What do you work for?

I went to the santé first thing to ask for permission to be dismissed from work so that I could go break ground on the community garden my advisor and I had been working on creating. We dug and sifted and sweated for three whole hours before he looked up and said “Jusqu’a demain” (until tomorrow). I thought he was kidding.  He was tired, he was satisfied, and he didn’t want to work anymore. So he didn’t. It felt like the greatest freedom in the world- to be detached from your job like that. We had indeed done a lot; we planted tomatoes, cabbage, onions, eggplant, and even banana trees, and it was simply enough for the day. I thought about when the doctors that morning had laughed at me for asking- as if work was something I had to do every day. In fact, from observing my mother’s work schedule, it seems she only sells at the market when she needs to. Can you imagine a more opposite approach to finance from the US than that? We don’t have goals in terms of amount, or need, but in terms of endless consumption!

We are all at such a revolutionary point in our teen-to-adult transition where we question what we want to do with our lives, especially now with this unique perspective on education. Now, I’m starting to think about why I want to work as well. As in, what will I be working for? What will be my ultimate aspiration in pursuing a career?

During the training institute, we heard a great story about development. There is a fisherman who lives by the ocean with his family and every day he goes out, catches fish, and sells them at the market. One day after the fisherman had come back from work and was sitting on the beach with his family, an American economist happened to see him, and asked him why he didn’t catch more fish.

“Why?” the fisherman says.

“Well, because then you could buy a bigger boat, and make more money.”

“Why would I want to do that?

“So you could pay other people to work for you, and delegate the labor so that you can have even more boats and eventually monopolize the market so you can set your prices how you want.”

“Then what?”  Said the fisherman.

“Then you’ll have enough money that you won’t have to work anymore and you can sit on the beach all day and spend more time with your family and….” The economist stopped.

“Like I’m doing now?”

Whooshkaputzecrinklezap (the sound of my mind being blown).