I think most of us are raised to look down on “day jobs.” They’re just supposed to be temporary—a band-aid until you can start your real career and living with purpose. But I’m not sure that’s really how we should look at them. Is there something so wrong with the idea that work is work, and when you’re done with it you leave it there and go spend your free time doing things you enjoy?
I get that the ideal is to “love what you do” and have your work be a career in something you enjoy. But I mean, work is called “work” for a reason. So, by definition, even if you have a career pursuing your “passion” instead of a day job that’s really just meant to pay the bills, it still seems pretty normal to not completely enjoy it. And furthermore, careers, as opposed to days jobs, usually involve taking your work home with you, which, in my experience, makes people resentful because they’re constantly stressed out.
Also, career-type jobs are never as glamorous as they seem. That girl you know who’s always working movie premiers? She’s getting shat on regularly by her boss, who’s on a permanent juice cleanse and makes her go on Jenny Craig with her 11-year old daughter who’s too “chubby” and it’s “dishonoring the family name.” Or your friend who’s a wedding planner? She’s constantly getting 3 AM phone calls from brides whose beet-juice spray tans turned out pinker than anticipated even though it’s fucking BEET JUICE WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU EXPECT, and now they’re worried their white dresses are going to get stained, although if purity and innocence is what they’re going for, we all know that was tainted long ago.
Your college classmate who’s doing design work for Martha Stewart? Don’t even get her started on the list of words you’re not allowed to utter there, including “prison,” “Oprah,” and “real people don’t live like this.” And your cousin who’s an assistant to Jennifer Aniston? Yeah, super cool on the surface because TEAM JEN ALL THE WAY, but she hasn’t had a physical in way longer than however long you’re supposed to wait between physicals, because it’s hard to take care of yourself when your entire life becomes consumed with making sure another person’s life runs smoothly—literally—you have to make sure their colon is clean and clear at all times.
Kinda makes you jealous of the janitor who, yeah, has to clean toilets, but gets to listen and dance to Taylor Swift while doing so, and actually gets to take lunch. Or the barista who gets to make pretty designs in milk foam all day and can clock in for overtime. Or the bartender who gets to see lots of sad, sad people play out their pitiful existences and probably has reasonably controlled hours.
Like, wouldn’t you rather be in one of those positions than take a job that’s either a) at the bottom of the ladder but supposedly where you have to start and be miserable “paying your dues,” all on the road to “living your dream,” whatever the fuck that means, or b) a higher-up position, but leaves you stuck in the drone of corporate, work-never-ends life?
I think people who claim to have careers “doing what they love” are kind of delusional and/or full of it. Maybe a rare few are genuinely happy with their work, but on the whole, I’m not sure that most are super thrilled, or at least happier than the day-jobbers. And even if you’re not willing to concede that careers aren’t in fact more fulfilling than day jobs, at the very least, the superiority complex that accompanies them should be squashed. After all, somebody has to mow your lawn, so unless you’re willing to do it yourself, lose the self-righteousness and just say “gracias.”
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