What Would I Do if I Didn’t Go to Work?


What would I do if I didn’t go to work?

It’s a good question, a frequently-asked one even. It’s asked sarcastically by dullards and sincerely by those of us with imaginations.

In a way, the question is at the heart of Escapology. Where are you going today? What would you like to do with yourself? How would you like to apply your imagination and willpower if given a chance?

I’d like to dedicate a sub-chapter of the forthcoming Escape Everything! book to answering this question through examples.

If you’d like to be mentioned in the book (even if anonymously), drop me an email with a brief description of how you spend your time instead of going to work (or how you imagine you’d spend it if you didn’t go to work).

There are many ways of spending days, so let’s show the world a few!


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at www.wringham.co.uk/about.

9 Responses to “What Would I Do if I Didn’t Go to Work?”

  1. Robert says:

    I’d spend most of this morning on my local beach and in the sand dunes picking up all the beer cans, broken bottles, crisp packets, condoms and dog turds and disposing of them properly. Then the afternoon I’d spend attempting to make a photograph of the newly prettified beach that looked even half as majestic as the real thing.

    I’d probably alternate that day with a day of standing at the entrance to my local supermarket and badgering people to add a tin of beans to their shop for the local food bank.

    repeat ’till fade….

    Oh hark at me, so upstanding and worthy!

  2. I’d love to tell you that I’d spend all my time feeding the hungry, or otherwise making the world a better place, but after spending a lifetime of having to sell the best hours of most of my days on earth chasing a dollar, I can tell you that if I didn’t have to work, I’d do exactly whatever I pleased on any given day. That is the definition of true wealth – doing what you want to do instead of what you have to do.

    If I felt like puttering in the cottage garden around my house, I’d do that. I’d pick up the oil paints that I laid aside years ago and take painting classes. I’d move to the next level with the genealogical research that I loved doing as a teenager. I’d rent a small furnished apartment on the island of Murano for a month and try to re-learn my glass working skills, long abandoned on the altar of “making a living.” I’d sit in front of the fire in my library and begin reading all of those books I planned to read “someday.” I’d lay in the hammock on a summer day and nap without feeling guilty about it. I’d study for fun. I’d take classes purely to learn, with no “career” goals in mind. I’d go on a couple of affordable Groupon trips every year and see new places. The Bucket List that always seems to grow longer would begin to grow shorter.

    A person who cannot imagine how they would spend their time if they didn’t have to work suffers from an appalling lack of imagination.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I don’t know what I would do. Funny, but I am not concerned. I have faith that when my mind clears of the senseless distractions of work, there will be ample ideas.
    -written from my work desk

  4. Zainab Usman says:

    I tend to agree with Laura above. One of the joys of having not to work is the opportunity to be spontaneous.

    One of the first things I will do if I don’t have to work is to throw out the alarm clock and sleep more. I am so sleep deprived that more sleep is in my 2015 resolutions.

    I would like to say if I did not have to work I will read more but I already read a lot as it were. But what I would surely do is to read more leisurely and reflect more on what I have read.

    I will also move to a more greener city and walk more and enjoy nature. Today I live in a big city with massive pollution including noise pollution. I would love to move to a quitter place and enjoy the silence.

    I would also like to see my friends more and enjoy a slow lunch or coffee in the afternoon with no care about time.

    Visiting this site has made me realise one thing and that is one does not need so much to enjoy life. Indeed it has made me questioned why I am still working full time. I cannot seem to answer the question satisfactorily as the only reason I can put my hand on is that I want to save more money. But then to do what with it? My desires are so modest!

    I am hoping your book and magazine will throw more light and make me escape finally.

  5. I would get rid of my alarm clock and after waking up would drink a cup of coffee with tranquility; then I would go running without being in a hurry and then after that I would go home, take a really slow shower and start planning my day, and I would make sure to include all those activities that I love to do but never do because I don’t have the time or the money, like reading,taking yoga classes, learn new languages, learn to play the piano, call my friends and see how they are doing, visit my mom, and basically enjoy the present without being so worried about the future.

  6. chrisBo says:

    i take to the shops and like to quiz staff with difficult questions such as ‘why is polyester preferred to nylon in this garment’? and ‘i’m looking for something Made in England can you help me find anything’? I like to meander around from place to place looking but not buying. There is something rather funny and rebellious about not buying stuff and just looking, it really frustrates sales staff. A good trick is to start speaking German or wear a hi-viz cycle jacket and they soon clear off. Any cycle apparel is a real turn off to shop staff, especially if you ask to try a pair of jeans on when wearing a lycra outfit. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when walking out of Tesco without buying anything.

  7. Karissa says:

    I wrote a blog post about this a few days ago:

    What would I do if I didn’t have to work?

    Near the end of my previous relationship, I was trying to make a case for early retirement (aka “financial independence.”) Partner (ex) couldn’t imagine not working his 45-hour-a-week job for the next 35 years and also could not imagine what he would do with all that time off.

    The only thing I could think of at the time was “travel!” but we knew if that were to become a reality we would have to have much much better finances.

    So, now I’m on my own, and I’m still planning my early retirement. Even though my collective agreement tells me that I can’t access my pension until the first day of the first month following my 60th birthday, I hope to be finished working by 55, which is now 15 years from now. Ten years more of work would be even better.

    What would I do if I didn’t have to work?
    – set my alarm for 7:30 am and get up around 8:00
    – see my son off to school
    – practice yoga for two hours
    – meditate for one hour
    – lunch (alone or with a friend)
    – work on volunteer activities (I currently do not volunteer, but I would like to for OPIRG, or a local world issues centre, New Canadian Centre, Habitat for Humanity, sexual assault centre, or even spend an hour or two at my son’s school). Or take a nap.
    – plan a nice meal for dinner and cook it

    That looks like such a nice day that I think I am going to start practicing it on Saturdays.

  8. a.julie says:

    The list is long-but-short; my goal is to escape so I can do it.

    Life would still revolve around daily routines and rituals, but those of my choosing. No more of this 40-of-my-best-hours-to-something-I-do-not-love soul-sucking junk. But it pays the rent and the student loans.

    Without work…

    I would have time to practice yoga every day. To spend some time reading every day. To spend some time looking at art everyday… cruising Tumblr takes time! Both of those are part of strengthening my creative (art/writing) practice, keeping the creative juices flowing. I’d freewheel and do the work I love, and participate in community with people of similar interests.

    I’d be more active. Walk or bike to and from the grocery store rather than swinging by on the way from work. Ride my bike 100 miles a week, play with and train the dogs daily, keep a garden.

    Making beautiful food for people gives me a lot of satisfaction. Maybe I’d work part-time in a sandwich shop or bakery.

    I would take graduate-level seminars in philosophy and critical theory, or attend university lectures and conferences, or find a reading group working at a masters/doctoral level.

    I would still race sailboats in the summer. I would have time to get coached at dinghy racing. I would be better rested to dance tango on the weekend evenings. I would be better rested, period.

    I would invest in travel to pursue my passions – oftentimes to learn and enrich myself. To me that seems like the best leisure there is.

  9. That sounds pretty damn wonderful a.julie. But remember you’ll be better equipped to go to real galleries once kicking the job and not have to be satisfied by Tumblr.

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