A Richer Understanding: Indentured Servitude

Around age 22 I attended an information session for Amway. At the time of the invite I did not know it was ‘Amway’ … I was simply a young man trying to make some change, literally and figuratively.

“There are far better ways to make a living than selling yourself into indentured servitude.”

I can’t remember many details from that day, however, the quote above stood out. I’ve held onto it all these years, primarily because it sounded intelligent to say as a 22-year old, but as I started to make ‘job’ choices; jobs that were driven by money not passion, desire or happiness, the quote started to take on a more personal meaning for me. I went from managing restaurants, to property management and then into banking.

I was working 50 hours a week making the same as someone working 40, so I left the restaurants. I was working weekends while everyone else was out enjoying life, so I left property management. I seemed to be chasing an ideal (read: money) never considering doing something I enjoy or something that makes me happy.

Outside of relationship building (read: pyramid building) approaches for network marketing, home-based businesses I have also been approached about other entrepreneurial opportunities. In retrospect I was on the ground floor, so to write, of a few ideas that are income generating businesses to date. Mobile detailing, concierge services and meal preparation/ delivery. I remember very vividly each one of these ideas and the pitch, however it was hard for me to see the need for any of them.

There are car washes all over the city, why would someone need that?

Who would want someone to wash/ dry and fold their laundry or pick up their dry cleaning?

Who would pay for someone to cook and deliver their food to them?

When you do not truly believe in something it is hard to “sell” it, at least for me. In its simplest form the indentured servitude quote speaks to working for yourself and not trading your time for money. While I’m not at the point of walking away from working for others, I have started to seek additional streams of income.

Not chasing money but having something you believe in, and doing something that makes you happy … I can’t think of a better way to make a living.

I remain,

Brian

James
 

James retired in 2005 after serving 21 years in the United States Army. During the latter part of his career, James' interest in personal finance was piqued based on his own experiences and observations of the way most Americans plan – or more accurately, fail to plan – for retirement and the difficulty many face in starting the process. His most valued education has been lessons learned from personal experience and through conversations with smart, savvy friends.

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