Working in the garden today - transplanting some Eggplants, putting cutworm collars around the baby Artichokes and Tomatoes - I was thinking about Work and Money.
Although we live in a part of the world where labour is cheap, and where many people hire gardeners and maids - often as full-time staff - we don't. The only exception is Pieter, our 60-something peripatetic gardener who pitches-up about once a month, more-or-less at random as he gets the urge. But back to the point...
Whilst busy placing cutworm collars around the baby plants, I, quite naturally, without thought, am snicking out little weeds that are popping-up in the beds, dealing with the odd cutworm I detect, helping a stray Pea plant find its support stick here, getting rid of a snail there... All of this is very easy; very effortless; completely without stress or consciousness. My focus is on the whole garden, despite my single overt purpose. The work is quite natural and flows easily; the Earth and I work together, meshing our energy with the plants and the elements.
And this is the reason we don't hire outside labour. Imagine doing the same job for money. You're handed a bagfull of halved toilet-roll inners, shown how to place them around the vulnerable plants, and left to get on with the job. Your energy and attention is certainly not on the whole garden. Your focus is purely to get the job done. If you're being paid for your time, the the urge is take as long as possible doing a pretty undemanding task, lest you be required to do something more strenuous when that task is finished. If you're being paid "piecework", the urge is to get as many plants collared as quickly as possible. In consequence, many plants are likely to get their roots severed, leaves damaged. These are very young and vulnerable plants; many will not survive, or will suffer significant setback.
The difference? Money entered the picture.
So often we hear and read the advice "Seek your passion and find a way to get paid for it." - or words along similar lines. But, in truth, is this really wise advice?
Even those things we feel most passionate about, most committed to, do they - can they - stay as pure when money enters the picture?
I think not.
As a very wise friend once put it, "I love to work. I like money. I hate to work for money."