How to Not Be a Wage Slave
Choosing to be a wage slave is very different from choosing to be a debt slave, because it's a choice you make every day. (See also: The Best Way to Avoid the Worst Financial Problems)
One doesn't become a wage slave with one decision, the way a single choice to take on debt can color your life for decades. The only way to become a wage slave is to make the decision to be one day after day.
It starts like this: You get a job, find a place to live, buy the stuff you need — and without much thought going into it, pretty soon your lifestyle demands the continued flow of your wages or salary.
Of course, just earning wages doesn't make you a slave. It's only slavery when you lose your freedom. But when your boss asks you to do something unethical, and you feel like you've got no choice but to do it — that's slavery.
It's a gentle sort of slavery. No one makes you go to work every day — and yet, you do not have the freedom to say, "Today I think I'll go fishing instead."
Many people seem to think this is a good thing. Many people are afraid that, if they didn't have to go to work, they wouldn't go to work, and that that would be a bad thing.
It's not just a fear that they might lose the lifestyle to which they become accustomed. It's a fear that they'd find a more meager lifestyle acceptable, that only the goad of keeping up with expectations keeps them from being slackers (or worse).
The hard part of escaping wage slavery is making this mental shift — to stop choosing wage slavery every day, simply because it's what people do.
Once you do that, the key moves are easy:
1. Be Frugal
Don't let your cost of living rise until there's only one job in town that pays enough to cover your bills.
2. Avoid Debt
...except perhaps to finance the purchase of a productive asset.
3. Earn Some Non-Job Income
Even small amounts of extra income — from a small business you run on the side, a hobby that makes a little money, interest or dividends on your investments, rent from a piece of property — can cover an important fraction of your bare minimum expenses.
4. Expand Your Skills
New skills that would let you find a job in another field give you much more flexibility than just better skills in your current field.
Even when people out there were warning against freedom because it enabled sloth, to my mind choosing freedom was always the right choice. And I think a lot more people have come to share my view. When jobs are plentiful, you can work for wages and still be fairly free. So what if one employer goes out of business, or one boss turns out to be a psychopath, or one career turns out not to suit you — you can always find another job.
With the financial panic and recession, a lot of people were reminded that you can't always find another job.
When there's only one job, the shackles of wage slavery start feeling pretty tight. (And, of course, when there's no job, it's even worse.)