Sunday, March 1, 2009

What a Way to Make a Living

I remember (or misremember) Joseph Campbell telling a story about hearing a father tell his son, "I've never done anything I wanted in my entire life." That's how I feel about the jobs I've had.

There are plenty of explanations for this: a desire to always have as much free time to myself as possible to indulge the interests which are more important to me than any career, childhood experiences and influences, caring about place more than income, choosing to live carfree, living in a society which doesn't reward what I value.

It's not (only) that I'm lazy and selfish--at times in my life I've loved volunteering my time rehabilitating wildlife, shelving l
ibrary books, being a zoo docent, talking with the homeless or institutionalized, teaching people about peregrine falcons, bringing in the hay. Pay me for any of those activities or many more and let me set my schedule and I'd be a happy and hard worker. Give me a society which respects the natural world and I'll respect that society and want to contribute to it instead of wanting to have as little to do with it as possible.

But I am tired, and have been for a very long time, of the 40 hour work week, much of which for most jobs is spent doing nothing, and almost all of it for every job doing nothing of importance compared to taking a walk or cooking a meal or making love or reading a book or singing a song or playing with a pet. I've never understood the people eager to trade their time for money and objects, or who are bored when not working, or who keep working after winning the lottery, or who angrily tell someone to get a job. I've never understood them, and I've hated working with them.

So I've been delighted and very fortunate that I've managed to survive the past nine years rarely working full time after spending the previous ten years working full time for one employer which ultimately left me on the edge of complete collapse. Now (an indeterminate period) is unfortunately but necessarily one of those rare times, when I'll be feeling stressed from having to spend time with mainstream people, when I'll have too little time to myself, when I'll be irritable and uncreative and weary, when I'll resent having my time wasted. Oh, poor me! Alas and alack!

All of which is only to let you know there will be very few posts coming up on this blog in the immediate future--no bat abuse, no doomsday vault, no
nutrition dvds. I've got advance copies of a couple possibly interesting books (One Square Inch of Silence, and The Thoreau You Don't Know) which I need to review for Amazon so maybe I'll copy the reviews here when I get them read. I'll try to make an occasional weekend post when the mood strikes and I'm not doing the walking and reading I intend to concentrate on in my too little free time, and ultimately the temporary (like life) job may keep the blog going a little longer than it would have lasted otherwise. Thanks for reading.

Go north, young creature.

Mari Tefre/Svalbard Global Seed Vault


Anonymous said...

Please do post your Amazon reviews when they're done.

Allan Stellar said...

Yes, I concur. Please post your reviews.

As for work? Oh, that is what we are supposed to do between walks right?

I consider myself semi-retired. I am lucky. I have a good paying job (thus far). Recently I had the opportunity to return to the full time job world. Can't do it. Don't want to. Enough...

Cheers! I hope you find yourself wanting to write and filled with enthuiasm and muse! I enjoy your writing very much.

Woodswalker said...

You have my sympathies. For years I made pretty good money sucking up to the overprivileged as a public relations writer for a posh little college. Then came the first Gulf War and America rejoiced. It made me sick. I could no longer stand to work for an institution that honored power and privilege. In 1992 I resigned and trained as a home health aide for Hospice, retiring just this year. Now, you'd think that spending one's days with the dying would be depressing. But just the opposite. I was never happier. The pay was crap but the work was beyond value. The trick is to find work like this that pays a living wage.

greentangle said...

Ww, a friend I've known for about 25 years worked a wide variety of jobs, then got her MSW a couple years ago and now does hospice work. She says though it can be difficult, she loves it. I've never worked with the dying but I've always felt more connected to the destitute than the comfortable.

A & A, I don't think I'll get to those reviews for at least a few weeks so here's a preview:

The Thoreau book would be fine for people who don't know anything about him or hold the stereotypical negative opinions of him, but I can't imagine why they'd read it. The author lists a lot of books in his notes which I think are better reads. I haven't gotten to any bigger picture material the back cover promises, but he seems to think the fact they're both free-lance writers gives him some extra appreciation of Thoreau; come back in 150 years when one of your books is considered a classic and I'll think you have something worthwhile in common. Got about halfway through and moved it to bottom of bookpile.

Just started the Silence book and am going to have to put it aside for an interlibrary loan book. Though I love silence in the natural world and have cursed many airplanes, I can't agree with the basic premise that silence is as important as species preservation, habitat restoration, toxic waste cleanup, and carbon dioxide reduction. But I like the writing style and there are some lovely nature description moments in the early pages. Looks like most of the book is going to describe his trip across country with lots of people interactions, so I don't know what I'll think of that. In the early going he reports some conversations with no indication of tone of voice or facial expression, but from them I could easily imagine the other people thinking he's a pain in the butt.