Recently a comedy news show did a full-episode take down of my former employer. It’s one of those shows that does investigative journalism better than most news agencies. The company they reported on is the one I’m referring to when I talk about my negative experiences in the corporate world. The place that was so wildly unethical it destroyed my physical and mental health. So today I want to talk about my meditations on maintaining Right Livelihood in difficult times.
This morning I was chatting with a friend about the rigors of self-employment. It’s not an easy path to take, but I don’t know if I could go back to working for someone else unless I absolutely had to. When I went to write today’s post and saw the scheduled topic, I laughed. It was as if the universe was reminding me of my privilege.
There are two parts to Right Livelihood. The first is abstaining from wrong livelihood. This is defined as profiting from trade in weapons, human beings, animals for slaughter, alcohol, and poison. Don’t harm living beings by cheating, harming, or killing them for a living.
The second part is about the lifestyle you’re supporting. Don’t possess more than you need. This is the part that resonates with me. I can make a living as a writer because I lead a minimalist lifestyle. In the corporate world I got sucked into having a McMansion and a new car and a lot of unnecessary possessions. To maintain that lifestyle I had to keep the job, and the job required me to do some pretty terrible and unethical (but entirely legal) things. As a self-employed person, no one can compel me to betray my morals, my values, or my conscience.
It was good to be reminded of that today.