This strikes a chord with me at a very deep level.
A few years back I was completely disillusioned with living and working in a big city, basically just to buy more stuff. It still boggles my mind we all go to work 40 hours a week then come up with more and more creative ways to waste that excess of money, rather than just work less and have more time.
I sold everything, quit my job, and spent 2 years driving from Alaska to Argentina, living in my tent and cooking on my little travel stove.
My perspective on the world has changed immensely, and I now live in the very far north, grow and hunt/fish my own food, and only go to work enough to have the quality of life I want. That's usually around 2-3 days a week, depending if I want a new toy that month (rifle/camera/etc.)
I highly, highly recommend people take a break from consumerism for an extended period of time and see how fulfilling your life can be without all that stuff. Some of the happiest people I've ever met in my life have nothing by North American standards.
The posts about how "wonderful" it is that everyone has fridges and smartphones make me cringe. These people have satisfied themselves going a few convolutions further than the lowest common denominator- ie: romanticizing the noble savage- so then they go around regurgitating this idiotic reactionary 'wisdom' about being happy with what we have.
What we have is an ideologically broken, personally unfulfilling, extremely resource-intensive society, and indoctrination quips like "it's the best thing other than all the other things that have been tried" and "our luxuries rise other poorer people out of poverty" shouldn't cut it.
Some of the happiest people I've met in my life have everything by North American standards. Material things are tools for happiness, not happiness itself.
We all go to work for 40 hours a week so that we don't have to live in a tent, cook on a travel stove, and hunt/grow our own food, which suggests a very day-by-day, unstable lifestyle. If that's what makes you happy that's great, but I don't think it's fair to call it "consumerism" when really it's just reaping the benefits of technological advancements. Many people would rather work 40 hour workweeks for (essentially) guaranteed food, water, shelter, and leftover purchasing power, which I think is perfectly reasonable.
> We all go to work for 40 hours a week so that we don't have to live in a tent, cook on a travel stove, and hunt/grow our own food
You can ensure that by only going to work 20-30 hours a week.
> Many people would rather work 40 hour workweeks for (essentially) guaranteed food, water, shelter, and leftover purchasing power
But they're not getting that grantee. McDonald's just told it's full-time employees to go on food stamps. Wal-Mart has tens of thousands of employees working full-time equivalent hours with no health care and being forced to get a second and third job to make ends meet. Hundreds of millions of Americans have crushing debt, and still go to work full time. This just out today: most Americans are accumulating debt faster than they're saving for retirement. What does that say about the future?
Also, wait: you can ensure better living quarters than a tent, presumably with a stove, and be able to purchase food while working 20-30 hours a week? Or are you not guaranteed to be able to have shelter, food, and water working 40 hours a week? Your two statements seem contradictory, unless I'm missing something.
I'm actually somewhat envious of your lifestyle. I'm just bothered by the elitist attitude I often hear from people who live it (not you in particular! many others though). While you may be a perfectly fine hunter, happy to live off the land, etc., many people aren't and would prefer the comfort of a desk job and steady paycheck. It's all preference, I don't think one way is superior to the other, morally or otherwise.
The point was simply to point out there are perfectly valid alternatives to working 40 hours a week for the vast majority of your life. I meet thousands of people (in life and online) that have no idea you don't actually have to do that if you don't want to.
The very vast majority of people up here living the simple life are families.
I'll be spending a lot of time on your site, http://wikioverland.org Thanks for the resource!
Don't look for ways to earn more, looks for ways to spend less.
You have to practice negotiating, and work with your boss. A couple of quick suggestions:
1. Just step back to .9 or .75 or .5 time. Tons of people at my company do that.
2. Go on a contract.. that way the company doesn't have all the overhead costs for sick and leave days, health care, etc. etc. and your hourly rate will be much higher than it is as a salaried employee
3. Job share with someone for 6 months of the year so you do 6 months on 6 months off
4. Work from home.
If your current job won't hear any of that, start looking elsewhere until you find one that does!
Your partner becomes your working companion; this is a mutual relationship at it's very essence.
Your children learn practical skills, grow stronger, and aren't shaped entirely by a failing education system.
The main problem with romanticizing the unabomber life style is what it misses: All the benefits of regular society. I would rather be inclined to a good pitch for smaller footprint living (Make X money - live on it for the rest of your life doing OSS / charity).
Or, create an environment that will support your family indefinitely. Give your children space that they own. (I'd be ecstatic if my teenager wanted to build their own house on the property.) It is, of course, possible that they'll all move away, too.
Thinking about my parents, it's very likely that they end up on my property, living in their own space, with family close-by to care for them. I'm not going to abandon them to caretakers, but I do realize that it's unrealistic to expect that lifestyle to work in a suburban tract home setting; everybody needs their space.
You're welcome to keep waiting for that one big gig that sets you free financially. I've got my own hopes for that, too, but I'm not about to let it stagnate my life.