Friday, 18 July 2008

21st century angst

I think I’m having some kind of early mid-life crisis. Last night I was lying awake in bed telling myself how tired I was and how much I needed to sleep (which strangely doesn’t make you sleepy). Instead I was making lists in my head of the things I have done in my life that could be classified as work and dividing them into paid and unpaid categories.

Into the category of paid employment was:
Teaching English (as a second language).
Marketing dimsums for a Chinese business.
Taking Santa photos for David Jones (department store).
Tutoring and homework assistance.
Trade promotion (advertising, events management, speechwriting).
Teaching assistant at uni.
University instructor (media and popular culture)
Maître d'hôtel (or as it is charmingly called in the US “hostess” which means something else entirely in Australia.)
Freelance editing.
Survey research and interviewing.

Unpaid and volunteer employment:
Sub-editor for an on-line magazine.
Website coordinator/administrator.
Photo editor.
Graphic layout.
Computer trainer.

There is a definite trend here that was keeping me awake last night. In general, the things that I really enjoy doing I don’t get paid to do. In fact, having a graduate degree in mass communication tends to freak out potential employers, although it did lead to a conversation the other day that amused me. I was talking to someone about how difficult it was to find good jobs locally especially with my qualifications. Without giving me a chance to elaborate on this, she assured me that I could always go to uni, in spite of my age (and perhaps obvious deficiencies?) and get some formal training. I never got a chance to explain that it was just that -- my formal qualifications -- that seemed to preclude me from doing anything interesting.

The last few months/years I’ve been running over in my head what I should be doing with myself. I want to open a bookstore in Marburg, but that isn’t going to work while the children are still young. I’m trying to work out how to run a communications business from home – something that ties together all the things that I enjoy and at which I am good. And this is what keeps me awake at night seeing that I probably won’t be making my millions writing historical vampire romances. I’ve already abandoned the notion of making any of the Jaeckels undead.

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