I was reading your brilliant post on fitness again, Russ, and thinking about how unlikely it is that I will ever run a marathon. This guy’s objections aside, I just can’t imagine ever suffering like that for a hobby.
But then there’s my Primary Career. For which I do, you know, suffer, and make other people suffer. I neglect my husband, my child and my social life — in addition to completely abandoning basic standards of cleanliness and order. I love what I do and all, but why the hell am I working so hard?
My field, like yours, is stupidly prestige-conscious, and is filled with lots and lots of people competing for the same little rewards. There are a lot of calculations to be made about lines added to the CV, about the relative glamor of one venue versus another, about schmoozing and self-promotion. I would like to think that I’m not motivated by external rewards, that I really just care about Sweatshirts for Sweatshirts’ sake, but, come on — who am I kidding? I like the occasional carrot just as much as the next donkey. You know what I mean, Russ. I really think you do.
Which leads me to the following question. Is ambition for suckers? Take day jobs. When it comes to those, I have greatly preferred low-level administrative jobs to the more standard custom-sweatshirt maker’s career path. Filing pays a little less per hour than teaching, obviously, but not that much less, and there’s very little stress involved. And yet, try as I might to muster up the right kind of punk-rock moxie when talking about “what I do,” I always feel a little self-conscious if my day job is one that seems unworthy of my Prestigious Education.
So, Russ. Would we be happier spending our time tending bar, growing vegetables and taking long bike rides — with some time taken out for a little blogging and a little sweatshirt-decorating, of course — if only we could get ourselves into the proper frame of mind?