Not long after I started this blog, I stumbled into a Facebook conversation about me. Someone shared a link to this site, telling his friends that I learn a new language fluently every year, and that I write about it on a blog. One of the first responses was, "Yeah? He must be unemployed."
Some people just can't believe that a person could work a full-time job, and still have time to do the amount of study required to new language fluently in a year. And then to spend time every day writing about it too? Good heavens.
But the thing is, I do. And not only do I work a full-time job, and learn new languages, and write a blog, but I also go to the fitness club every day to work out. And yet I still manage to go enjoy myself regularly at comedy clubs, and go to movies, and hang out with friends after work, and do my photography. And I still manage to clean and do laundry and fix things when they break. Yes, it's true!
I also know how to say "no"
The reason I can do all of that is because I'm not spending my time in front of a television. I'm not filling my schedule with video games. I'm not wasting away in a bar late at night, or wasting away with a hangover in the morning. I also don't stay late at the office or work overtime. When invited to do those things, I generally say "no."
Do I occasionally watch a television show? Of course I do! But I don't schedule time for certain programs every week. In a pinch, do I occasionally stay an extra half-hour at work? Yes, but very rarely.
Do I occasionally go out with my friends and have a few drinks? Sure I do. It's fun to be social and see friends. But it's not fun to waste your whole night chasing an alcohol buzz, and it's not fun to wake up hung over, and it's not fun to think of how much money you've spent or how hard you'll have to work to lose that beer belly.
I could be doing any of those things too, of course, but then there would be choices to make. I would have to say no to something else. If I spent time watching tv, I wouldn't have time to write the blog. If I played video games, I wouldn't have time to learn a language. If I laid in bed with a hangover every morning, I wouldn't be in the fitness club lifting weights.
When reality doesn't match
I just described an example of the decisions a person might make to have exactly the same productivity as me. But if you look back at the example I gave earlier, these are not the decisions that people usually think of: the Facebook commenter assumed that I must have given up work in order to fit those other things in.
In other words, to stop watching television (or even just watch less) was not an option. To quit playing video games was not an option. To stop spending all evening talking on the phone and all night chatting on Facebook was not an option. That comment said a lot about the person's priorities, because the only thing that seemed like an option was to quit earning a living!
I'm not unemployed. But I definitely do not dedicate my life to my job. They get me for exactly the 40 hours that was agreed, and if overtime became a requirement or a regular occurrance, I would immediately quit and find a new job.
I can say "no" to anyone. And I do. That is where I find the time.
Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.