I have returned on an airplane back from my life in China to Australia, where I intend to relax for two weeks, enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and the blue skies that Australia offers.
Life as a traveler means I am not tethered to any job. I do not have work-imposed limits on my travel abroad. I can roam free.
Job Security versus Freedom To Travel
On return to my old hometown, when I saw the same people in the same job after 20 years still looking happy in that job, strangely, I felt sorry for them.
I sighed that they are stuck in this job that they have learnt to love, only to get fleeting opportunities to spend their work holidays overseas because they have a good setup in terms of holiday pay and work entitlements in Australia.
They have learnt to structure their life around this job that they have had for decades.
The Trade-Offs Of Job Security
Job security has trade-offs.
People living these lives become limited to their job serving their boss, or to make money for other people. You will continuously earn money, but it can dictate serious life decisions, such as when to travel, your relationships, when to have children, and where to live.
Secure jobs encapsulate lifetime workers in their own societies in life.
Career-oriented people are also shaped by such limitations. In the lives of such people, the meaning of success is to keep a stable job, save money, to buy a house, to have kids, and to then stay settled. For a majority of people that is fine. But in life, you miss out on so much more.
The Chinese Iron Rice Bowls (铁饭碗)
China has a similar phenomenon called Iron Rice Bowl (铁饭碗). Iron Rice Bowls are older generations of Chinese who landed a secure government job, and nobody can get rid of them. It is secure for life.
The Benefits Of Freedom
In my travels, I understood how secure jobs deter free movement, by imposing penalties on too much freedom. You could lose your job for example, if you travel too often. As a traveler who has evolved beyond secure work, and who knows life on earth is short, I came to appreciate those limitations and transcended them.
I saw in these familiar faces that such people will never get to travel the world, and as such, such people will never truly get to understand other people.
Having had their life for ten years, and then having had a life of travel for more than five years, I would definitely pick the life of travel every single time over a stable job.
Being Your Own Boss
I came to appreciate that a stable job is not valuable, unless it is something that you are passionate about, and you love.
To me, there is a difference between me being a writer, and me being a writer for a newspaper. The difference is that I love what I do, and I get to create the things that I love, and I get to travel wherever I want to go. There is a little backpack in my mind that I open up and unleash these stories on the rest of the world, and I can publish them when I choose.
There is no formality to what I do, except that I would like these stories to all be visible to the world before I die.
The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.