Poor Outcomes in Life

If you are unaware or don’t believe in statistics then you are likely to become one. I grew up with the same group of guys and continued the friendship well into adulthood. I know enough about every stage of their lives to make sense of them.

In the beginning you all appear to be at the same level mostly because grade school and the legalities of age confine you. Sure, Mike might have all the swimming badges but who cares. John is an honour roll student but his grades aren’t doing anything for him right now. Dave’s grades suck and he’s good at nothing except thievery but he’s still in the same grade as Mike and John. Everyone’s future is still speculative.

Once you’re out of high school you’re free to fly as much as you are free to do nothing. From there it’s a slow rise or descent which makes being able to see the future vast disparities of inevitable outcomes difficult especially with the large dose of ego of a 20 -something-year-old.

Once time has somewhat settled the dust it all starts to make sense. It may have always made sense but to make sense you need knowledge and rationality. Broken homes and poverty is a killer combination. If you have one or the other you can get by at least with the appearance anyway. If you have both you’re a coin toss. You’re either in trouble or at best on the low-end of average. If you become the latter they’ll say, “you turned out okay.” What they really mean is that you could be a lot worse.

The few guys in the group from disadvantaged upbringings show the same thing in common. None of us had that strong enough desire or the capability to become successful or even that average guy in society. Perhaps it’s having no one to disappoint or to impress, having less fear of failure or some kind of brain wiring. Maybe if you don’t get what you need when you were young you can’t move on. I think the pitfall was using average as the barometer for success and competency.

Everyone else is living that typical life of marriage and a career. Even if they are miserable doing it or will be that’s considered normal. For them the want is there and strong. You don’t have to be happy to be considered a functional and competent adult in society.

Your early upbringing can retard your development or point it in a different direction. It might not necessarily be a bad thing but it’s not like most people. If you want to function well with society though you have to be like most people.

 

 

 

The Last Day at Work

It was the last day of my 2 week resignation notice and I was hoping to get away without many colleagues knowing about my departure. There’s a morning meeting every day when management announce what they think needs to be said and I guess people quitting fits into that category.

“It’s his last day today so wish him good luck.”

You could hear some gasps within the circle of people. A few of them rushed to my vicinity eager to hear what was waiting for me but hoping to hear I wasn’t going on to something better. People can cope with their dreadful existence if they believe no else around them can do better.

“It’s either quit or stay here forever,” I said.

Perhaps no greater words have been spoken before but it wasn’t promising enough to spark widespread envy. Having perceived to have opened myself to life’s fury soothed their souls. To many there that job was a godsend for the unambitious. “Put in your years and you’re golden.” That way of thinking should have expired at least 30 years ago.

Some people probably had the idea that I thought I was too good for the job and would be sorry once I realized how “life really works.” Company nerds can take offence that someone would leave for what they perceive as nothing.

“You just have to accept it,” one said.

“Sometimes acceptance is the same as giving up.” 

 

The words people will say to you depend greatly on the actions that have transpired. When the damage has already been done, thoughts on what you should have done go unspoken. As stupid as they might think you are all that’s left to be said are well wishes.

“Good luck, nice working with you.”

 

 

 

 

Assessing Risk

“I learned how to win a little at a time. But finally I’ve learned this: if you’re too careful, your whole life can become a fuckin’ grind.”

-Rounders(film)

One of the laws of life is “no risk no reward.” Sometimes we hold out hoping for an option that carries no risk and only reward. That doesn’t usually exist except for the ones who run the show and make the rules. The more you feel you have to lose the more risk that is involved. When a situation seems so dire though risk might not even seem like an issue.

I don’t believe risk is the same as sacrifice. With the latter you’re giving up something for something else. With risk you’re giving up something and you might get nothing or worse. In a long enough time line though the difference between risk and sacrifice can become blurred.

Since nothing is 100%, risk is involved all the time. You might think that supposed safe job is risk free but what happens when you’re at the age of 45 and it gets taken away from you all of a sudden or you’re stuck in a cycle of 9-5 misery. Some choices don’t seem risky only because they’re more widely accepted as standard practice. Half the time risk is just the possibility of feeling left out from society. What if you’re at the end of your life and wished you took that potentially life changing risk when you were 25? Can not taking a risk be considered risking your life?

Life rewards those who take risks because most people aren’t willing to take them. The fear of losing overpowers the desire to win. We’re a very risk adverse species when comfortable options are available.

The ones that took a risk and failed will tell you, “just work a job.” The ones that succeeded or who didn’t take a risk will say, “you don’t want to work for somebody for all of your life.” Most people will have a bias.


“I took a risk, I took a risk, you see all the angles, and never have the fucking stones to play one”

-Rounders(film)

 

 

Extended Welfare

A town in the province of Ontario is planning a 3 year experiment with a universal basic income of $17,000 for a single person and $24,027 for a couple per year. Some may find the idea appalling because the concept is so irregular. I don’t know if it will work but I find it interesting.  I suppose this experiment can be considered part of research and development.

Entertaining the idea of a universal basic income is entertaining the idea that there will be no jobs for a large population of society in the future. No one wants to say it but what this is all saying is that people are becoming more of a liability than an asset. Whether we were ever an asset is questionable. One way of looking at any type of social assistance is that it’s a way of keeping the wolves at bay. If you don’t give people some type of comfort then they have nothing to lose.

A common response is that this glorified welfare will just make people lazy and that they will just sit at home and do nothing. I guarantee you that some will but whether the majority will is another question. Doing nothing seems attractive when the thing you hate doing consumes most of your life. Sooner or later though, young or old, people want to do something and often something that feels purposeful. Often, the reason why many people would rather exclude themselves from society is because they feel rejected.

If not enough jobs or too many people are an issue, shouldn’t there be something done about population control? I’m sure it’s crossed people’s minds but we’re still in a stage of our culture that believes having children is essential.

 

Universal Childcare Program

The average Canadian is earning less compared to recent decades or at least their dollar doesn’t go as far. The imbalance is that the lifestyle has been reluctant to decline along with it.

I view the idea of having children on the same parallel as the over-consumption of meat. No longer is it a question of survival or a benefit towards society. It’s a question of just wanting to.

Canadian parents are protesting for a subsidized daycare program so that they can afford to have someone take care of their kids who will grow up to collect universal basic income. I’ve written to the government to subsidize an automobile that I can’t afford.

Who knows what the future will bring though.

 

 

 

Measure of Success

The true measure of success is how much better you think you are than everyone else or at the very least the people who you associate with. Yes, it is based on a comparison basis. Some might label the bench warmer of a major professional sports team unsuccessful but that bench warmer is probably more successful than 95% of people on Earth.

The cliched true measure of success is living every day of your life doing what makes you happy. I’m not saying it’s not true but it’s what everyone will tell you these days even if they’re constantly trying to fool themselves and everyone else that their life fits the mantra. To succeed means to win but most are playing not to lose.

It’s rare that people live life doing what they want since most people work very hard doing the opposite. Giving up that job you hate that sustains your place in society can feel like the equivalent to death. Hardly anyone strives and holds out for greatness. Instead, most solidify their place in hell so that they can stay warm by being close to others.

The chance you take by shooting for success is loneliness. The road to success rarely comes with an entourage. You’re stupid until you make it and especially if you don’t. To succeed greatly you must be willing to fail greatly.

 

Daily Prompt: Measure

 

 

Borrowing Digital Media

Yesterday I was at home searching the local library database online and took more notice of its digital capabilities. Borrow a movie, ebook or audiobook? Sounded odd but after a few minutes of clicking and reading, this is possible through Hoopla which is affiliated with my local library and quite possibly yours as well.

Screenshot_20170410-134107_resized

Screenshot of my phone

I’ve been spending a day a week at the library and it’s more of a community centre than a place to borrow books. There are many people there using free internet, doing homework, reading newspapers or attending kid programs while the book aisles are empty.

Some people prefer physical books over digital ones but real books take up a lot more room, money and muscle stamina. Also, it’s easier to lay sideways reading a digital device than it is a book. I can see books becoming like vinyl records. They’re going to go away and then make a resurgence. People will buy a hard copy of the books they like and leave the other ones in the digital space. Bookphiles will argue, “there’s no other way to read.”

It might sound like a crazy transition but kids 20 years from now will hear stories of how we lived, and laugh at us. They’ll feel sorry for us when they hear our spiel about how they’re missing out by not having to physically turn the page or the feeling of giving a hardcopy to a friend.

 

 

Almost Half Goes to Tax

Without getting too detailed this is a tax breakdown for a reported annual income of $40,000 in BC, Canada:

  • Income tax – $5000
  • Canadian Pension Plan(money for old people right now(Ponzi scheme)) – $1800
  • Employment Insurance(in case I am out of a job and am eligible to collect) – $700

Total to government – $7500
Total leftover – $32,500

The first $10,000 is tax-free and the remaining $30,000 incurs a 25% tax(20% federal tax, 5% provincial tax).

That’s not entirely accurate since that’s just the money that is automatically taken from you. If you spend everything that you get leftover there is a 0 to 12% sales tax.

Most common examples:

0% – Healthier items at the grocery store
5% – Other grocery items and food at restaurants, gasoline.
12% – The great majority of transactions

If you purchase liquor from a store or a restaurant there is a 15% tax.

The amount of tax you pay can be largely dependent on your vices and lifestyle. A pack of 20 cigarettes will include a $4.78 tax(roughly half of total price).

There’s a $0.32 gas tax plus 5% sales tax for every litre of unleaded gasoline . The price per litre today is $1.35(taxes included). How much per gallon? Multiply by 3.78= $5.10.

The big one is if you own a home and have to pay property tax. You’ll likely be paying $2000 to $4000 a year.

There are other costs that aren’t labelled as a tax but in essence they are. A 15% cultural expectation tax(tipping) is expected at most restaurants. If your company doesn’t provide you free health insurance then a person of average income is required to pay roughly $50-75 a month for one person. If your annual income is less than $24,000 then it’s free.

If you are one of the many to have credit card debt then you have to pay about 20% a year in interest(we got you tax) on transactions that you have already paid sales tax on.

You can put your money in the bank and never spend it to avoid paying more taxes but one day you’ll pass the money on to a loved one who will spend it or if you don’t have anyone then the government will take it all. Either way they will get something sooner or later.

To avoid paying taxes where I live, the best route is to make less than $10,000 a year, eat only healthy food bought from the grocery store and buy through Craigslist.