Two Years of Freedom
From Wage Slavery

Dateline: 31 January 2015

Seeing as new readers come to this blog all the time, I think I will make it a point, every year on this day, to note the anniversary of my deliverance from wage slavery.

It was on this day two years ago that I literally walked out of a maximum security state prison and into the free world of homestead-based self employment.  I had been working part time for 13 years to develop the business, and by the grace of God, it prospered enough that I felt I could get out of that place. 

I posted a blog describing my prison job (and my feelings about it) back in 2007 (Click Here to read it). That was all I had to say about my non-agrarian day job for 8 years of blogging as The Deliberate Agrarian, until two years ago when I announced my break (Click Here to read it). Those two links tell the story of my journey from wage slavery to freedom. I continue to marvel at how it all played out.

There are people who are employed by others and love their jobs. They do not think of themselves as wage slaves. That is good and fine. But I have never been such a person. As far back as I can remember, I have wanted the freedom and responsibility of self employment. 

I started my first business as a chimney sweep when I was 20 years old (Click Here to read it). Later on, I was self-employed as a remodeling contractor. There were several other smaller business ideas and endeavors along the way. So I've been self-employed before, but none of the past business ideas met with a sufficient degree of success.

My point in celebrating this anniversary of personal freedom from wage slavery is to declare that if I can do it, others can certainly do it too!

In fact, as technology takes over more and more jobs, and unemployment numbers go higher and higher, I think it is incumbent upon people to think more seriously about making their own jobs, not looking to find a job working for someone else. 

If you have a strong desire to have your own business, pursue the dream in a logical, step-by-step process.  Start in your spare time while working a wage slave job. Invest your time and money (without going into debt) into learning new skills and acquiring tools that will help you break free. 

In one of the links above I say that if I were to write a book about my personal journey from wage slavery to home-business freedom, I would title it: "Pray. Work. Wait." 

Those three words were the key to my freedom.


Gorges Smythe said...

Congratulations! For reasons that I won't go into, my life has gone the opposite direction. I USED to be self-employed.

buddeshepherd said...

Interesting to see this post. I just checked the job postings for a local college in hopes of a groundskeeping job so my daughter can attend college.. Being self employed since 1990 has brought me neither a retirement income nor vast savings. It has encouraged my eccentricity and shown me that have little business sense and that if you do your best to help your neighbors and treat people well they will surely come to expect it...
I'm just not sure I'm ready for another boom-bust cycle in farming.

Herrick Kimball said...


Sorry to hear it. I had my own business as a contractor for over ten years, then went to work for others for 14 years before the move back to self employment two years ago. So I can relate. The bottom line is that we do what we have to do in order to keep the bills paid and food on the table. There is certainly no shame in working for someone else. If you desire to be self employed again, don't lose sight of the dream.

Herrick Kimball said...


I assume that by having a job at the college your daughter can go for free? That is a good benefit and I know some parents that have done that.

If you are going to earn more money to pay for the college, that is a noble objective. Many parents assume the responsibility of paying all or part of their children's higher education. I used to work with a man who had well over $100,000 in bills to pay for his two children's college educations. He will be working in the prison system for a long time yet.

I don't think I would ever have been able to leave my state job if I had assumed debt for my children's education. They're on their own when it comes to that.

Here's hoping you get the job. Farming is a wonderful way of life, but a very hard way to make money on par with so many industrial-world jobs.

David The Good said...

I can't imagine you as an employee of FedGov, Inc.

Glad you're out.

As for my own children's education, since I've rarely seen anything of value come from the modern college system, I'm not sending them. They're working with me in the plant nursery and learning solid skills that will put them head and shoulders above the proletariat.

Unknown said...

I have found that God does indeed answer prayer, but it also depends on how long you are willing to wait for the RIGHT answer. All too often people don't wait, and that is a big mistake. Waiting is so very important, and keeping your eyes on any new instruction is number one. The new information almost always sets the record straight for us to proceed. I love how He shows us what is missing or wrong, and when fixed or changed, we are ready for a new adventure. He is always with us, and never lets us down.
Congratulations! Wow, 2 years of freedom! (how sweet it is)

Elizabeth L. Johnson said...

I am so glad for you, Herrick! I homeschooled 3 children for 22 years, and afterward having absolutely no education to fall back on, didn't know what I was going to do, except to pray. I had a few jobs in the next year. None of it was for me. I've been happily self-employed, by myself since 2008. And I love it!

Unknown said...

Congratulations Mr. Kimball. Indeed, a solid accomplishment.
Something you said a few times in the past, and I apologize if I don't phrase this correctly, about a big shakeup in your faith and/or about yourself caused you to rethink what you were doing and start over. It resonanted with me. I hope you don't mind if I share a bit of my story here.
Last January I began to plan a celebration of 25 years as a Registered Nurse. I had worked hard to put myself through school. I started when I was 23 going part time while working in a factory. After several years of this I was able to secure a scholarship and completed my university degree. While I didn't have big student loans, I did owe the U.S. military eight years. So I started my nursing career as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
After completing my commitment, I became a civilian again and I have had a decent career. That is until I moved back to New England over six years ago.
Anyway, I admit to being proud that I had stayed in nursing and was planning to continue for an unknown length of time. I wanted my friends and family to celebrate this with me this past summer. Without boring you all to tears, I no longer work as a nurse, nor did I ever get to celebrate my achievement last summer. It was heartlessly ripped from me in a bizarre and somewhat incomprehensible act by my former supervisor. While I certainly longed for the day of being retired or self sufficient, I didn't plan for it to happen this way. I think I was too proud.
I had the one thing I was reasonably good at, stolen from me. I could start over, in my chosen field but as I alluded earlier, since moving here my career has disintegrated...slowly. And I have chosen not to re-enter a field that no longer makes any sense to me. I find myself employed on my homestead. I am in a good place in my heart and head and soul. But it has been a long, painful ten months.
Being my own boss, partnering with my husband is good. Living in fear of what a corporate boss may do to me or having other people decide for me the course of my life is no longer an acceptable way to live.
If our world tilts this October, as Mr. Armstrong predicts, I will be sad but hopefully prepared.
Thank you for all that you give us and the example of a fine man that you are. We are a lucky bunch to be included in your world.
Pam Baker

Herrick Kimball said...

Dear Pam,

Thanks for writing this comment. I like it when readers share something about their life experiences and what they are doing.

You are correct in remembering that I had a personal crisis (defeat, financial loss, depression, etc.) that was difficult to deal with at the time, but it humbled me and altered the course of my life for better. In retrospect, the bad experience was actually good.

Though not exactly the same, ours is a kindred experience, and I'm glad to know that your story (condensed to a few paragraphs) ends well—that you are embracing the positive and counting your blessings.

Nursing is such a noble profession but I can see where it can also be a very difficult job. And it is probably more difficult now than it was years ago, with all the changes that are taking place with the government takeover of health care.

Even if the world does not tilt this October, it sounds to me like you are in a better, wiser place.

Sincere best wishes,

Herrick K.

Herrick Kimball said...


We think alike. College trains people to be high-earning wage slaves. To some degree, it has become a money-making racket. Besides that, it does a remarkably good job of stripping the faith from kids raised in a Christian home, turning them into atheists, pagans, secularists, etc. That alone is, in my mind, reason enough to look for other educational options.

I think a hands-on entrepreneurial education is better, but not all that easy to accomplish. You are doing a good thing by teaching your children solid skills.

On the other hand, everyone is different and there are people who seem naturally inclined to do things that require a college education. Doctors and nurses come to mind.

Thanks for your comment.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Sheila,

Agreed. God always answers prayer. And "wait" is often the answer. And oftentimes "no" is the answer. God knows best, of course, and we need to be in tune with His plans, not expect Him to endorse and support our independent plans and expectations. Thanks for the comment.

Herrick Kimball said...


First, let me congratulate you for 22 years of homeschooling your children! That is a great accomplishment and, in my opinion, the best "career course" any mother can take. It's more than a career course, it's an important calling and ministry. I know this because my wife did the same thing.

As for being happily self employed for the past seven years, that's an encouraging word, but kind of a teaser. Can you share what it is you are doing?

Eileen said...

Thank you for this encouragement. After walking through leukemia treatment with our young daughter and coming out on the other side in June, we began pursuing our dream of living in the country. We found very few acreages we could afford in driving distance (30 to 40 minutes) from my husband's job. We looked at land and building. Even more expensive unless we live in a trailer (which is nothing to be ashamed of, but not what we wanted). We looked at increasing our loan amount. It then hit me that we would be "sentencing" my husband to his current job until retirement if we went that route. When our daughter was in chemo treatment we were happy for the job and insurance, but parts of his job are incredibly stressful and decrease his overall quality of life. Instead, we decided to stay in our little suburb house (which we aren't far from paying off)and work on increasing his side business for a year. I know you aren't a big fan of intensive gardening methods, but when you only have a couple small patches of soil that get any sun it is worth a try. Going to redouble my effort to grow what I can in my little patches of dirt and in containers, and hopefully add a few chickens this year. Possibly create a couple of worm composting bins. Happy you have found your niche.

Anonymous said...

When leaving my employed by others position ~20 years ago, a job that may have been OK for someone not me, I couldn't help but think to MLK's refrain -

"Free at last, free at last, thank GOD ALMIGHTY I'm free at last"

and I meant it.

I imagine leaving the prison system to be similar.


Herrick Kimball said...

Appropriate words. I thought of that phrase often, and I remember saying it out loud a few times.