Monday, July 1, 2013

How to earn a living

I really don't like my job.  Changing that has to be a priority.  I hate jobhunting.  I hate the pompous people who tell me I'm wrong to hate it, that I should just think of it as pursuing the things that interest me.

So, what's a better way to earn a living? There are so many things that I'm interested in, one would think it would be easy to find a better way to earn a living.  But it's not so simple.  The things that bring me joy are things that I enjoy in small doses.  Doing them at a professional level would be a completely different thing.  I love physical activities like dancing, skiing, and rollerblading, but I have limited stamina.  I don't enjoy doing them for more than an hour or two at a time.  I also don't have  professional level of skill in these areas, and would not enjoy the hard work needed to develop such skill, since the demands would exceed my stamina.

For a number of years, I've felt a desire to learn to play harp and/or hammered dulcimer.  But I haven't even begun to learn, so I don't foresee it being something I could earn a living at until I'd had years of practice.  And even if I was skilled at playing one of those instruments, a lot of people who play them have day jobs.  Even skilled people often can't earn their living at it.

I like to do some things related to organizing, like organizing nature walks or volunteering at festivals.  I think doing something like this could be some part of my paid work, but I wouldn't want it to be the whole thing.  There are so many aspects of organizing that I don't like, such as outreach and financial management.  Also, there are times when I just get tired of being around people.  Interacting with people is like physical activity -- fun only in small enough doses.

So it seems to me that where I want to earn a living is in something that involves working with information: reading, writing, compiling, making lists, working with databases, looking stuff up, analyzing data.  These are the activities that I can do for hours and not get tired of.  These are the activities where I believe I can grow, to increasingly develop skills.

This is not a new insight.  I have thought for years that this is the area to look toward in figuring out how to earn a living.  I've been looking to this area for years.  I've looked into many different kinds of jobs in this area, only to conclude that each type of job I look at isn't really right for me.  My latest thought is to be something like an archivist or librarian, maybe at a state library.  I haven't yet rejected this latest idea, but I'm not entirely excited about it either.

So, I've spent years looking into careers related to working in information, and I didn't find anything that I got excited about.  Does this mean that I am looking in the wrong direction?  It does look that way.   But on the other hand, I do see that I do have an enduring interest in working with information.  I see that for whatever activity I'm involved in, I'm drawn to things like compiling lists, looking up information, keeping records, and writing summaries.  There are things that excite me that I can only handle in small doses.  If I'm going to earn a living at something, I don't want it to be something that gives me small doses of excitement.  I want it to be something that I can focus on for hours a day.  And maybe that sort of thing just is not as flashy and exciting as the small dose things.

Working with information is  not just working with information for its own sake, it's using information toward a certain purpose.  So maybe thinking about working with information just for the sake of information is not exciting, but maybe it would be more exciting if I were thinking about doing it for a particular purpose.

I do feel a passion for getting information out to people.  I feel a passion for not telling people what to think, but for helping them become informed, and teaching them critical thinking.    The NPR story Reactions to Gay Marriage Rulings Run the Gamut includes a quote from someone who says, " What the Bible says about marriage is one man and one woman....I don't think truth changes through the years."  I am disturbed by the ignorance in the statement.  For one thing, marriage in the Bible includes polygamy.  For another thing, clearly things do change.  In the Bible, they had slavery.  We don't approve of that any more.  Freedom of religion is important in our country.  If there are people who have a religious belief in monogamous heterosexual marriage, they should have the right to practice that religious belief, just as others with different beliefs should also have the right to practice their beliefs.  My goal is not to change people's religious beliefs.  My goal is to give people the ability to draw their own conclusions in an informed manner.  The person making the above statement clearly was not informed.

So I want to do something about giving people the opportunity to learn, whether I'm a librarian, archivist, writer, journalist, educator, outing organizer, or presenter of music and dance (presenter could be musician, dancer, DJ, festival organizer, etc.).

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