What holds you back?

Freedom is an interesting concept and dear to all of us. Many wars have been fought over it (which have there been more – wars for freedom or wars for religion?) and (quite ironically) lives lost protecting it. But what is freedom overall?

It seems as the answer should be: not under occupation. Free from outside governance of your life. It is the universal, given meaning and it is certainly true. But the extent of the freedom is what is most interesting. Can you say that nothing influences your decisions or that no one makes them for you? Are you free, if you are just not in jail? Is freedom only determined by physical objects?

Well, in theory, the idea of complete freedom and free will is awesome, but in practice there are constraints. And again, we all have individually different constraints and we all tolerate distinct levels of detention. Some may be happy with not controlling their life altering decisions(decided marriages in Indian culture and in Game of Thrones) as some are distressed, when they cannot be outside later than midnight(any teenager).

To which extent should we fight for it? What is reasonable and what is intolerable influence? Is it fair that you are born into your society and culture, why should you follow the gives rules if you did not choose them? Some questions that are interesting to ponder over and those will be discussed in the future of this topic.

I’d like to talk about practical examples of limited freedom and again shift the focus to freedom in personal, not collective meaning. When overall the situation, decisions and outcome seem totally fair and free, but on closer inspection, discord appears. A process, that I am currently going through: finding (trying to find) a new job.

A friend of mine (I’m going to refer to him frequently in the future also) and I were arguing over the free market of labour. I am an economics student and the theory is that everything is regulated by supply and demand and the job creator and seeker will both be satisfied. After some hours of discussion, my views were somewhat changed, but still I rested on the theory. Now, I think that in practice, it isn’t so.

Actually, businesses have much more freedom as job seekers. For example, I applied for a job at the beginning of last month. I got to the interview and I thought I performed well. They promised to call me back with an answer after a week. Well, I got the call a week and a half later and they called me to let me know that the recruiting process will last for another month. “Ok. You are informed then. Goodbye.” I understand how “bizness” works, but I prefer Michael Scott’s approach. The people person’s paper people, e.g. people are not just another input of a production function. Although Toby suffered, all the workers were not lacking love and respect from Michael.

The previous time when I looked for a job, I had to work on two jobs at a time for the same reason. I was applying for two positions and got to the interview in both. The job providers were not in a hurry and usually, they preferred not to let appliers know about their preferences. Because I was in an information black hole, I had to assure both job providers my interest. I myself could not just give up on one offer and hope that the other would choose me. I had to maximize my chances. And they prolonging their decision making made things harder for me quite a bit. I strongly believe that a relationship between a business and a person should be as open as an interpersonal one(not that I believe that corporations are people and money equals free speech – @ColbertReport)

Well, the situation for the firm will stay good. I presume that they have so many candidates that they will get the position filled at the time of their choosing. But as for the individuals like me, what are we supposed to do meanwhile? Just sit and wait for that call for a month? I think this is a case of outside effort to reduce my freedom. They are taking advantage of my interest in the job to find a better time to hire. In this case, I would prefer them saying no to me, that would not restrict my freedom as much. And in this case, where there is uncertainty for the seeker for a long period of time, the process itself alters the decisions. And if the process is long and important, then keep the participants informed. It isn’t sufficient that you call at the last minute, even to say I got the job. In my mind, that shows lack of respect.

My macro economics lecturer made a great example that the unemployment in labour market functions very similar to finding a partner. There are always jobs and even at financial downturns, there are jobs available to everybody. But there are different mindsets and expectations. When you want a partner badly, then you probably will settle with your first suitor. You just do not like the uncertainty of single life. But if you are attractive and have many suitors, then most likely you will wait with your decision and mull over your options, because you do not feel the rush. At the same time, the suitors may feel quite unhappy – they are working hard to get the attention, but all they get is a maybe. .

To counter the possibility of finding a job that is not perfect for me, I decided that in the summer months, I will rest from work. I will try to find other ways to pay my rent. I think that will be interesting in itself. But during these 3 months I will search for a job with the mindset of finding the perfect match and I am not in a rush. Let’s see what happens. When you spend 5 out of 7 days doing something then it should be something you thoroughly like.

Happy searching!


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