Some perceptive words from my little brother during Thanksgiving conversation, and I'm sure a not uncommon thought when I mention my plan to a colleague or friend. The conversation seems to goes something like this:
"So where is the Navy moving you to next?"
Me: "No, that's it for me. I didn't promote, so we're moving on to civilian life, and heading south to warmer weather."
"Sorry to hear that. What career are you considering? Already have a job lined up?"
Me: "Actually I'm not looking for a new career right now. I'm going to stay home with the three little ones with my wife so we can both take on the challenge of three kids three and under together, and to be able to spend as much time as possible with them while they are young. I'll still be doing my one weekend a month for the Reserves, and that should be enough to support us budget-wise, especially since we are going to be moving into our RV full time which will cut down on costs hopefully.
"Wait, you aren't going to work and you are going to live in a trailer?" [Inner voice: Uh, this guy is what is wrong with America. Probably going to be living off freebies from my taxes.. paid for by me working.] "Oh, uh, sounds interesting. Good luck with that.”
Granted, there are a number of individuals that seem to express sincere admiration for our "bravery" in what we are undertaking. But whether true or only perceived on my part, the sense that some people scoff at the idea of my family choosing to live "jobless in a trailer" does get me thinking. I think the biggest *gasp* factor in the plan is the lack of full-time employment, by either my wife or myself, and how that is perceived (especially since we don't have enough money to "retire").
Of course, there are a lot of people that don't enjoy their specific job, but most sensible adults understand work is a good thing. First and foremost, it provides a source of income. Not only that, but if provides a sense of worth, value and achievement to the individual working. It sets an example to one's children on how to responsibly work to support a family. It allows for disposable income not only to enjoy, but to give in order to help those in need. And work offers a societal benefit to be shared by all. The importance of work as a benefit to our country's economy is evident as the unemployment rate is often used as a measure of economic strength. Finally, we are created in God's image, and included in this is the design to be working, productive people. Clearly, work matters.
So how do I justify not working? I hope to make the case over my next few blog posts, but it starts with this key distinction: Work and employment are not synonymous. So I will certainly be working, I just won't be employed full-time. Once I grasped this idea, the justification was far easier. So if you aren’t interested in following this bit of rambling about work, just check back in when more trailer action starts happening in January. I’m analyzing and writing this short series more for myself than for anyone else (as is the case for the entire blog), but I’m happy to converse with anyone that has comments, questions, or perhaps some encouraging words.
Thanks for reading.