Money/jobs/commitment (can't even choose a title)

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Money/jobs/commitment (can't even choose a title)

Postby Opsy » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:25 pm

Hi everyone!
I'm new here and I'd like to share my feelings about my career and my issues with the idea of having a job and earning money.

To begin with, I kind of just realized that I was a "scanner" today, after reading several articles and watching videos about it (my sister had already qualified me with this word but I hadn't dug any deeper). Most of all, I realized that it meant I should look at my life and at myself differently... That's why I'm here.
Well, how do I start ?

[Here I have to say that I wrote 20 lines of off topic biography then cut it - I'll save it for another section of the board!]
[Spoiler : the post ended up being very long anyhow ! sorry. But at least it might not be off topic :p]

So to get to the point of jobs and income :
I'm 27. After "brilliant studies" (according to the public opinion) where I explored humanities, English studies (foreign language for me), Cinema studies and Publishing - I became a comic book writer.
The work doesn't take all of my time so I do loads of other stuff (give courses at university ; volonteer work as translator, writer or graphic designer ; reading a lot ; learning new languages ; get my first dan at karate ; grow organic food...).

But.
None of the above pay my bills. It's either volonteer work or fragmented missions or artist pay (=symbolic charity). So for now I'm living on State help (thanks France here). At first I didn't care (I think a universal revenue would be an interesting thing), but now I start to feel social pressure about it. I feel the need to be independent, to have more money so I can spend without thinking about it and afford a rent without roomates (even if they're my best friends and I want them to live in the apartment across the street).
Having a paid job would also allow me to feel less pressure about my writing job and I think in the end it could help my creativity (if the job isn't too alienating).

But each time I think about a paid job I could do, it depresses me. It's like everything I find interesting and useful to the world turns out to be volonteer work. I'm also very scared of commiting to something - when I see a "full time job" offer with a contract lasting more than 3 months, I freak out. I'm like "I can't live someone else's life for so long".

So I thought about teaching - talked it through with my partner who thinks it'd suit me, and I think it would. I have a taste for transmission, I like learning/teaching/explaining things, I like foreign languages (I would teach English to French kids). Plus (big plus), teachers have holidays - during which they can do other stuff !
Also, in France, teachers in public schools are civil servants. You take a competitive exam to get into the profession and once you're there, your place is guaranteed, you virtually can't get fired. In itself it's a good thing - I think it would be a structuring element in my life.
So I'm considering this seriously now.
But.
Civil servants don't necessarily choose where they work. You get to express wishes about areas you want, but there are complex and incomprehensible calculations with a system of points and scales that determine whether those wishes are granted or not. And here we get back to the "I don't want to live someone else's life" point. Because I have no intention of leaving the place where I live, because my partner is there, and my family is there, and all the other activities I do are there - so fuck the fucking administration that would try to send me elsewhere.

So that's where I am today.
Maybe this isn't even a scanner problem. I don't know.
Maybe it's just a spoiled child problem because I just don't want to be sent out away from my confort zone - but well, it's also being sent out away from my entire life, so... maybe it's not just a caprice.
Anyway now I'm paralyzed thinking about even trying to pass that competitive exam to become a teacher, because I'm afraid of where they could send me afterwards. I could still turn the offer if it doesn't suit me but then I'd have worked to prepare the exam for nothing.

Well at least now, thanks to Barbara Sher's video about money and having a "good enough job", I've made up my mind to find something to earn money (which was still a big issue even 2 days ago), so I guess it's a progess. But I can't help to see the downside of every choice when it comes to a purely usefull and pragmatic choice. Everytime I get an idea of what I could do with myself, I end up feeling that it's going to be alienating.


Sorry for the lenght of this post.
Any thoughts about all this ? ^^"
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Re: Money/jobs/commitment (can't even choose a title)

Postby Encore » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:56 am

Hello Opsy,
Welcome to the community!
I would like to suggest an idea you may want to look into, but because it involves a specific organization I think it would be better to discuss it through private message. Please send me a "pm" if you would like to do that. Thanks!
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Re: Money/jobs/commitment (can't even choose a title)

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:20 pm

Hi, Opsy and Encore,

Opsy, Don't you get a choice as to whether you accept a teaching job or not? If they wanted to send you to Paris, for example, and you didn't want to live there, couldn't you just decline the offer and wait for something better?
Elaine Glimme - author - "Temporary Address" and "The Molly Chronicles"
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Re: Money/jobs/commitment (can't even choose a title)

Postby SquarePeg » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:50 pm

Welcome, Opsy. It seems to me, too, that the most rewarding "jobs" don't generate income. It's almost as if monetizing an activity makes it unappealing. Right now I'm wondering whether I'd enjoy participating on this message board if I got paid to do it.

All the jobs I've had (in USA) have been "at will" employment, meaning that the employee could quit at any time or the employer can fire the worker at any time.

I see two main issues in your post:
1. You perceive yourself to be a drain on society. But clearly you are not. Your volunteer work makes you a valuable member of society. So any guilt (or whatever) that you feel is not justified. Stated this way, it becomes a psychological issue.

2. Location / self-determination. The thing that holds you back for pursuing a teaching career is that you could end up somewhere undesirable. I agree -- I would be turned off from any job that requires me to go someplace that I can't pick for myself for the rest of my life. But for a limited time? It would be more of an adventure for me. If I knew that the place I'd be working is temporary, it would take the edge off this lack of self-determination. Do you think that's the case for you? If yes, what amount of time would you be willing to work at an undesirable location? If no (no amount of time at an undesirable location) might indicate another psychological issue.
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Re: Money/jobs/commitment (can't even choose a title)

Postby Opsy » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:18 am

Hi everyone, thank you for answering !

(and thank you for spending time on reading my novels ! :p)

@Elaine => Well yes, I can decline, but if I do, I "loose the benefit of the exam", which means it's as if I did not pass the exam and I have to pass it again (and still risk that I won't get a job where I want). Since this exam is quite difficult, generally requiring a year of preparation, it would be a waste of time and energy.

@SquarePeg => Your point about monetizing making things unappealing is so true ! I sometimes feel like when you're paid to do something it must be because there's a trap somewhere. But well, lately I've started to be paid to do things I really enjoyed (temporary missions) and I felt it was rewarding. Social recognition is definitely something a human being needs and sadly in our society, recognition often comes through money.

Your 2 points are relevant, though I'd make some precisions / answers :

1. You are right, there certainly is a psychological issue (I often get the impostor syndrom), but I also think that society objectively does not value the volonteer work I provide so it's difficult not to feel useless when there is no recognition from the outside.
One of the aspects of the problem may be that my author work doesn't provide recognition yet, because the publication of my first comics is planned for next january (it takes soo much time for the artists to draw the comics after I finish writing), and my volonteer work is often lonely behind a computer (translating articles for example). So these activities are kind of "off-ground" for the moment. On the other hand, when I get to do volonteer work outside (like animating workshops), it's very rewarding because I can see the impact on people. So maybe I just have to continue pushing towards this more concrete/socialized part of my activities, to get feed-back.

2. You wrote "The thing that holds you back for pursuing a teaching career is that you could end up somewhere undesirable" => in a way, yes. But in fact I think that you could also say that the only thing that pushes me towards such a career is job-security and money. Which may not be the best motivations.
About the idea of "temporary living somewhere else" : in fact, my whole life is organized around the place I lived... because I designed it this way and I like it : I live in a flat-shared artist workshop where I work with my partner (storyboarder and artist) and other artist friends, I have my family, my vegetable garden near...
All of this is more important to me than job security.
(And well, I've already lived away : 4 years in Paris studying, and realizing how I was not made to live in big sad cities!)
All in all, I think I don't want to be a teacher. In fact, to be honest, I've done everything to avoid being one, when the academic system was pushing me towards it because I was good at school so it would have been the natural path - but already being a teachers' daughter, I wanted to get out of school and reach out into the real world (somehow, school is my confort zone, and I try to push myself out of it).
I think I just sometimes get scared and think about the easiest way to feel safe (comfort zone).
Of course I like transmitting knowledge, but being a teacher is not the only way, right ?


2 things happenned this week (and made me evolve about what I said earlier on this feed) :
- I encountered an organization which makes authors work (paying them, wow!) to animate writing workshops for kids and young people. It will be quite regular work and provide a small but steady income ! (starting somewhere!) Also, I have looads of ideas for the kids. Plus, the woman in charge of the project is interested in my work, she has many contacts and could make my author career go faster. The interview with her was sort of a dream moment, everything seemed right.
- I got in touch with an interesting woman I'd met before, who has a project of creating a "third place" (sort of cultural makerspace / media lab), and I think I should join her on this project. Talking about the idea with her, I realized it could gather a lot of the points of interest I have for many years : transmitting my love for arts and media, organizing events, exhibitions, workshops... all of this in an association sharing my values, with alternative thinking and all.
I'm afraid it might be a temporary interest, I'm afraid of the difficulties of the project (I definitely have a scanner perseverance issue for some things), but I think that I don't want it to be temporary so I'm sharing it with you to make it more real and to bind myself to do it ! Here again the encounter with the woman seemed so right (we'd talked twice and she was saying things I'd been convinced of for years and never heard outside of my head).
Sooo... I don't usually believe in destiny but however these two encounters felt like a reminder of who I really want to be : a strange and hybrid creative being (and not a safe teacher).


But well, SquarePeg, you're still right, I do probably have psychological issues, especially these months, maybe the difficulty to define my own identity (personal and social identity) which makes me loose the track of who I am and who I want to be... (but if you see something else psychologically, please tell me, I may be blind to it).

To sum up (as much for myself as for you :p), the problem was that until now I was doing interesting stuff but without trying to make money out of it. I thought a regular job was the only answer but in fact there may be other ways. So my decision about the year to come is that I'm going to try to earn money out of activities I enjoy - even if they are fragmented and diverse.
Now I think the difficulty is going to be about prioritizing my activities in order not to get lost...!
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Re: Money/jobs/commitment (can't even choose a title)

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:10 pm

A couple of thoughts.

When you wrote about the two options that just came up for you, you sounded excited and interested. You said you had a lot of ideas.

When you wrote about teaching, I didn't see any real interest outside of being paid.

I taught school for a year. I found out that I am a terrible teacher. Everyone - me teachers, principals, students were relieved when I decided that this wasn't the career for me. Students deserve a teacher who's excited and interested in sharing something he/she loves with them.

Don't get me wrong - paying bills on time is a wonderful thing. But it sounds as if you have two options which will pay bills, nourish your soul, and do something good for some kids.

Good luck.
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