|Source: Kliefi, Creative Commons|
Most of the benefits of working outside the system suggested by respondents to a short survey were primarily of psychological, social and/or emotional benefit to the individual themselves. Not surprisingly these benefits are often the very converse of the drawbacks of working inside the system.
Notions of freedom, independence and being answerable only to oneself were commonly suggested as the main benefits of working outside the system. These benefits led to further plusses such as having less compromises to make and the ability to be flexible with workloads.
Perhaps because of the space that freedom and flexibility allow, a number of the respondents noted that it was easier to be creative by working outside the system rather than inside. One respondent took this a step further and suggested that there is greater opportunity to be open to the Universe. Yes! It’s hard to imagine the complexity, fullness, openness and potency of the Universe having much room to move inside many of the bureaucracies, agencies and parliaments of the World.
Of significance to the potential to effect social change by working outside the system is that there is greater chance of obtaining support of others and greater openings for quick mobilisation.
However, working outside the system is not without it’s nuisances. A sense of lack was often mentioned by respondents: lack of resources, lack of credibility, lack of funds and lack of access to decision-makers. Even when relationships have been built with decision-makers the system often moved people on so that the opportunity to maintain those relationships is reduced.
A significant impediment to working for social change outside the system is that of being sabotaged by factionalism. One only has to think back to the disputes of the 1970s and 80s as to which form of oppression was pre-eminent: race, class or sex. Into that factionalised melee was also thrown environmentalism, gay rights, animal rights and even the peace movement. Thankfully the recognition of inter-connection has allowed for a less flammable holistic social change movement. The system still wishes to stir up embers and fan the flames of factionalism though. Working for social change means having to be ever vigilant about ensuring to not get caught in forms of factionalism.
So, is it any better to work outside the system? There certainly appears to be advantages for the individual in terms of their well being, but it is not without it’s frustrations, limitations and potential discord.
The final, third, part of this posting will explore the effectiveness of working inside or outside the system. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts related to the pros and cons of working for social change outside the system then please add your comments.
Part 1 of this series suggested some things to consider regarding the pros and cons of working inside the system.