a look.

bigato
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Re: L's Journal

Post by bigato » Fri May 17, 2019 4:45 pm


BookLoverL
Posts: 100
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Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Sat May 18, 2019 4:48 am

Good article, thanks, bigato. Once Brexit is sorted, a four-day work week would be a real vote-winner for me. I'd love it if the four-day week became widespread, and was considered full-time. It'd open up a much wider range of jobs to those of us who can't handle a 40-hour workweek, and it'd give people enough time off to look after their families, to pursue hobbies and projects, to maintain friendships, and generally to lead more interesting lives. That could only be a good thing for the country.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:04 pm

Well, as I warned at the start of the thread, I seem to have had a two month posting gap due to other interests captivating my brain. ;) But my tuition efforts are still going well, and there's a couple more potential money opportunities that might come up soon that I've heard about. More later if those pan out.

I'm putting more effort in recently to learn how to increase my social capital, by doing things like trying to message something or other to my closer friends every week, instead of every month. I'm also reading a book that I just bought, "How To Talk To Anyone", by Leil Lowndes, which is a book at the "list of tips to apply" sort of stage of the learning hierarchy, but tbf that's the stage I'm at right now with my in-person social skills, so I'm finding it very helpful so far. It has around 92 tips in the book for how to make a good impression, start a conversation, keep the conversation going, come across as interesting, etc. Hopefully I can get more people to think of me as a person they want to talk to and invite to stuff and offer opportunities to, then I can better share my talents with the world, etc.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:17 am

My family are really stressing me at the moment because my mum had found some fleas on the sofa where she usually sits and there have been frequent low-level arguments between my family on the topic. She is the most prone to getting bitten of us. She has tried multiple things now to get rid of them, but keeps finding another one. My dad and brother have not been supportive of her concerns, which means she keeps snapping at all of us...

Earlybath
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:43 am

Re: L's Journal

Post by Earlybath » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:43 am

Advantage drops on the pets, Indorex spray on the settee and carpet edges. Family harmony restored in 2 days.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:45 am

I don't know which brands those are, but we already put some sort of drop on the pets, got them flea collars, and sprayed several rooms of the house over the course of about a week. Still not got rid of all the fleas somehow... xD

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:18 pm

The fleas seem to have not been spotted for long enough now that my parents have allowed the cats to start spending more than 5 milliseconds indoors at once again, so that's good.

Regarding my attempts to improve social capital - the other thread I made is turning into quite the interesting discussion, so that's good - I thought I'd take a moment to elaborate why I want to improve my general social functioning, and also, after I was reminded of Kegan levels by that other thread that was up, talk a bit about my general life philosophy.

Starting from the roots: I don't believe there are any specific set of ethical principles which are right for everyone in all circumstances, or which are completely foolproof and need no application, but the ones I have chosen to use to make my own moral decisions for the time being are: 1) increase global happiness, 2) increase global freedom, 3) increase global sustainability. I selected these because of roughly the following, though I'm not sure I've encapsulated all of my thoughts on them here.

Happiness, meant on the level of deep life satisfaction and/or the ancient Epicurean style, NOT shallow short-term hedonism, generally seems to make most people's lives feel more meaningful. Note that it isn't immoral to be unhappy by this heuristic, it's immoral to deliberately decrease long-run overall net happiness without causing a worthwhile gain on the other principles. Similarly when we get to the other two.

Freedom, because a significant portion of people need to be able to make their own decisions in order to achieve a life that resembles what happiness looks like for them, and also because having made a choice to do something makes whatever it is so much sweeter. If people cannot choose for themselves, what meaning can they possibly get out of life? They may as well be a robot. Out of all of these principles, increased freedom does need to be applied a little more carefully, because (as we are aware with people who suddenly retire at an old age with no hobbies outside work) people who are not used to having much freedom can find a sudden transition to a large amount of freedom difficult to handle, so for people who don't seem so flexible, it's probably better to increase the freedom more slowly over a period of time.

Sustainability, because setting up unsustainable modes of living that can't be passed on to the next generation and failing to teach them sustainable alternative methods will result in a marked loss of both happiness and freedom for them as they feel the inevitable bite of climate change, peak oil, pollution, overpopulation, etc. Not much self-actualisation is going to be happening if climate change puts half the world in famine, because it would take a remarkable person to self-actualise under those conditions. If we set up sustainable systems now, our descendants will thank us.

Each of these principles has its downsides or ways it wouldn't work for everyone: for instance, someone with chronic depression may wish to get themselves through the day with some other source of meaning than happiness; it would be possible to have a world with arguably too much freedom, as in the sort of anarchism where the only defence against serial killers is to kill them back - and also, under anarchism, it's likely that Kegan 3 types will all start following the lead of some person anyway, only now the hierarchy won't be explicitly acknowledged by everyone; and unsustainable things could sometimes be worth doing, if they were being done in a world that wasn't already so overburdened by resource exploitation, and also in the current society it's impossible to live 100% sustainably anyway. But that's the set I find most useful at the moment.

Anyway, bringing it back around to the social aspect. In my quest to live morally and therefore increase happiness, freedom, and sustainability, I realised that I can't increase much of anything on scale that makes an actual difference unless I have some level of influence. I realised at some point during university that the whole of my life-long quest towards self-improvement and having a diverse set of talents would be basically pointless if I never did anything with those talents, and just pursued them by myself in a hovel somewhere. So, I realised that if I wanted to make an actual difference in the world, rather than just armchair-philosophising with a small number of people, I would have to learn how to function in the social realm, so that people would give me the opportunity to apply the things I knew.

Therefore I plan to use the social skills I'm attempting to acquire to reach a position of being well-respected (if not always understood) in my local community, which will widen my circle of influence and allow me to apply myself. (This is also one of the reasons I was first attracted to FIRE, because, come on, there are a LOT of better uses for my brain than working a 9-5 shuffling completely pointless papers around or something.) This is also why I persist in being interested in learning to socialise with even people who don't have much in common with me, because while the ones who are more out-of-the-ordinary will be more intellectually stimulating for spending a lot of time with, real improvements in an area by necessity include the so-called "normal" people in that area too, and if you can get them, if not on board, at least not actively against you, then whatever you're trying to do will probably be a lot easier.

I certainly don't intend to start keeping up with the Joneses, and I'm also under no illusions that I'm going to magically transform into the stereotypical wonder-celebrity-politician-marketer-smooth-talking-entrepreneur type who started a successful business with 375817350821 clients when they were just 5 years old or something, but I certainly think I can learn how the social realm functions, whether I always choose to use that knowledge or not, and for the sake of making my part of the world a bit of a better place, I can also manage to my introvert comfort zone. ;)

I might not succeed, of course. But we'll find that out in the future, and if I don't try to make a difference, then who would I be?

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:19 am

I've been practising on the ukulele a lot recently, as a fun outlet for my love of music that also might eventually have benefits. A relative bought me it for Christmas a couple of years ago, but I only started taking learning to play seriously a couple of months ago. Since then I've been practising most days and I'm getting pretty fluent at a whole bunch of chords. It's possible I'm on Ukulele Mt. Stupid in terms of my regard for my own ability at the moment, but I admit I am looking forward to being good enough that I could potentially start busking or something with a reasonable expectation of people actually choosing to give me money. :)

Jason
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Re: L's Journal

Post by Jason » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:30 am

I am assuming you've watched the Grace VanderWaal videos.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:46 am

I haven't, I'll check her out, thanks. :) I actually got inspired to pick up the ukulele again after reading Amanda Palmer's autobiography, in which she talked about the ukulele, and also her experiences working as a street performer as a human statue of an eight-foot tall bride. Human statue is out for me because I'm physically incapable of standing still for very long, but the idea of street performance (find skill you can do, go on street, put out hat or box for money) really caught in my brain for some reason.

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:28 am

I just finished baking some jam tarts, which is my latest experiment in improving my baking skills from "nonexistent" to "can bake things". I've been mainly focusing on pastry-based objects so far, and I feel like I'm now confident in my ability to competently produce pastry and cook it for the right amount of time, so that's good. I think I'll do a couple more pastry-based things, and then move on to either bread-style things or cake-style things.

Pros of now being able to make pastry:

-tasty
-able to produce snacks, desserts, and even meals from a simpler selection of staple ingredients, rather than buying a bunch of different pre-made snacks
-health benefits of knowing exactly what goes into your food
-social capital of being able to take delicious baked goods to social events (non-bakers generally find even baking the simplest thing yourself to be Incredibly Impressive And Impossible)
-tasty

BookLoverL
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: L's Journal

Post by BookLoverL » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:10 pm

I went larping on the bank holiday weekend (it's my most inherently expensive hobby for sure, but I paid most of the equipment costs before I discovered ERE and now it's around £150 per year), and took my ukulele, and I definitely think Operation: Busking is a go! Everyone loved my playing and gave me lots of compliments, and I even got invited in-character to an in-character party where I got paid a bunch of in-character fake money for playing, and more importantly, got to eat a bunch of real sandwiches and other stuff at the in-character party of these people I had never met before and therefore cut down on my event food costs in a very real way. So I think I finally understand how to get cultural capital from that, and also it's a good sign that people may be willing to give me actual money once I've built up a long enough set to make it worth going to stand on the street with a hat and play there. So overall, it's got good potential. :D

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