The truth is that in 50 years or so, I'll be on my deathbed, and I can guarantee you that I won't be spending the experience ruminating about my time at the office. What kind of job should I get?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (18 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I am smart, I am a professional, I've always been very good at the jobs I've held, and I hate working. Not necessarily because of the jobs themselves, but because of how time, itself, is now a scarce, commodified resource: my vacation or personal hours are always rationed or under negotiation, and often I find myself engaging in a lot of informal or emotional labor related to my work, frequently outside of working hours (i.e. usually by helping counsel other employees, or by planning holiday parties, or by revising manuscripts for publication, or by bitching about work to my SO, or by helping move to new offices).
I want out. I want my time back. I want it back so I can: nap, work on my photography projects, tour with my installation work, visit friends, volunteer at the adult ESL program, ramp up my freelance writing gigs, etcetera.*
In two years, I'll be back on the job market. Assuming all goes as planned, I will have the following qualifications, and will be looking for a job with the following characteristics:
- I will have a PhD in Communications (emphasis in cultural studies),
- with 6 years experience in business writing,
- and 6 years of experience of instructing at the university level, along with
-1-2 years experience acting as editor (supervising undergrads) at a university-published newspaper, in addition to
- experience as a photographer,
- a modest publication record (both academic and in technical/trade magazines),
- a growing exhibition history,
- basic/introductory experience in video production
- and two summer internships/volunteer stints in art museums (one fine arts, one modern art).
- I yearn to find a professional job in which I will only work 20-30 hours a week,
- though I may be willing to be flexibly on-call, if necessary,
- that offers at least partial benefits (I'll pay my own health insurance, if they'll give me paid vacation time...or some other combination thereof)
- and consists of professional, engaging, and (hopefully) creative work,
- that pays $45,000-65,000 ($100,000 would be nice, of course, but I'm being realistic) a year in my non-coastal, mid-sized city.
In a perfect fantasy world, I would be paid that much to be a special exhibitions curator at one of the smaller museums in town, or would be a program director at one of the community galleries. But I've also thought about editing positions, working for an arts non-profit, working for a community service non-profit, or one of many other hundreds of things that have, at least at the time, sounded good (I have adhd. obviously).
In some ways, what I do doesn't matter, it's the life I want: to be able to make a living in a creative or community-building field, while having enough time to just live. I'm not even going to justify this with babies – don't have them, won't have them – because I'm done apologizing. I want my time back. I want my time back so I can pursue all the projects that I've had to neglect while working for the man. I want my time back because I am going to be dead one day and don't want to spend whatever life I have left in an office.
Is this possible? Insane? If nuts, what realistic configuration can I aim for?
What should I do to position myself to make this a reality, if it's possible?
What would you do if you were trying to achieve the life I dream of?
Are there any jobs that I'm not considering, that I should?
If you are like a couple of my friends and reply with “consulting,” tell me how. How does one successfully get into consulting? (they had no answer for me...)
Or should I just give up and go down the typical road for a young, newly minted PhD?
*Also: walk the dog, make out with my partner, smoke Gauloises at Parisian sidewalk cafe, do stage design for local bands, help market the artist's co-op, deliver muffins to the Occupy protestors, host ridiculous costume parties, contribute research the neighborhood development program, sometimes adjunct, and host guerrilla urban picnics on the sidewalk downtown.
(anonymous because I am keeping my job planning under wraps)