“Do what you love” disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is a privilege, a sign of socioeconomic class. Even if a self-employed graphic designer had parents who could pay for art school and co-sign a lease for a slick Brooklyn apartment, she can bestow DWYL as career advice upon those covetous of her success.
If we believe that working as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a museum publicist or a think-tank acolyte is essential to being true to ourselves, what do we believe about the inner lives and hopes of those who clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores? The answer is: nothing.
Yeah, my inner life today is no richer than it was when I worked at Steak ‘n Shake.
I don’t think we should measure the value of a person’s professional life by whether they have esteemed or lucrative work. The best formulation of professional value I’ve come across is from Tim O’Reilly: “Do things that need doing.”
Stocking shelves? Needs doing. Serving food? Needs doing. Collecting garbage? Needs doing. Editing wikipedia pages? Needs doing. Figuring out how to maximize fees on checking accounts? Doesn’t need doing. Engaging trolls on the Internet? Doesn’t need doing. Volunteering at animal shelters? Needs doing.
Ultimately, for me at least, the measure of work’s value is not expressed best by money or love. The question is whether someone that needs to be done is getting done.
In case anyone is checking tags, are there any Teen Wolf fans out there going to Days of the Wolf this weekend? I’m heavily considering it since I already live in Los Angeles and GA tickets are cheap, but sadly I only have a couple friends here who watch Teen Wolf, and they’re both busy since it’s pretty last minute.
Is anyone else going alone or interested in meeting up with a stranger? Here’s a tag of my face so that you know I’m a fresh-faced 21-year-old and not a pervy old man in disguise. Let me know if you’d be interested in hanging out, especially if you live in the L.A. area. I’m always up for making new friends!
Feel free to drop me an ask message. Thanks!