Freewill Slavery

In my quest for self-betterment, I’ve experienced a few startling revelations. Most about me. A few about others.

Let me start with a little bit about my worldview in regards to employment in America. This is actually my worldview for employment in any non-socialist, free market economy, but I’m most familiar with America.

Warning: these are highly conservative and potentially controversial views and may cause heartburn and apoplexy. Read at your own risk. 

One, employers have the right to pay whatever salary they want. You heard me. I’m a working class gal who doesn’t resent my bosses for being bossy.

If I don’t like what I make, I renegotiate my pay or I change jobs. I believe it’s possible to make a better life for myself if I want it. It’s getter harder and harder to prove this, what with all the folks screaming that the government is responsible for everything from the price of gas to the food in your child’s lunchbox, but I still believe my life is my responsibility, your life is your responsibility and if we all took our responsibilities seriously, the world would be a better place in general.

Two, if I choose to remain in my job, it is my duty to do it well. Not just when I’m happy. Not just when I’m getting paid what I think I’m worth. All the time. Every day.

Have I always done this? No. Far from it, in fact.

I get discouraged/ fed up/ annoyed/ whatever just like anybody else. I have days when I’d rather rip the phone out of the wall than answer one more question or set the filing cabinets on fire rather than slide one more piece of paper into its little folder.

But I try to keep View 1 in mind. If I choose to work at a certain place, I’m agreeing to do my best. I am not justified in behaving badly because my mood is off or I think I might be getting a raw deal. My option at that point is the mature option: renegotiate or get out. I don’t have the right to become a jerk.

In The Duke’s Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad, Kee chooses to become a slave. She doesn’t behave like the other slaves. She works harder. She looks for ways to be helpful. She takes initiative and attacks her chores with her whole heart. She wears the slave bands, but for her, they aren’t shackles. They’re jewelry – shiny proof of her love and willingness to serve.

It’s hard to be that freewill slave. Most people in the world think of themselves as victims of fate. They allow attitude to color action. They refuse to accept responsibility for the one thing they can control – their attitude. Any parent knows the difference between a job done and a job willingly done.

I’m no master of attitude yet. I doubt I ever will be. But my studies are teaching me the tremendous power of a positive attitude in a stinky situation. It opens my eyes to previously hidden opportunities. It opens my heart to unexpected avenues of gain. Rabbi Lapin suggested it in Thou Shall Prosper. “First build the tunnel. The traffic will follow.”

I’m digging, rabbi. We’ll see what I uncover.

How about you? Have you ever seen the power of a positive worldview? Have you taken your victimhood and turned it into self-mastery?

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

15 comments on “Freewill Slavery

  1. I have seen firsthand what changing victimhood into victory can do in a life. It’s what God specializes in. But it all starts with a choice…much like everything else. Great post, Princess Turtle.

    LOVE The Duke’s Handmaid! 😀

  2. I haven’t read The Duke’s Handmaid yet. I’ll have to add it to my TBR pile!

    Great post, though, Robynn. So very poignant. Yes, I am all about a positive attitude and giving 100% at whatever you do. Like you said, though, I def don’t excel at this all the time, maybe like 50-50. lol… But I’m working on it–I’m growing, constantly changing–my life in perpetual motion toward God’s glory. 🙂

  3. That is a great book. I got the second one, Iron Bars, for Mother’s Day.

  4. I have always been fortunate to work somewhere that I truly wanted to work. The job I have now simply amazes me. Most days (I, like everyone else, have “off” days) I am in wonder of what I get to do – I am there to be of service to my co-workers, I help them w/mundane items that gives me wonderful satisfaction to do and I GET PAID for it! How much cooler can THAT get? As you have said, if I don’t like it – I can leave. What a wonderful place we live in!

  5. I’m glad you ladies remembered to bring God into it. I started writing this so late, when I went for scripture references and found enough to fill a small devotional, I apparently decided to leave Him out entirely! So not my intention.


  6. My Dearest Turtle,

    Long ago someone told me,” When you do a job,do it like you were doing it for the Lord.” I have always tried to live up to that, I’m not saying that I have always made the mark, but it wasn’t because I didn’t try. I have always worked in jobs of servitude, except one and I dearly hated it. Even at that, I did my utmost to do the very best job I could. I have been called every name you can think of because I never had it in me to do a half a__ job. I take pride in doing the best job that I know how to do.That doesn’t mean it was the best, just the best I knew how to do.

  7. I am reading Iron Bars now..time is so limited in the summer. We live on a farm and FARM….husband does the big tractor stuff and I do mowing and gardening, both veggie and flower. When turtle has time she helps. I have read the first book and saw the self sacrificing of Kee immediately….NOW, she was not quite that submissive UNTIL she fell in love. At that point she turned into what women are supposed to turn into for their mates, submissive and kind and loving. Her natural bend was to go over the top and to excel so it just seemed to double when she was doing it for someone she loved. It is an interesting book and the second one is drawing me in slowly. I am the type of reader who HATES suspense and will read the end of the book first if something starts to happen I don’t like and if I don’t find the ending I want, down goes the book. I read for enjoyment not to get my juices flowing to the bubbling point. I am reading it on my NOOK so thumbing through to see if certain persons survive is not all that easy, but I have read the end but it did not give me the information I am seeking so I may have to message Caprice and beg for the facts I seek, or I could just continue reading. Turtle says I am a bit impatient. Hum…oh well, good post babe and I will attest to the fact that you are changing and blossoming.

  8. LOL at Sammy. Now why would you want me to SPOIL my own book? Feel free to ask, but I reserve the right to remain silent if necessary. Wow, Robynn, you brought my book(s) into a real-life discussion and didn’t even push me to go look.

    I too have had some crummy, tedious jobs. In college, I was assigned to work in the dishroom of the cafeteria. I had to see the “finished” trays after college students were done eating. And let me tell you, some people are not just content to leave some uneaten food on their plates, but to make a big mess of it. It was my job to pull the silverware out of the muck (frankly, there’s just no other word to describe it) , sort it, and put it in a rack to go through the industrial conveyor dishwasher. With my bare hands. For hours and hours at a time. And the room was steamy and not air conditioned.

    But I needed that job. Not just /A/ job. I needed THAT job. Because a month into the semester, I found out that my scholarships and loans were not enough to cover what I still owed on room, board, and tutition. I had to sell back my meal plan to stay in school, but because I worked at the cafeteria (and not at the library, where everyone told me I should have transferred because it was “easier”) I still had a way to eat once a day. And when I saw 1) How the Lord had given me just the right job I needed and 2) How really great the people I worked with were (*waves to Johne Cook*) then everything turned around. And I do mean everything. I now see that job as the best experience I had in college. There is only one person from my college days who did NOT work in that cafeteria who is still in contact with me, and it’s very limited. We’re talking people who live in other states that I haven’t seen in 20+ years, but with whom I share a special bond, having worked in the job everyone thought was a nightmare. And with the wrong attitude, it was.

    Anyway, I’m glad my book(s) had something to add to this topic, but you made a lot of good non-fiction-related points too. I wholeheartedly agree that the government does not need to be our nannies. I’m even opposed to the minimum wage concept. It’s destroyed entry-level jobs for young people and it’s only made the under-the-table payment system more prolific. It shouldn’t be illegal to give a high school student a part-time job at lower pay if s/he agrees to it.

    Okay, enough of my soapbox. Great post, Robynn! Sorry I took so long to see it.

    • I’m a sneaky turtle. hehe!

      I would ask you to give mom the info she seeks. She’ll pester me for it, otherwise, and I haven’t read the sequel yet AND I’m willing to let it unfold. She can’t handle suspense. Really.

      My first draft of this post included my thoughts on minimum wage (same as yours, btw), but they took me too far afield of my original concept so I scrapped them. Besides, I have other blogs for that kind of old-fashioned thinking in this new age world. 😀

  9. Robynn, Great attitude kudos from someone who worked in food services too (and also took my turns in the dishpit as needed)!

    I’m pretty sure we didn’t go to school together, but y’know; God bonds all of us dishpit workers together–wherever we may be found! LOL..

    I really respected the guys who usually ran the dishpit. It was heavy-duty hard work, and they sure didn’t get a lot of attention or applause for it, but they did SUCH a nice job! When I found myself running it with a friend before they got back to school a time or two, we tried to live up to their standards by making sure that all the dishes came through spotlessly clean.

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