Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I don't want a job! Film at eleven.

Kirk responded to this entry, and I'd like to address some of the issues he brought up.

Unjobbing? I don't get it. isn't it good that someone takes away your garbage once a week? Jobs seem kind of a necessary thing to me, and certainly not a bad thing. (Not that jobs = bad was stated explicitly, but it seemed to be implied.)

I do find these entries interesting, but inevitably there are things in life that are not lofty pursuits yet are undeniably necessary.

I never said anything about lofty pursuits. In fact, I am talking about quite the opposite, at least in one way of looking at things.

I will talk about my definition of unjobbing, but can't speak for the author of the book, because it made me very angry in ways I haven't figured out or dealt with yet. It may be unfair of me to use the term, but I already have and I like to be consistent. (I also haven't got a better term.)

You infer that "jobs = bad" which, in the most simplistic way of taking my meaning, is what I meant, but it isn't the entirety of what I was talking about. I also was only saying that jobs were bad for me. I don't speak for the other six billion people.

One thing from Unjobbing that I really, really agreed with was the job does not equal work, and vice versa. Work is, and should be, the use of your talents. It should be an activity that you get something out of. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is an activity you enjoy, strictly speaking, but that you are rewarded, in one way or another, for your efforts. I do not mean a monetary reward. That is separate.

Some people, like myself, are inclined toward creative work. I personally do not want one of the so-called creative jobs out there. I want to actually be creative, which I find rewarding. I also want to eat, so I am trying to figure out ways that I can put my talents to use and receive additional (monetary) rewards for them. This might include freelance writing, volunteering at events (which, in past experience, is the best way to "network" - meet people who might have helpful ideas for me), and crocheting. Yes, I said crocheting. No, I haven't worked out the details of that one yet.

Here is an example: I consider the things I do at Buffyguide to be work. I enjoy helping Jamie with the episode guide (though I've been terribly lax about it), I like participating in the forums, and I feel useful enforcing the forum rules. Yes, there are times when it feels like a soul-sucking job. But I have no set hours, and there are few expectations for me to meet (that matter - I'm not talking about other users' expectations), and I can leave for a week if I want to, or ask someone else to take care of a problem, and no one will think less of me or discipline me, nor am I likely to get "fired." The downside to having this work that I enjoy doing is that it does not, and will never, pay money. I still do it, though, because I like it and it is a good experience. I haven't asked Jamie if it's all right, but it occurs to me that I could probably even put it on my resume.

I look at the work I do at Buffyguide, the work I am doing to put up my new website, and the work I do at home (whether it is laundry, writing, or cooking) as equally valid, fulfilling forms of work. It happens that I am not being paid for any of them*, which means that I am a jobless loser (not your words, Kirk, a generalized stereotype). I, however, look at them as a template for future work, and hope that some of that will eventually bring along income as a perk.

*The fact that I have a partner who is willing to pay the bills while I pursue my dreams is more than payment for any of the less agreeable tasks, and an unbelievable bonus for the ones I enjoy.

Some people, not very much like me, are technically inclined. Some are service-oriented (which I think might just be another word for "people person"). Some are very strong. The list goes on. I think that if people were offered fair hours (possibly flexible, depending on the sort of work), fair pay, and a friendly environment, they would still choose to do "undesirable" work. Do I think anyone's first choice is to be a garbage collector? Not really. But on the other hand, it is a city job, which means that there are fantastic benefits. I can easily imagine person X taking a part-time job for the city, collecting trash, in exchange for more time at home with his/her family and medical insurance to boot. In fact, in some respects it sounds like a better job than office work.

If wanting time to be oneself, to enjoy one's family, and to simply be are lofty pursuits, then that it what I am talking about. But if a lofty pursuit is Rock Superstar or Media Mogul, I say "No thanks."