Getting work, keeping work, quitting work

ghost ranch 2011 012 Getting ready to go to New Mexico

One of the first questions kids get asked is what they’re going to do when they grow up. They start in on their dreams, “Princess, fairy princess, astronaut, cowboy, policeman, fireman.” There are lot of professions you don’t hear kids raising their hands and saying they want. Those include: Proctologist, urologist, even gynecologist doesn’t come up much with kids, also you don’t hear factory worker, miner, bartender, condom designer.

There are a lot of things kids just don’t know about.

Jobs that I would have liked: Designing puzzles. Writing greeting cards. Landscape designer. Sailing. Professional swimmer.

Jobs I would have sucked at: Designing clothes—looks exciting but would probably be really annoying to me. Decorating houses. Teaching K-12. The medical profession in general. I have immense respect for people in this profession. But I am not good around sick people. Also dentistry, psychiatry and being a therapist. Not my skill set.

I wonder very much about having decided to be a writer. It doesn’t pay well, so it’s hard to pay the bills and working in publishing isn’t a box of chocolates either.

People who have jobs that they don’t like often think that their jobs do not affect who they are. You happen to work at a garage or a bar or a factory, or even as a topless dancer, but you are still your real self. I like it when writers say, My day job is working at this or that, but what I write is CNF or Fiction or Poetry or Plays. I like that idea of identifying yourself by what you write not by what pays the bills.

But people who like what they do or people that do one of those well paying jobs are quick to tell you what they do: Lawyer, doctor, banker, executive at major technology company, if you do any of those jobs, brag about it, step right up and say what it is you do. People will be impressed.

It’s better to choose a job based on who you want to be and what you want to do not what impresses other people.

I’ve tried this myself: I work publishing and I’m a writer. Nobody gets bowled over.

Which brings me to another point. We choose work for a variety of reasons:

1. Your job is in your family.
2. You want to make a lot of money.
3. You couldn’t find anything else to do.
4. You wandered into this kind of job.
5. You quit your job and now you’re desperate.
6. You lost your job and now you’re desperate.
7. You had to move to a new place because you’re significant other got a job there.
8. You’re bored so you choose a job randomly.
9. That’s the kind of job available in your neighborhood.
10. Or the best reason to choose work, because it’s what you want to do. Because it makes you happy to get up in the morning. Because you feel you can make a difference in the world and feed your family too.

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Published in: on July 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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