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Job-free at last

My father advised me to take time off. He said that "it" runs in the family. What is "it"? Workaholism.

My mother would advise otherwise. "Stay in the same job. Work as long as you can. Save your income. Don't spend it."

I swing between the two extremes. There are times when I can't stop working. Other times, I just want to retire from the rat race.

Today I declared to my friends that I was "job-free."

"Jobless," one friend tried to correct me.

"No, job-free."

There's a big difference between being job-free and being jobless. "Job-free" implies that you're free of responsibility and obligation to someone who pays you. "Jobless" has the connotation that you are handicapped or missing something. For the workaholic who is without a job, it is a severe handicap.

By declaring myself job-free, I am trying my best to run away from the workaholism that has genetically afflicted my family.

My father's father was a victim of workaholism. Barely days after he retired from the air force, at the tender age of 50, he started a school of English. He never gave himself a vacation. Some forty years later, the government was the wealthy beneficiary of his hard-earned school fees.

Having learned from my grandfather's mistakes, my father doesn't hesitate to remind me or others when we suggest a good money-making idea - "but I'm retired." And for him, being retired means being free to do as he likes, job-free at last!

1 July 2002 Monday

Baltimore 2000
My colleagues in New York meeting for the first time in Baltimore, July 2000.
grandpa in China
Ironically, my grandfather had worked at the Edison company in Shanghai. Why ironic? Because unknown to him, I went into the electricity industry. Or rather, unknown to me, I was completing the circle he had started.
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