Sunday, January 18, 2015


I like to complain as much as the next person, especially if the next person is, like, a huge complainer. But it is hard to find much purchase when I want to complain about my blog. I think this has to do with my super non-professional status. Everything I do here is just so glaringly optional. If I'm going to be carrying on about the difficulties of the brutal seven day a week writing deadline I'm on, I'm very aware of that sharp voice that will be there to shrug, and narrow its eyes, and say "So write a post every three days then."  In the end I just don't have much to say back to that. "Oh, right, yes, Mr. smart guy, but then my blog will only be like, um, an every, um, three days blog, I guess."

Not that that sharp voice there isn't a bit of a jerk, because he totally is.

Professionally, what I am paid for is my job as a library clerk. And if I complain bitterly about having to work most days of the week at the library, or I complain about all the time it takes, or the hierarchy, or how boring it can occasionally be, there might still be a voice to say "So, don't do it. No one is making you." But I have plenty of answers to that: I have to eat. I need money. I have to make a living!

 I suppose there are all kinds of clever, complicated ways to approach life in order to make an end run around the bulk assertiveness of money: pigs in the backyard, creative acquaintances with dumpsters, crafty engagements with craigslist, etc., but none of them are likely to improve my quality of life in any real way, nor do I seem terribly suited to them. Likewise there are, theoretically, all these spiffing jobs out there that, if I were just an amazing enough person, I could do in order to be super fulfilled in my work life. If I were to believe all the magazines and books that come through my library, and all the social media I'm always crashing into on the Internet, some 80 percent of everyone is doing incredibly valuable, engaging, fun, well-compensated work. The great jobs are out there. Go get them.

Many years ago I read a great book by Studs Terkel, called Working. It's basically people's accounts of their jobs and how those jobs are for them, how they feel about their jobs. I hope I don't get this foggy memory of the book too wrong, but the way I remember it there were like two people in the whole fat book who were just totally engaged by and thrilled with their jobs. The other two hundred emphatically weren't. I wonder how much has changed in the 40 or so years since that book came out. I don't know. I hope it's better for people. Mostly I suspect that feelings are pretty similar underneath, but everyone is selling themselves so hard these days, everyone is self marketing so passionately that it might be harder to get down to it.

What? You're more interested in my personal experience than my idle speculation? Okay. My job is a cruel grind and a modest pleasure. Good and bad and it puts me in the 99%.

My blog? Oh, that's not a job. It's more like a little fire.

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