Get a real job


Sometimes posting feels more like work than I like. I’d like to change that, so I’m going to try to be more spontaneous like I was at the beginning.

I used to have a real job and I had devised specific ways of approaching specific tasks. I believed in investing the maximum amount of effort (effort, not necessarily time) for each task depending on its importance. This blog is important to me (hence the extra effort) because I am semi-retired and working from home, so I see virtually no one any more. It’s also important because, well, no one at work really knew me, and I hope you will come to know me if I write often enough and can convince you to come back from time to time

When I first started posting, it was with a flush of mood and memories that needed to come out after being straight-jacketed at work. Unless I am in one of those moods, needing to rant or remember, or have new work to show, I tend to approach writing like it’s work—impersonal work. Statistics, links, graphics, lucidity… I guess I miss my job, because this is not what I expected from blogging. I expected freedom, release, connection.

Today I wanted to write about a NY Times article on how the recession has hurt artists. There were lots of statistics, and I thought statistics were a good way to show the hurt.

Here’s a better way to show how hurt artists are these days. My sales have dropped dramatically in the last couple years. I have begun to doubt if I should continue to make things that accumulate dust and fill up the little wall space I have left to get them off the floor.

I still love working, but I, like a lot of actors, writers, dancers and musicians, am not making the kind of money I once made “in the business.” That’s okay, I don’t think I should automatically be rewarded for self expression. And I knew when I retired that I would have to supplement my pension. But I’m wondering if the internet is so saturated with art, text, and music that there’s no need to pay for it any more. That’s a real possibility. So…

What if all the independent artists who aren’t actually earning a living at it—writers, painters, musicians, filmmakers and dancers— all quit and got a “real job?” Take away all the self-employed artists you read, watch, listen to, and look forward to each day. What’s left? It’s a question worth asking if art as a profession is less possible now than ever.

2 thoughts on “Get a real job

  1. Sometimes I think it would be a relief to get a “real job” – then all my art could be to please me and only me. I wouldn’t have to wonder any more who would want to buy it or how to market it. I’m pretty sure that even if I had a “real job” I would still be making art in my spare time – I just wouldn’t have to push it out into the world anymore…

    Hopefully there would still be folks communicating about the process, even if we all did get “jobs”.

  2. HI Mary… You are one of the most prolific artists I know! I’m sure you could handle the strain of working and making your beautiful jewelry. And yes, I know what you mean. I create because of an inner drive.

    But imagine what would happen if, without a source of income, artists of all kinds HAD TO quit and go to jobs the current economy would support. In that fantasy, I imagined that the public would roundly miss the lack of beauty, pleasure, and stimulation they now take for granted every day. A bit sarcastic, for sure, and a bit of “what-if.” 🙂

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