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Buddy, can you spare a dime?

by northstar at 08:43 PM on March 18, 2002

Today will not be remembered as one of my better days. The consulting firm I work for has had trouble drumming up new business since 9.11.01 (and Enron). Since operating capital doesnít grow on trees, something eventually had to give. Today that something was me. Iíve been put on a two-week ďunpaid leaveĒ. There is the (likely remote) possibility that Iíll be called back, but the reality is that Iím probably out of a job. Now, I realize that there are a lot of other people out there who are in worse shape, so Iím not going to cry in my beer. Iíll save the self-pity for later. Financially, weíll be OK for the time being, although playing golf at Pebble Beach anytime soon is looking much less likely than it did a few days ago.

What struck me today was how powerfully most of us come to identify with their chosen career. I know I do. Upon meeting someone for the first time, one of the first questions is invariably ďSo, what do you do for a living?Ē And how do we define ourselves? ďWell, Iím a neurobiochemical metaphysicist, BobÖ.Ē

Losing that connection, that sense of identity, can be a devastating thing. I suppose itís only natural when you consider how much of your life you spend getting to, being at, and coming home from work. Itís OK, though; I already have a plan in place. When someone asks me what I do for a living, Iím going to tell them Iím a freelance writer (which is a not incorrect description). Of course, Iím not actually making any money, but that seems soÖcrassly commercial. Iím all about the art. I know; itís total bullshit, but itís the best I could do on short notice. Iím not going to pretend this is going to be an easy time for me, but after today, Iím going to make a concerted effort not to feel sorry for myself.

In the meantime, anyone out there looking for a writer???

comments (3)

Yeah, I agree completly. The end.

No, wait. I know how undefined I've felt since I've been out of work. Luckily, most of the people I meet are in the same boat as me, so I've heard "I'm an unemployed BLANK" more than anything else.

But, since you deem it okay to call yourself a freelance writer, even though you don't get paid, I'll start to do the same. And really, who needs money when you love what you are doing.

I haven't gotten around to begging online for a job, I really should start using my power for good, not evil, but I don't think I'm putting my resume up here any time soon. However, if you are looking for a writer/designer/web development type person, let me know and I'll be happy to personally email you it.

by mg at March 18, 2002 9:17 PM

I can't use my profession as part of my identity. When I was in school I had a certain view as to what a Graphic Designer was, but as soon as I got a real job, I quickly realized that other people's perceptions of a Graphic Designer were a lot different than mine. I donít want to identify myself to that generic idea so I just say I work for the university, which is almost worse than just saying Graphic Designer because of the stereotypes that come with a university.

by MrBlank at March 19, 2002 4:13 PM

I actually found this site after lunching with some of our electronic production people. I posed the question of why their department seems to resent working with mine, the design department. They spewed out some pretty lame stereotypes as to why. Graphic designers (apparently) look down on their support staff. They act like prim donnas. They are superficial and materialistic. Give me a frikkin' break. What I found equally disturbing was that these stereotypes were being preached by women who were in minority backgrounds themselves. One from Japan, one who is of Chinese descent, one African-American. Now, this may be an ignorant statement, but I would think that people who claim to fight stereotypes in their own lives would be less likely to condemn others to them.

At any rate, I was also told that there are articles out there than jab fun at these stereotypes and I thought it would be interesting to find out what others' perceptions of our field are.


Have a good day all!


by AWD at December 11, 2002 3:54 PM

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