Clocking In: The Ordinary Work Symposium Introduction

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

30 Responses

  1. Damon says:

    You know, that’s funny, because I’ve never thought this way at all.
    As I’ve said before, not here though: I work doing what I do because I like it, I’m good at it, and it provides me with an income and lifestyle that allows time to do what I really like: travel and exploration.
    Yes, I’ve worked more than 40 hours, sometimes often, sometimes for a number of years. Other times, I’ve simply clocked in and did my time. I’ve been more or less engaged with the success of an organization and other times I’ve not given a damn if the company crashed and burned, because my personal life was more important. It always has and always will be, but neither do I, nor did I ever have, the desire or drive to be CEO or something else. The sacrifice to the personal is too great.

    I’m looking forward to the symposium.Report

  2. North says:

    Work, ugh, it’s that nasty stuff you have to do to fund the things you like to do. I am envious of people who can find enjoyment in something others will pay them to do. For the masses of us, though, I suspect that work is something to be endured not relished. As for it being necessary? There’re plenty of things I don’t want to do that peopel won’t pay me to do that I should do that I could spend more time doing if I suddenly was relieved of the need to work. I don’t play the lottery personally (that great tax on the poor, desperate and economically illiterate) but if somehow I found myself a great financial windfall I assure you I could live productively, happily and with nary a hint of depression or suicide without work.Report

  3. Hi Tod, can you explain this line to me:

    “We take those things we love most in life — art, music, games, story telling, food, spirits, sex, childrearing, companionship — and we turn them all into work to be done for wages.”

    I imagine you’re talking about (in part) the stuff that many of us here do for fun, writing. I know a lot of the contributors here have gone on to write things for pay (whether full-time, part-time, freelance or just a bit of coin on the side). So, individuals take their loves and turn them into jobs. Am I understanding you properly? If I am, I think it might be illuminating to separate “vocations” from “work”. If I win the lottery; I might quit my job. I will not stop writing, though (in fact, I’ll probably write even more), and I probably won’t turn down payment.

    (I imagine that you could also be talking on a more macro level, in which society has turned those things into paying gigs. The work/vocation distinction won’t be as applicable, then.)Report

    • Your take is correct. My only point being that even when we have some activity that we love, that gives our lives meaning or pleasure in our non-work lives, we find ways to convert those activities into jobs — or if we don’t we at least daydream about doing so.

      We tend to frame these thoughts around our love or passions for this thing we do in our spare time, and that framing is indeed accurate. But a marriage of work and that which we prize most, either realized or in fantasy, is by its very definition as much about our relationship with work as it is that beloved activity.Report

    • My take on the writing thing is that the folks who write here display a high level of talent doing so and I certainly believe that they should be encouraged financially. Honestly, if I was a literary agent, I’d scan this site for writers to develop. So I see it more from the perspective of what I want society to finance. I’d much rather pay people to do what they have a vocation for than… well, most of what we pay people to do. Somewhere there’s a Frank Zappa quote to the effect that no musician should be working in a gas station to play at night.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Rufus F says:


        I’m not going to be able to cobble together a post for the symposium, but clearly to me a post addressing the status of work not for pay or work that doesn’t pay a livable wage would be a welcome addition. What are ways we can encourage labor done for the purpose of the creation of work with potential human value but with little immediate exchangeable value? Is that kind of work something we want to encourage using monetary resources in ways beyond simply saying that if there really is value, eventually it will be recognized through exchange? My way would be an unconditional livable basic income, but there are surely others that are viable and equally or more broadly palatable.Report

  4. Miss Mary says:

    Oompa Loompas!!!Report