“The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. Freedom and slavery are mental states.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Slavery is a mental state.
Whatever the mental state, how about the physical state?
For me, slavery is .. not being able to do what you should be free to do, due to circumstances not completely in your control.
My first real job, I was once working in an Ice cream Parlor.
The second day, I was asked to scrape gum off the floor.
I said to the owner,
You didn’t hire me to scrape gum. You hired me to scoop ice cream..
What are you taking about? I will do anything I want with you. Get down on your knees and scrape that gum.
I told her I am not doing it.
You are fired.
That was the last job I ever had. I owe that woman everything.
– Kevin O’Leary.
Terence Thomas Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian businessman, author and television personality. He co-founded O’Leary Funds and SoftKey. Wikipedia
Net worth: US$400 million+
Now, while there are lessons go be learnt here, there is another angle to it.
The laws of demand and supply have a lot to do with your courage to fire yourself this way.
While no-one likes to think of himself as a “slave”, that is what the vast majority of the citizens of the world are.
Let’s not deceive ourselves.. we are almost all slaves at one level or the other. Even when you own your business, you slave to be able to pay your employees, keep competitors at bay, you slave for your family, you slave for government (taxes), etc. you get up and attend that boring meeting whether you feel like it or not.
And, yes, he who pays the piper dictates the tune, otherwise the guy with the purse strings simply gets another piper who is more amenable to his tune,who pipes according to his dictates. .
The guy who resists being ‘turned into a slave’ would simply have a willing ‘slave’ replace him..
As long as there are more employers than employees, or less employment than questing employees, we have an unlimited supply of ‘slaves’ and this will unfortunately continue to have an impact on how some employers would behave .
Is it not stated that Just A Handful Of People Control The Major Percentage Of World Resources?
So that we aren’t tempted to think that this kind of scenario happens in unstructured or small workplaces alone, note that similar things happen with giant corporations like Tesla, Amazon,.. .. where there is very scant attention paid to the need to have a ‘work-life’ balance. The work is your life, your life belongs to your employer round the clock, and if you attempt to separate the two, you run into hot waters.
Like someone asked,
If most of us spend the best years of our lives building businesses for others, servicing debts that we owe to others and making others wealthier, what does that make many us?
Some employers have become so demanding of their workers that they implant trackers into their thumbs, that allow the employer to basically know where the employee is at every point, and can call them into action any time, even outside designated. office hours.
Have a look at this form if slavery . The fact that many employees do not seem to mind this deep intrusion probably means they have given up privacy and are only living to work (and not vice versa).
Since working in certain places and certain conditions are generally ‘voluntary slavery ‘, it is important for any incoming employees to pay close attention during interviews and seek information from current colleagues / former employees to ascertain if the management style is compatible with his expectations.
Learn as much as possible about the work culture . If employee free time doesn’t exist, and you lack the temperament to cope, take a look elsewhere.
Kevin Orleans above is obviously not a slave by temperament . While many of us would like to be like Kevin, many of us just don’t have that luxury in an environment where numerous people would gradly take your job, no matter the condition.
If you can truly walk away from employment where they micro-manage your life and treat you like a servant, then, you are not a slave.
But as long as you would continue to accept to be treated shabbily, get assigned to perform duties totally unrelated to your duty because there aren’t many suitable alternatives out there, then the bondage is real indeed .
The challenge, then, is to follow Ghandi’s postulate, change the mental state, translate that into physical state, and escape the rank of slaves to become a slave master..