Escaping Full Time Employment

Twenty years ago, the ability to make a living without being employed at a job, was a privilege.

These days however, with companies outsourcing and automating labor, this has now increasingly become a necessity.

Nevertheless, the joy of escaping employment lingers long after the event, as this letter written in 1986, demonstrates:


(from Letters of Note)

Background: In 1969, publisher John Martin offered to pay Charles Bukowski $100 each and every month for the rest of his life, on one condition: that he quit his job at the post office and become a writer. 49-year-old Bukowski did just that, and in 1971 his first novel, Post Office, was published.

15 years later, Bukowski wrote the following letter to Martin and spoke of his joy at having escaped full time employment.


Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don’t think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don’t get it right. They call it “9 to 5.” It’s never 9 to 5, there’s no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don’t take lunch. Then there’s OVERTIME and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there’s another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: “Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

“I put in 35 years…”

“It ain’t right…”

“I don’t know what to do…”

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn’t they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I’m here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I’ve found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.

I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: “I’ll never be free!”

One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.

So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.

To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

yr boy,



I remember clearly the day I quit my job… and today I’m still thankful of having had the opportunity to do so.

These days, people are starting to recognize the necessity of being financially independent.

Thankfully, there has never been a better time in history to achieve this.

But as the barriers to entry fall, competition increases.

The longer you wait to start training your trading skills, the further you’ll fall behind the people who start today.

By |2019-05-15T14:37:58+00:00May 15th, 2019|General|16 Comments


  1. James August 18, 2013 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Sobering words if I’ve ever heard any.

  2. subra August 18, 2013 at 8:50 am - Reply

    hi sir, nice comments and i downloaded your ebook.thanks.

  3. tino August 18, 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    truer words have never been spoken

  4. martin August 18, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Well……..the answer is answer some forex ad for a bot or system that will instantly show you h ow to earn at least $459,000 a month in six weeks or less 😀

  5. Donald Gavin August 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Very powerful and sobering. Thanks for posting the letter as it certainly inspires one to ‘get going’

  6. Peter August 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Chris, it’s more true today than ever before.

  7. antonio August 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris, I just read the story of my life and as Charles I took my chance,I escaped from slavery and never been so happy. Now I am a free trader and I own my time.

  8. Marvin August 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    You are wise beyond your years, thanks

    • Chris Lee August 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      Hello everyone,

      Thank you for your comments!

      I hope this post made a difference to you.

  9. Nelson Tan August 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Walao eh, how often does someone get paid $100/mth for the rest of his life without the stress on personal KPI? It’s always hardest to start from $ZERO. The idea of a “for the rest of your life” income no matter how little it is, guaranteed and paid for by someone else (a confirmed/pledged source) and with little effort on your own part, is a very powerful mental cushion. Even now I’m sure people would pay US$80 for a USB device that mines US$13/mth worth of bitcoin so long as they can leave their brains out. As long as the miner wants to increase his income rate, he has to keep buying these devices. I think he’s trapped for life and will never be free hehe.

    Charles Bukowski said some very funny quotes; quite like him. Should watch a few movies about him. Mickey Rourke stars as him.

  10. aaron August 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris
    I quit paid job in 2008 and decided for private enterprise but the experience
    Has been a difficult one. Good and inspiring letter though but the reality
    outside is stark and cruel only the very fittest can survive and retail trading
    is no exception. Or what do you think Chris?

    • Chris Lee August 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Aaron,

      I would agree that the getting a “regular” paycheck is a lot easier than gaining financial independence.

      However, I should also say that like everything else, there different ways to go about attaining financial independence and some of them are more difficult than others.

      Personally, I think that with guidance, Forex trading is one of the best ways to get there.

  11. Leela Raj August 21, 2013 at 5:31 am - Reply

    The letter you have shared is an eye opener to me Thank you

  12. Masing August 21, 2013 at 8:27 am - Reply

    nice post n illustration.

  13. Didi September 5, 2013 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Hi Chris
    Life is tough. I would very much love to do forex trading just to own my time and control my finances but it is difficult. I have tried and have not won and I don’t know which way to do my forecast technical or fundamental. I am also sceptical as I have children who are at school that I need to take care of. I also bought your candlestick book. That does not cover everything I need to know about trading. Which material do you recommend as an expect in the forex trading field? There are so many materials on the internet and one do not know which one to rel on.


    • Chris Lee September 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Didi,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The basics of Forex trading can be found easily online, just do a search for it. A good place to start is Babypips.

      This said, do not expect to become a profitable trader after going through their program — what they teach is necessary, but in my opinion not enough.

      A good start would be to choose how much time, effort and money you’re willing to spend on your trading. This will play a large part in determining your trading method.

      Also, as you practice trading, my suggestion would be to come up with a plan to ensure you are on the right track. There are many retail traders who have been trading for years, who are actually running around in circles and not improving.

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