Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

May 21, 2012

The Inner Slave-driver

Filed under: gardening, Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , — paragardener @ 3:11 pm

I decided some time ago to swear off employment and support myself. I floundered around for awhile tying macrame hemp jewelery, but I didn’t really like selling it. Now I grow medical herbs for a steady group of clients.

My problem is that I can still feel pretty oppressed. Nowadays it isn’t my conditions of employment or my boss oppressing me; it’s just me.

The slave-driver within is a rude bastard to me. He gets me up in the morning, yelling about how I have to get ready to work. “Other people have to get up at six in the morning and drive to a factory,” he tells me, to guilt out any pleasure I might feel at getting up naturally, when I want.

Be your own boss.  While I’m working, the inner slave-driver watches everything I do and second-guesses me. A real slave-driver would have to pick on the other slaves sometimes, but this overseer is ever-present. What starts out as a concern for the plants and clients morphs into an obsession with correctly carrying out some program I’ve invented. I might as well work for a corporation!

Set your own hours.  By three in the afternoon, I’m exhausted of being picked on and picking on myself. I may yet force myself to work until five or six, if there’s anything to do, or I may shout at the slave-driver “I quit!”. In any case, once I’m “off,” I’m not going to touch anything dealing with the herb garden until the next day.

Well, a couple of days ago, I alleviated my boredom at 10:30 at night by going back to work with some little seedlings I’ve got under lights. It was strangely liberating to work at an odd hour. Why should I worry about clock time? The sun rises and sets. That’s reality — punching in and out, keeping track of time to the second, those are inventions of management. I am known to be unmanageable. And all of my friends run late, anyways.

Make money!  “If you were a more effective gardener,” says the slave-driver, “you would be making as much money as someone with a corporate job.” Um… so what? Life is not a money-making contest in the first place. In the second place: I don’t commute; I don’t waste money buying my lunches at Burger King or drinking with my coworkers when our shift ends. I have time to do things like brewing my own beer, which save money. Working for The Man doesn’t just make you money — it makes you spend money, too.

The money issue is inextricably tied up with the time issue. During “work time,” I must work at making money. The oppression of it all wears me out too much to attend to the brewing, baking and food gardening. Making money has taken priority over quality of life, and the quality of life stuff saves money anyways!

Mr. Slave-driver, you are fired. All of the school teachers and bosses I’ve had seem to have created you by colonizing my mind — you’re not even a real part of me, and you’re not helpful in any way. I get more done when I’m not listening to you. Self-employment apparently means using myself, so I’ll stay creatively non-employed but working. From now on, the slave-driver will be answered by the voice of Eric Cartman: “Screw you, I’ll do what I want!”



  1. I love this! It rings so true. I’m glad you fired the slave-driver. Make sure he stays fired!

    Comment by Kris — May 21, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

  2. The key is to become the slave driver. This saves on guilt and if you can keep labor costs down after hiring someone to do your work you will still have plenty of free time. heh heh

    Comment by wilfridcyrus — May 24, 2012 @ 4:51 am

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