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One Man's Tale of Avoiding the Hamster Wheel
Old 08-04-2008, 11:30 AM   #1
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One Man's Tale of Avoiding the Hamster Wheel

I came across this article in today's San Francisco Chronicle. Interesting ER/FIRE related story! What do you think about the end-solution?

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It was an experiment in what Skrzypek calls "jumping off the wheel of American Protestant work ethic and consumer culture the wheel that says you must always be doing, always be achieving, always be motivated." It did not go as planned. And what he learned often revealed as much about the rest of us as it did about himself.
Ambition schmambition: one man's tale of avoiding the hamster wheel

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Old 08-04-2008, 11:36 AM   #2
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By the way, be sure to read the comments by SF Chronicle readers linked at the end of the story. The comments are mostly very negative.

For example,
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I'm embarrassed for this fellow as well as the person who wasted his/her time (and I'm sure the time of editors and fact checkers) to write this piece of rubbish.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:47 AM   #3
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Guy did what he wanted. Works for me.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:52 AM   #4
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Guy did what he wanted. Works for me.
Yes, I rather like the story, too.

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Old 08-04-2008, 12:45 PM   #5
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I loved some of the things that people said to him, and the comments made by readers:

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"Read the complete works of Dostoevsky," Max helpfully suggested.

"Work on your Web site. You don't even have a Web site, do you?"

"New York is where you go to live if you're ambitious and smart, Los Angeles is where you go if you're ambitious but not smart, and San Francisco is where you go if you're smart but not ambitious." As someone who has found a $100 an hour 32 hour a week job, I say more power to him!
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:18 PM   #6
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I like his statement-"There are too many crappy jobs out there and not enough crappy people."

About sums it up for me.

Ha
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:47 PM   #7
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Oh, Boy, an opportunity to quote one of my favorite movie lines: From "All the President's Men," Ben Bradley: "We can't print that, give it to the San
Francisco Chronicle." It brought down the house at the Surf Theater.

Shortly after I moved, a friend called and asked what I planned to do that day (a Saturday). The bathroom needed one more finishing touch, I hesitated, then said, "why can't we come right out and admit it, I plan to go down to Union Street and buy a rubber ducky." I was a little embarrassed to think that that might fill up the whole day. Sometime later I ran into a mutual friend who started laughing and said, "yeah, why not just say it, 'I'm going to buy a rubber ducky today'."
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:44 PM   #8
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It's supposed to reach over 100 degree's today. I think I'll stay in the A/C and watch the grass grow.

It's a 'crappy job' but somebody has to do it.

AND - I'm 'actively managing' my retirement by hurrying up and just standing there to quote Bogle.

Doing absolutely nothing is still a decision - and therefore managment.

Right?

heh heh heh - if SF gets too tacky he can always do Kansas.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:05 PM   #9
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Sometime later I ran into a mutual friend who started laughing and said, "yeah, why not just say it, 'I'm going to buy a rubber ducky today'."
Every single man needs a rubber ducky. My friend gave me one, and a back brush.

Ha
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:12 PM   #10
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What do you think about the end-solution?
I don't think he'll ever feel trapped by employment, let alone suffer from Sunday-night syndrome.

And if they decide to have kids, I don't think he'll have any problem deciding to stay home to raise them.

I kinda envy him!
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:17 PM   #11
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Sounds like a cool guy. One of the comments, about how he wasn't a drone and would be a great dad, received a number of thumb-ups.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:26 PM   #12
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I was somewhat afraid to open a thread that had its title shortened to "One mans tale of avoiding the hamster..." in the portal page...

Interesting read about how someone with marginal skills can live a well financed life of leisure due in almost no part whatsoever on what he did or didnt do. And gets hitched in the middle of it.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:33 PM   #13
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I was somewhat afraid to open a thread that had its title shortened to "One mans tale of avoiding the hamster..." in the portal page...
What do you mean by this statement CFB?
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:48 PM   #14
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I was somewhat afraid to open a thread that had its title shortened to "One mans tale of avoiding the hamster..." in the portal page...

Interesting read about how someone with marginal skills can live a well financed life of leisure due in almost no part whatsoever on what he did or didnt do. And gets hitched in the middle of it.
I can really relate to the marginal skills part..
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:59 PM   #15
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Oh hey, I wasnt maligning the whole thing. Its just impressive how someone can plan and educate themselves and work their butt off, make all the right decisions and end up blowing it, and another guy can wander through life making pretty much no effort, almost no good decisions, do practically nothing, and end up enjoying a pretty good life.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:06 PM   #16
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Oh hey, I wasnt maligning the whole thing. Its just impressive how someone can plan and educate themselves and work their butt off, make all the right decisions and end up blowing it, and another guy can wander through life making pretty much no effort, almost no good decisions, do practically nothing, and end up enjoying a pretty good life.
Oh I know..lol I know..Life is like rolling the dice On the other hand you have people who work really hard and it turns out great for them..
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:02 PM   #17
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In Italy they call this "Dolce farniente" The sweetness of doing nothing. Imagine a whole country of Skrzypek's. Come to think of it, that's what I really like about Italy....
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:24 PM   #18
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Oh I know..lol I know..Life is like rolling the dice On the other hand you have people who work really hard and it turns out great for them..
Soo - you end up owning a hamster wheel with your very own hamster employees.

What's next - hamster pensions??

heh heh heh - Sometimes success can be burdensome.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:45 PM   #19
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hamster pensions
LOL.

Great name for a band.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:37 PM   #20
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Sounds like a cool guy. One of the comments, about how he wasn't a drone and would be a great dad, received a number of thumb-ups.
When I was in the Air Force, I was at a base where we had a pretty competitive little clique of active duty racquetballers. Mostly young turks. Fighter jocks, permanent party instructors, command staff folks. Virtually no dependents played, but there was just one middle-aged guy who had very long hair, clearly not military, who played with us, and was always there when the first person showed up for that evening's play. This guy was a goofy looking long, lanky guy, who played with 15 year old gear and the exact same old shorts and tee shirt each time, when everyone else had the latest name brand gear. He seemed pleasant enough, but since no one respected his 'look', and certainly not his soft-style play in a group that prized smacking the ball, he really did not interact socially. When the first guy would show up and had to 'get him off the court', by winning the court away, it got to be dreaded, because no one wanted to lose to this goof, who wore all the wrong gear, played with the wrong equipment, and did not hit the ball the way it was 'proper' to do. No one minds too much losing to a gunslinger, but no one wanted to lose to this 'clown'. And yet, from all those hours with nothing to do but practice and wait for the evening crush of active duty players, he got very difficult to beat. Never called a hinder. Never argued the score. He was so long, he could 'get' anything, and his style was so low key, he made pretty much zero mistakes, while the gunslingers were skipping the ball and blowing up under pressure, muttering about how he wasn't playing 'real' racquetball....

Long story short, we who were real regulars got to know and appreciate this laid-back seeming drop out, and learned that he was a true 'house husband', with his wife an active duty officer, and was about the nicest guy you could ever want to know. He had about the lowest externally visable ego I had ever run across, but clearly could follow through with a sense of purpose, hence his unconventional racquetball success. Most of us were fixated on tourneys and rated our own worth on our 'level' ("D", "C", "B", "A", etc) and how we had done in the latest tourney. This guy never went to a tourney, it would have been the farthest thing from his mind -- weekends were for the wife and family, not for sweating and waiting to play in some distant gym somewhere in hopes of a $1.49 hunk of ego-stroke metal trophy...

Anyway, if you've made it this far, I guess I see in these two, the same easy disassociation with what society says we ought to value, and replacement of that with what he has decided to value personally, backed up with a willingness to go unusual routes to get there.

When we get peeved at such folks, I think we are mostly just projecting our own uncertainty at whether we should have accepted the yoke of convention that most of us slog around wearing every day.

Yes, I think he would be a good father.
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