Living In America

Toxic People, Toxic Situations...

Avoid them.

We're in poisonous times right now as we head into almost four years of when the world became aware in the summer of 2007 of the great economic disruption. It is a toxic time for many people who aren't prepared to guard themselves from noxious fumes. As someone who is interested in the social sciences I've had to be careful at times of absorbing and emitting too much toxicity. An ironic situation itself, since in 2007 when I was personally struck by this global financial fiasco, I was determined to remain positive and above it all. Generally I have been upbeat and made the most of the situation but at times have paid too much attention to the economic, political and social events of our time. That is not to say that I think anyone should remain uninvolved and obliviously unaware, only cautious about how to absorb it and manage personal thought toward current events.

It was a conscious decision on my part to not participate in the psychological downside of this recession, that seems to have developed into a depression. One thing I have learned, through periods of unemployment, temporary and underemployment, involuntary and voluntary, is being "laid off" from a "real job" in 2007 was the best thing that could have happened to me. Since I was 16 years old I've worked long periods for a major corporation, a huge bank and state government. According to the standards of the Old Economy, these were "real jobs" that were considered "careers." I struggled with identity when I was booted out of the first one, an epically long 30 plus years off and on journey. I also felt I had to replace that so-called career with another one, which I managed to do not once but twice.

The New Economy has been liberating for me. In many ways I was fortunate since I had several small sources of income and a support system that allowed me to get by financially. Not always having funds to do everything I wanted to do when I wanted to do it wasn't as bad as I would have once thought. It is through a process of time I began to realize I had been relieved of the toxic situation of trying to fit the proverbial square peg in a round hole. I was never cut out for a career in the world of major corporations and banks and I managed to survive among toxic people but it was at a cost to me. It was too draining. That was when the economy was supposedly good, although on reflection most of us know it was a consumer economy based on a false happiness I couldn't buy into. That kind of life was a more poisonous time for me than the one we live in now.

What I have learned about this entire situation is to avoid toxic people and toxic situations. For me that means not being employed in a job that is poisonous to me due to negative people and oppressing organizations. It has now become irrelevant to me that the part-time job I have, that I generally enjoy, is considered by many as my being underemployed. What those people don't realize is that part-time underemployment provides me with medical benefits, some additional income and most importantly, free no-stress time. During that time I am able to be creative and supplement my income from freelance work that is creative and enjoyable to me. Most importantly I don't feel I have to fit into a work situation I don't feel comfortable in, a toxic situation for me and for the most part allows me to avoid toxic people. That is as valuable to me as the skyrocketing price of gold.