I Work Hard For the Money, So Hard For It, Honey

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I work in accounting. I don't hate it, and I'm good at it (unexpectedly), but it's not what I really want to do. Are you doing what you want to do? Do you like your job?

-- Kymm Zuckert (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), August 17, 2000


Last year I got hired for my dream job -- special events director of a performing arts organization -- and I love it and I'm good at it. But the thing about getting one's dream job is that after one gets it is the realization that it's still a job, which means work and frustration. I'm not whining -- God knows you'll find thorns in a bed of roses -- and the pluses (like association with the artists, working six blocks from home, and a party atmosphere which is essential as air to me) outweigh the minusus (indifferent health care, frantic hours, and more difficulty in scheduling a personal life).


-- Robert (rbdimmick@earthlink.net), August 17, 2000.

After ten years of moving in and out of retail management and working for a subscription agency, and due to the grace of a dear friend, I finally landed a full-time job working in the arts (marketing for a professional theatre). I'm about to leave that job and become the marketing director for a symphony. I'm working full-time in the arts, which is what I've always wanted...to a degree.

I work in marketing. I want to work artistically. But without the M.F.A. I don't have or the experience I don't have, that's not going to happen. So I'm close...but not close enough. I don't really like marketing. It's too close to sales. But I'm good at it...so here I am.

What do I really want to do? Full time mom.

Kind of need kids and a husband with a good income for that, though. :-)

-- Melissa (centerbeth@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

I'm fresh out of a meeting discussing what is wrong with my job, so I'm not feeling all that positive about my situation.

I'm a webmaster. It's not something that I planned to be. There are many aspects to my job that I enjoy. There are always new challenges to be met and new things to learn, and that is very important to me. Unfortunately, no one in a position to do so has a cohesive vision of what we should be doing, and the web tends to get short shrift. We've put all of our publications online, so TPTB must think the web a worthwhile thing, but you couldn't tell that by watching us in operation. It is disheartening, to say the least.

I don't think that often about being my own boss, although that does have some appeal. I just want to work for someone who understands the amount of work I do, appreciates my efforts, and takes the time to let me know that. I would enjoy my job so much more if that were the case.

-- Laura (windmills@diaryland.com), August 17, 2000.

i'm a librarian. i love being a librarian. for the most part, i love my job. however, right now, we (the workers) are having a real hard time with our managment. we are underpaid, underappreciated,overworked, and just basicly being jerked around. i'm very bitter over the fact that i may eventually see no recourse but to leave a job where i've been for the most part happy for almost 14 years, because of that sort of crap.

-- nicole (nicolemrw@go.com), August 17, 2000.

Right now I work for BellaOnline as their Body Art Site Host. It's interesting, will be decent money, and I can do it from home.

Is it my dream job? Well partially. I planned on being a teacher. I also planned on doing some writing on the side.

Meeting your husband though has a strange way of changing how your life ends up.

-- Suzy (suzy@cyberbabies.com), August 17, 2000.

I would like to make a technical writer's income writing the books I post at my web site, which I have been unable to find a publisher for.

I made a decision, starting out, to write what I thought I should write, rather than what sold, and to support myself, and my family, by working at a white collar job until my books did sell. That was some years ago.

What kind of a white collar job leaves you with enough energy to write books after work?

Writers teach English, or Creative Writing, work on newspapers, write advertising copy, write free-lance pieces, for magazines, or write new business proposals, technical manuals, and training programs.

(Some writers live off the sales of their books, with grants, in between. Not many, though. About as many as marry a rich spouse or win the Irish Sweepstakes.)

I chose technical writer because it pays well, it's easy, I'm not qualified to teach writing, I'm not temperamentally up to dealing with editors, who have to deal with sponsors, or managers, who have to deal with clients.

I'm left alone.

I keep up to date with the tools of the trade because state-of-the- art equipment increases productivity, and it's cost-effective for a company to provide it to a writer. Or we'd all be using quill pens, still.

My co-workers are college-educated, computer-literate, net-savvy, one half of a two-paycheck team in which the significant other is on a par with ego. They spend money on entertainment. Buy books and records, go to movies, attend art shows and live plays. Some have hobbies that involve physical exercise, and expensive gear.

Things could be much worse. They have been, before, and will be, again. When the business cycle swings down.

For now, I have no complaints. Although we spend most of what we make and don't have anything set aside for a rainy day. That makes me a little nervous. As Karl Childers said about the coffee.

-- Jack Saunders, The Daily Bugle (www.thedailybugle.com) (jacksaunders@mindspring.com), August 17, 2000.

I'm a secretary, ahem, administrative professional, but oddly enough, I like my job--probably because they overpay me and I treat my execs like that evil secretary in Dilbert. There's something very comforting about having very little true accountability. Whee!

-- Jane Hoyland (Jhoyland@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

Jane: Secretary with a Crossbow! Rock on!

Right now I work for two nonprofits. One pays nothing and the other next to nothing, so I doubt I'll be able to live this way for long, but right this second I'm content. I am so fucking tired of people asking me what I see myself doing five years from now. (My DATES ask me that.) I don't know and I don't want to know. I think life would be pretty fucking boring if I knew everything that was going to happen to me right up until I was dead. I esp. don't think in high-tech work that it's possible to know what the industry is going to look like over the long-term. Five years ago the web was a relatively small community (it was possible, for example, to know by name all the cats who had their own web pages); in other five years it may have gone the way of CB radio.

One thing I learned a while ago was this: it's impossible to not like your job and yet still like your life. If you hate it, walk out. Dental insurance is not worth your happiness.

-- Kim Rollins (kimrollins@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.


I work for an ebusiness consulting firm. I program in Java and make thngs happen over the web. I like that what I code is actually a solid piece in somebody's business model puzzle. I have good bennies and definate chance for advancement. The skills I have and the skills I'm learning will guarantee me a job in the tech industry anywhere in the world at any time.

And if society colapses and hi-tech no longer exists, I can make beer.

-- Roger Bixby (rbix@earthlink.net), August 17, 2000.

I am a travel agent. I spent good money and four months to get my training. I've been doing it for ten years. Wouldn't do anything else except give up working all together, really. I love working with the product. Sometimes, though, I find it exceedingly strange that I wound up in a people-oriented business. But if I must leave my bedroom I'd rather talk about travel all day than sell shoes or computers or be forced to use business English with a straight face.

-- Lucy Huntzinger (huntzinger@mindspring.com), August 17, 2000.

I work in customer service for a managed care company. Many people think that that kind of job is the pits and it can be if you happen to work in an environment that is poorly managed, but after seven years of temping and permanent jobs that were either deadly dull, paid less than nothing and/or were so stressful that I nearly went postal, this year I finally settled into a place that was tolerable. Everything about the place isn't peaches and cream but then nothing is perfect. All I care about at the moment is learning new stuff, being challenged all the time and having enough to live on. In actuality though, if it were possible for me to make a living by writing fiction, I'd do that. However, my writing skills aren't quite up to Maya Angelou's level and since Harper and Row ain't exactly beating down my door with a six figure advance, I need to work a real job in order to keep a roof over my head. It's by happenstance that I'm fairly good at what I do.


-- Vena (ladyv_39@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

Tough question. Depends on if you mean my day job, or my 'real' job. :)

My day job consists of working as a receptionist/admin assistant for the technical support department of an accounting software company. (Translation: I answer phones all day and do the occasional spreadsheet.)

It's been the source of great frustration for me over the past three years. I'm smarter than my bosses. Hell, I'm older than my bosses. Many of them have the assumption that because I'm not degreed and because I'm 'just a receptionist' that I'm an idiot. I take great pleasure in proving them wrong.

I don't hate my job. In fact, I got my 'real' job because of my day job.

You see, as long as I'm answering phones (around 300 calls a day, did I mention that?), I can do pretty much what I want, with full internet access. I am the Queen of Multitasking. I taught myself html and web design while at work. I keep in touch with my friends at work. I write most of my journal entries at work. I goof around and get paid for it, while answering phones.

However. I've also honed my writing at work. I wrote huge sections of my first book at work. My first book, which is getting published in early 2001. Never would have been able to do it, if it wasn't for all that free time at my day job. :)

That, and I've got a lot of the little perks that Kymm mentioned, the ones that come from having seniority in your department.

So. My day job pays my bills, for the most part, and gives me time to do what I really enjoy doing. I guess I can't bitch too loudly. :)

-- Lisa (lisa@selkie.net), August 18, 2000.

I've been on the editorial staff of newspapers for 10 years. It is what I wanted to do, but sometimes I look at the people around me who are older and think: Is that who I'm going to be? I could easily coast along for 30 more years (if there are newspapers in 30 years).

The pay in this business varies tremendously, and while I don't make a lot of money, I make a lot more than I did not so long ago. It scares me to become comfortable with the pay, because it makes it all the more difficult to decide to walk away, even when a large part of me wishes I could, at least for a while.

The hours absolutely suck, but then again, my parents have been getting up before the sun for three decades (someone in my family is always awake.)

The news, you may have noticed, is often as depressing as hell, and there's no escaping it. We're not homicide detectives, but we see what people do to people in the worst ways all the time, and only some of that actually gets into the paper. There's good news, too, sure, but year after year, the imbalance kind of eats at you.

I like good writing, though, and good design. Turnover cuts into that. It's a nomadic business, and people move on. You lose friends, even if you're happy for them. You lose experience. I know what Billy Joel meant when he said "competence" was the word that turns him on. It's a precious thing. And so few people (in charge) seem to realize that. Or care.

But it is what it is. It's not what my folks wanted me to do. It's not what my friends said I should do. But for now, I guess it'll do.

-- Charlie (jovi775@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000.

I really like my job (index editor for a law publisher), but I'm a victim of downsizing and will be out of a job after August 31.

I'm planning to do freelance editing next. Prospects look good, at least for the immediate future. I've never worked from home before, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll miss the benefits of being employed, but I'm hoping that the flexibility and the income make up for them.

My total dream job is to be either a writer or a talk-show host, but although I've been published and appeared once on public access as a talk-show host, I've never been paid for my dream work. So the editorial work continues...

-- Catherine (catcoicrit@earthlink.net), August 18, 2000.

At the heart of things I'm a writer. Nine to five, I'm a web communication strategist, which means I figure out how to get the message across (which, yes, means I get paid to write but it's bigger than just writing) and don't usually work on how it gets up on the page. I do know how to code HTML, don't know much beyond that though I *would* like to.

The job title varies... I've done a lot of consulting; the last "job" I was offered was a "Webmaster" position. Presently it's "Web publishing associate" for a non-profit, until Nov. 1. After that we'll see; I may switch back to doing consulting fulltime.

In my other life, I'm an activist, on the board of a national non- profit org for gender variant biofemales, and cochairing their conference next spring, run a grass-roots feminist/queer religious org, and run a bunch of feminist lists online.

One "job" pays, the other doesn't. I love them both.

-- Tynan (ty@power-lines.com), August 18, 2000.

I've just finished my fourth week as the Office Manager at the new UK version of a big USA internet company. I do all the HR, and all the operational side of the business, including liaison with accountants, dealing with the bank, rewriting our employment contracts, and finding and project-managing the fit-out of our new office space.

I'm really enjoying it so far. My managers let me do as much as I want, which appeals to my control-freak tendencies, and they're hugely appreciative of all my efforts. My first four weeks have been verging on legendary because I've done a lot of vital stuff, so it seems I've set myself up well in this company. And this is a touchy- feely promote from within kind of company, so it's all good.

However, I don't know if operational management is what I want to do with my life. I thought I wanted to be a Managing Director one of these days, but I had dinner with an ex-manager last night and now I'm feeling all uncertain and like I should be focussing on more creative enterprises instead. Damn.

-- Jackie (jackiec@diaryland.com), August 18, 2000.

I do Macintosh support in a mental hospital. What's not to like?

-- Rob Rummel-Hudson (rhudson@digitalism.com), August 20, 2000.

Uh. Okay, so for awhile, I was at a job I loathed and despised. And then, I got hired for a job that sounded as if it would be The Job of My Dreams and Everything Else Besides. Writing for a business website.

Except, you know, it isn't. The Job of My Dreams, I mean. As Lucy said way the hell back up there, I have to use business english with a totally straight face. What I actually do is write business english. That's right, I have to create sentences that go "we are committed to the initialization of the turnkey ecommerce platform of tomorrow." And so on. What I also do is organize tradeshows. Which means I scream at stupid vendors, take many cabs and carry many things, and also want to cry a lot.

So yeah, you can say that I'm not doing what it is I really want to do.

I would like to be an international jet setter now, please. Thank you.

-- Jen (maharishe@yahoo.com), August 20, 2000.

For me, there is no dread like the dread of going to a job I hate.

I've had jobs where there were mornings I'd rather go to the dentist than in to work. I hated them that much. They were all "just to pay the bills" sorta jobs. They sucked the joy out of me.

So, it is with a great deal of faith that I'm back in school and persuing my big dreams. Right now I'm working as the costumer's assistant in the drama department. I haven't not wanted to go in yet.

-- Jackie (jackie@jackie.nu), August 21, 2000.

I write poetry all day long and get a very good check every two weeks. I help people touch each other's hearts. i help them say what they wouldnt be able to say ordinarily. I write in my journal, read magazines and online journals during the day and am encouraged by my boss to do so. I was paid last week to go see the original drawings of Dr. Seuss. I make a difference in this world, by making something every single one of you have needed several times a year or more.

I write greeting cards. And yes, I majored in Creative Writing English. And no, I do not use rhyme.

-- goldpowder (goldpowder@diaryland.com), August 21, 2000.

I'm trying to finish a dissertation. I also teach writing...and, to a certain extent, research, thinking, and intellectual survival in general. It's generally worth it; it empowers the students to use their own language and think their own thoughts. The downside? 75 papers to grade at once!

My goal is to be able to write scholarly books about my subject that are interesting and moving to non-academics. There's a lot I hate about academia. Talk about people who can't express themselves through their own language! "Postmodernist" jargon is a real nightmare.

-- Catriona Richardson (catri696@purpleturtle.com), August 21, 2000.

I hate my job. I really do. Over the years it's morphed into something I don't enjoy and of all the people I used to enjoy working with only one remains.

I'm looking for a new position, plus I've finally started working on making one of my life-long dreams happening, acting. I had my first two film shoots over this past weekend and, though the parts were tiny and non-paying (as one of 12 soap opera fans and as "Date #4") I had a blast.

Look out, Hollywood, here I come!

-- Carol (webgal@ordinarygoddess.com), August 21, 2000.

I need money for shoe and clothes theys why iam look for a job ok

-- charleswallace (www.lilharlemchild@blackplanet.com), October 29, 2003.

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