Thursday, May 25, 2006

What to do, what to do

Let it also be known that I am working my shift at the yoga studio as I rant. Frankly, I have it pretty good. And the sun's come out again. Love love love etc.


Sadly, few things make me more energetically grumpy than discussions about employment, especially this time of year, when my friends in academia are all beginning their summers and musing about getting jobs while I am still...doing...the same...thing. So, as I said, I'm grumpy.

The idea that academics have more time off is pretty much a myth, I know. They work your ass off all year, tell you to publish a lot, but don't really allow you the time to write the stuff you're supposed to publish. Mark has administrative work coming out his ears, especially now that classes are over.

Like Francois, I think what I miss most about academia isn't studying, but just the rhythm of the year. The idea that something vaguely different happnens every three or four months.

I'm not against office jobs. Ok, I am, but mostly I'm against them for ME. Offices make me crazy. Gradschool made me crazy. I am grumpy about all forms of employment, especially whatever kind I am currently in.

To turn my comments into something more productive than my grumpy personal rant: I think that the struggle to actually make art and participate in artistic communities in the face of real economic necessity is, well, very difficult. Duh.

When I'm feeling less grumpy and more optimistic, I remember that one of the things that gave me the courage to try and be a writer was meeting other writers who were making a living in various ways (offices, bookstores, nonprofits, government, adjuncting, academia, freelancing, techies, carpenters...) and still being, primarily, writers.

Obviously, there are tolerable, even good things about most kinds of employment situations, and obviously, there are crummy things about all of them.

Uh, what I mean is that they all suck in various ways, but that each person needs to try and find the particular kind of crummy-ness that they prefer, and then go for it.

My current experiment into doing mostly freelancing work combined with some teaching is not going too badly. It might be the most tolerable employment life I've ever experienced. How exciting!


François said...

"the rhythm of the year" ... i think that was the phrasing i was going for.

Jessica Smith said...

freelancing sounds good, perhaps because it has the word "free" in it? you're right... everyone sort of has to find the "right" crumminess for themselves. i'm just not sure which crumminess i want yet; and at 26, i don't think i necessarily have to pick just *one* crumminess to stick with for the rest of my life; i can always go back to school, or whatever.

i hate the whole idea of working for someone else. i'd like to be a housewife, i think. except at the same time, *i* want a wife. someone to cook, clean, pay bills, drive the kids around. i'll just stay home and write, like a ghost.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

I admit it. I wish I were independently wealthy. Or else maybe I could have a patron. Oh, dear, that's very imperialist and capitalist of me.

I'd make a poor housewife. I just don't care about cleaning, and one couldn't have too many books on display.

Sometimes I'm a good tragic waif, but only on special occasions.

Woe woe!

Ray said...

i love MY job. but it's OVER today and i have to start a NEW job on Tuesday and who KNOWS if i'll love it, too. I'M feeling like a tragic lost waif my own self. Dickens could write many teary books about me.

I like moving jobs a lot, though. i think i'd get bored to death if i had to stay in one job for too long.

Ray said...

i don't envy the independantly wealthy people that i know. i don't think they are very happy. (although i still think if *I* had their money, oh *I'd* be *so* happy...)

K. Lorraine Graham said...

"i don't envy the independantly wealthy people that i know. i don't think they are very happy. (although i still think if *I* had their money, oh *I'd* be *so* happy...)" I couldn't agree more Ray! I don't wish I'd been born into wealth, I just wish I had it now!

It is nice to change jobs and environments every so often...