Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 156- Family Fun and the Real Job

So, as I sit here this morning, trying to get my brain to spit out what I ate yesterday (it's not in a co-operative mood right now), I'm Skype-ing with my father.

My father is a huge great believer in what he calls "a real job", and doing things you hate because they pay really good money, and FOX news. He's kinda WASP-y, actually, with this New England work ethic thing going on. His idea for how to get my brain to work with me more?

I need to get out and talk to people more- at a REAL JOB(TM).

Yep, the real job, magic elixir, this simple draught will fix all that ails you. Hungry? Real job will feed you. Tired? Real job will provide you with a place to rest. Wish you were dead? Real job will help!

Thanks, I'd rather write spam for a penny a word. That doesn't count, of course, because I earn as much or as little as I'm willing to work for. And I don't hook myself to a soul vacuum at the start of my day. I'm told the soul vacuum is the most important part of the "real job."

Of course, I've had one before- several, in fact. I didn't enjoy any of them. It's that stubborn thing, plus the "if I don't wanna do it, I'm not doing it" thing from yesterday. Now, going someplace and trading my time for money doesn't mean I have to *do* anything while I'm there. At my last job they seemed to actively campaign against our doing any real work. But if I get a Real Job (tm) I have to go there when they want me to, stay for as long as they say to. Eat, drink, and nap on their schedule. And when I have money saved up, and tickets in hand, I have to beg for time off.

Um, no? Again, spam at a penny a word is better. Selling (my) eggs would be better than that.

So, back on topic- I ate yesterday. I remember making and eating a loaf of bread. I dipped it in balsamic/ oil, and nommed it all. Oh, and before I baked it I sliced deep slashes in a crosshatch pattern, and when it baked and they expanded the top tore open and it looked like big sharp shark teeth. Cool, right?

I even managed to drink a couple 20 oz bottles of water. I know I ate something else, though, and that's what lead to the "real job thing" that derailed me up there...

Oh, and dad says I should have wine with my bread next time. Not sure I want to know what a $1/day bottle of wine would look (taste) like.


  1. Hey J,
    Enjoy your blog and your wit. And laughed when you described the plight of a "real job". I have one, but must admit... I kinda like my "real job". And the soul-sucking part only seems comes along when I'm returning from vacation. :) But it made me wonder, and I don't know if you'd want to divulge this information, but what type of job *are* you looking for? I want to log on one day and hear of you trashing the $1 plan Whole foods vegan pasta, fresh bread from the cute "boutique bakery on the corner", and, at a minimum, a $15 dollar bottle of wine! :) But won't it take a *real job* to get to that point? I hope you'll share with us your plans for the alternative... I might want to follow suit! :)

  2. Oops! The above should have read... trash the $1 plan FOR all the other yummy stuff....
    My bad! :)

  3. Hmm... My ideal, eventual job I don't think of as a job. The problem is getting to it (either of them, actually). I'm pretty shy and short on confidence, and writing fiction is a lot of a grind that takes years to manage. I think everyone who reads wants to be a writer for a while, at least, and I read more than most.

    Otherwise, I need to be able to stay in one place long enough to get a degree, some actual study skills, the patience to not have what I want *now*, and enough adderal to bury an elephant. I'm taking a break from throwing myself at vet schools for a while. I really enjoy all the science-y stuff- I could spin down blood, identify cells, culture bacteria, and poke around in bodies all day long. Pipetting into the DNA gel dealy, not so much- my hands shake. Not so good at sitting there listening, and I'm total FAIL at going at other people's pace. Makes university into my own special hell.

    Really, though? If I could do anything, I'd be retired. Or independently wealthy. I gave up on the trust fund when I realized that I look like a perfect mix of my mother and my father's grandparents. It was a sad day.

    Is there even such a thing as freelance lab scientist?

    $15 wine? I could live with that. I had a bottle of veuve clicquot but I drank it to celebrate moving- does that count?

  4. Well, good luck with the patience thing. I find that it really helps (and delayed gratification also). The benefits of a "real job" to me are freedom...I make enough money that I can afford to take time off if I want.

    Of course, keeping your expenses/needs low is a HUGE part of that too.

    Good luck with the lab/science thing. I'm an engineer, so I love the science stuff too. Any interest in forensics?

  5. I was bitten by the travel bug long enough ago that I don't think the itchy feet thing is resolving itself any time soon. I think the only way I could really be happy in a "job" would be if I worked 3 months, then had 9 to do what I wanted.

    I'm magic at keeping expenses down. It's getting kinda old, actually. But what would I buy with more money other than better food? I already have a computer (or 3), more than one change of clothes, and a place to live.

    Actually, I know what I'd buy, but air tickets don't really go well with a job.

    Forensics... I think about it sometimes, but I don't know how well it travels. If I did the meat thing I'd go chef- that travels *really* well. But how many forensic labs are there in the world, and how many would hire someone with a habit of quitting after 18 (or 6) months and taking off for two years? But that brings me back to the "have to stay in one place and show up long enough to get a degree" thing, anyway.

    Alternately, I think I'd make a *wicked* assassin.

  6. Yay water!

    I have a friend that worked on her community college newspaper for a year and is a fabulous enough writer that, sans degree, she's gotten a bunch of internships/job offers to make a living volunteering and freelance-writing in NOLA. It's really tough, but it sounds like she has a lot of unscheduled time too...

    Is that pennybroker.com thing the real deal? If you type 23 words a minute that's 13$/hr! Something tells me there is a catch...

  7. It really pays. You have to claim (and write) reasonable stuff, of decent quality, and only on the jobs available. Some people want stuff that takes longer or is more difficult- there's been about 100 articles up for grabs for a week on brittish countertops- to be written in UK english etc- which is not worth it.

    And, of course, if your quality drops too far they'll ban you, and if there are no jobs there's no work... but yeah. It's good.

    I seem to be running with the freelance-ish writing thing for now. That, plus some actual internet stuff is enough to live on. And if I ever put on my big girl pants I can even make more than $0.01 a word... It's not billions, but, again, what would I spend it on?

  8. you'd spend it on amaaazing vegan cheese, of course :)

    I may start writing for that site; my profs bug me about going for a doctorate because that's the writing level I'm at (you wouldn't know it from blogger comments), but there must be something else I can do with that! woot :)

  9. J,

    I'm currently pursuing an PhD in Anatomy, but I'm really an anthropologist. I study the evolution and biomechanics of primate locomotion, specifically ontogeny and skeletal plasticity of feet and pedal grasping. I know a lot of people in a lot of related fields, including forensics, and there is certainly an area of forensic anthropology that incorporates a lot of travel. A friend works for a human rights group that sends employees to various locations throughout Central and South America every year to excavate, investigate, and identify sites of genocide.

    There are also a lot of other fields in academia that allow for regular travel. Physical anthropologists go fossil hunting in Africa, primatologists observe primates in Africa, Asia and South and Central America, and archaeologists excavate pretty much anywhere. I even know an anthropologist who studies primate nutrition. She goes to the Congo and watches what gorilla eats, collects those samples, and then brings them back to her state of the art lab for a complete chemical analysis, pipetting and all.

    I have managed to avoid a real job for most of my life, and not only am I very happy with what I do, but I'm now a fully funded student, which means no more loans or out of pocket education expenses. It's good work if you can get it.

    There are a lot of options in academia for people with wanderlust. If you've got a science background and are willing to work for a pittance or less, you might want to check out http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/jobs. Somewhat often there are postings for research assistants who are willing to work for no more than expenses paid, to be sent into the field to do some kind of data collection. These are usually the types of jobs students looking to beef up a CV jump at. As you know, it isn't easy to be vegan at a field site in Africa or Asia, but in my personal experience, it's the most fun to be had on planet earth.

    You can feel free to email me, too, if you want more details on all this stuff.

  10. theresa- go for it. There's not much on there now, but it's fun. Plus, there's always "other" writing you could do if you enjoy it.

    Kim- Wow, that's great link. I'm actually afraid of academia, how crazy is that? Too many stories of nasty politics and backstabbing, I guess. Well, and the terror of eventually having to come up with a research topic. It's a good environment for eccentricity, though, and I'm noting if not that...

    I learned long ago that, when you haven't had anything to really eat in a week, you shouldn't ask what the beans are flavored with. Otherwise, a little planning, a little cooking for yourself, and a little stuffing your face when you get into town (I think every town in the world has an Indian restaurant now...)

    I guess I'll be investing in that pile of adderal, after all. In the mean time, I can play writer, work on picking up a foreign language (or two) and plot my "big trip." Who knows, after a RTW trip, maybe I'll want to settle somewhere for 4 or 5 years. It could happen.