Downshifting

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I ready this essay in E-book. The original Italian title is something like “and now stop it: how to leave your job and change life”. The author, Simone Perotti, was a successfull manager, earned a lot of money, lived in Milan and was very well integrated into a work-world, but he was not happy.

He noticed that he could not do what he really wanted, for instance, he could not go to holidays in January, or he could not stay with his friends and relatives a sufficient amount of time. He worked 9-10 hours a day without time to relax when he felt he needed. At the end, he left his job, bought a boat and now he lives on the sea, earning his way through little jobs (painting friends’ boats, writing, acting as a guide for foreign people, and so on). He felt like a slave.

Exaggerated? Well, read the book and you will decide by yourself. I agree with him, and consider that I work just half day!

The book explains how this idea was born and how it haunted him. But above all explains how you can do it.

This can be easy, but you must prepare yourself to some important changes. First of all, if you choose a lifestyle similar to Perotti’s, you must be ready to stay alone for long period.

Second: you must be accustomed not to spend too much money. You will live on your savings and on little jobs, so you cannot think to go on with expensive gadgets or to go out for dinner three times a week. The author shows a list of things that you won’t be able to afford, but he reasons with a mind of a man living in Milan: this is not my mentality. I could live even with less!

I worried a little when I read that his idea of sufficient saving to start such a life is about 400.000 euro. Nothing difficult to get with a 4.000/5.000 euro salary. Then he adds, that if you earn just 1.600 Euro each month, things get a little harder, but not impossible. Of course, you cannot believe to start downshifting tomorrow: you will need about 10 years (and this depend upon other money sources, for instance if you have houses, apartments or if you inherit).

The important thing is to start now. To get the courage to accept to be out of some flows, to be in touch with your true self and desires, to accept, again, loneliness and, above all, incomprehension from a lot of people.

Another point that is seldom clear, is that you do not do downshifting because you want to rest for all your time. You must have something else to do. A passion that can become a job, but not necessarily: reading, writing, knitting, painting, surfing… This is the point that I liked the most: I am intrigued with people who manage to live on their passions.

We all chose our jobs for different reasons. In my case, I thought that a job in foreign sales would have allowed me to travel and meet different people and culture. Well, I soon discovered that yes, you can travel, but you have time only to visit airports and hotels rooms. That you actually meet foreign people, but they are enveloped in roles (client, suppliers) that do not enable them (or me) to be sincere. I never saw a true friendship among my colleagues and clients: each of them feels obliged to smile or to get serious depending upon the moment of the business process. No matter how much they kiss and hug and giggle.

On the other end, there is the fear. Perotti can say, and he is right, that nobody starves, that each of us has some capabilities, sometimes even big capabilities, to live on. But how many people do you know that has done downshifting?

Well… in the last years, more and more.

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