Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The support act before architecture in Helsinki at the corner hotel-yes a melb pic for once.
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I've been thinking a lot about work lately.

I'm fortunate to have two very different jobs. Three if you include volunteer work and four if you include studying. But lets stick to the two that i get paid for. One my crapola job which is extremely laid back, and also very monotonous, not very well paid and almost anyone can do. I call it a crapola job because society devalues it, some people even go as far as thinking that they should take out all their problems on you by yelling at you, its also not particularly stimulating. The other of course is my lecturing, which is stressful, and a fairly big responsibly.

Lecturing takes a lot out of me. Not just in preparation, but also in terms of energy and the amount of time that I am thinking about it, stressing, and planning. I guess it doesn't help that I am teaching a science/maths subject to arts students. Each week is a new challenge. This week for example I have lecture notes which are too detailed. What i mean by that is there is nothing more for me to expand on, examples are already included and detailed as well. So basically i feel like I'm going to stand up there and read the lecture notes. Bloody great!

My other job in contrast gives me no stress at all. Its out of my mind as soon as I leave. In fact at the moment I find myself looking forward to it in contrast to the rest of the stressful week. I've also got some bloody great co-workers and often get paid to have all sorts of interesting conversations and/or debates (see below for example). As well as getting some studying done when its quiet.

The thing I have been thinking about is: is it worth it? If your job is interrupting you out of work hours?

The other thing is i hate the amount of presumptions that come with the question: 'what do you do for a living'? Don't get me wrong I ask that too (so i can get ideas for future occupations for me), but judging a person based on their job is just plain stupid. Some of my most interesting friends do crapola jobs (call centre operators, hospitality workers, cleaners, retail staff, taxi drivers). Their job says nothing about their passions, their music taste (highly important), about what they do outside of work (volunteer, write, cook, travel, do a martial art, blog etc)or about who they really are. Take for example an acquaintance who is very selfish and unsympathetic yet job consists of helping people as an international aid worker. I myself am also probably more interesting when I'm not studying or doing a stressful job because of course if your in a job which doesn't challenge you, you tend to look for challenges outside of work (for me learning canto among other things), am more likely to volunteer, to see more of my friends and family, to read more (i miss it!!!) and to travel. I've decided in the future to answer that question with simply my crapola job, if they discontinue the conversation it just shows how boring they are. I've also decided to adopt my friends approach and ask a different question in place of it: 'what do you like to do outside of work?'. Now that will start to reveal how interesting the person is.

Derrick Jensons (amazing writer) words also haunt me. In regard to work taking up 75% of your time and what it does to you to be in a job where you basically wish your life away?

I guess the trick is to get a job which doesn't take all your energy and certainly not more that the 75%, but at the same time you don't hate, any suggestions?


tekanji said...

Blogger has a human authenticator if spam like the above gets too annoying for you. I don't know how to find it, but I know it can be found ^^; Now if only I could find a similar plugin for WordPress....

Anyway, onto your post. I tend to ask the job question just because it's an easy, fairly neutral "getting to know you" question. Not because it reveals anything about the person, but rather can lead into other questions about what the job entails, if they want it to be their career, if they like their job/company, etc. All of those can also spiral off into other sub-categories too.

All without even getting to the other big question: "what do you like to do in your free time?" Which I ask if I talk to someone long enough, but my experience I've found that people are more reluctant to get into detail about that than their work. I still don't know what some of my casual friends do for fun because we bond more over pop-culture references than actually hanging out.

But maybe I'm just weird for needing a "small talk outline" so I don't look too rude. I can talk anyone's ear off when it comes to my pet subjects (politics, oppression, video games, etc) but just politely chatting is a skill that doesn't come naturally to me. And, I guess, if I'm the one asking the questions then I don't have to field their questions about me.

kristy said...

Tekanji, thanks for the tip, i'll check it out. For some reason it seems to be on the rise recently.

Anyway about the post, i don't have a problem with the question itself but the presumptions that come with it for some people. I know that when i answer with my crapola job it often ends the conversations, and there is almost like pity or something. I guess its more obvious to me because i've had a quite few different answers and noticed the difference in responses.

I will give the other question a go and see how it goes. My friend who uses it regularly said that most people take a second to respond (perhaps out of shock of being asked a strange question) but eventually do respond and she has found some interesting responses from people.

vince said...

hello, i'm vince, friend of Toby. The whole thing with working and how it occupies our entire life is simply dreadful. No wonder it's called an 'occupation.' And it's funny in the sense that people ask 'what d'you do for a living' when it should be 'what d'you do for survival?'

kristy said...

Hey Vince, thanks for commenting. I've never thought about the term occupation before-good point.

Perhaps I should ask what do you do for survival? I wonder how they would react.