Just because you like your job doesn’t mean they don’t have to pay you to show up.*


This post is part of our Work Symposium. An introduction to the symposium can be found here; all of the posts written for the symposium can be found here.


The jobs I’ve had since I have been responsible for paying for my own housing, food, healthcare, etc., have been, in order: Freelance photo-assistant, Freelance commercial photographer and sometime ad copywriter, Freelance producer/director/editor of industrial films, Freelance producer/director/editor of NGO promotional documentaries, Freelance producer/director/editor of independently produced and distributed documentary films, Boat-builder, Day-sailing charter captain.

The common thread to these occupations is that (with the exception of photo assistant) these are all activities people will pay to do with their own time and money; by which I mean it’s not uncommon for people to put a lot of effort and expense into sailing or boat-building or photograph as a hobby. In fact their may very well be more people who build boats, sail, or do photograph as a hobby than there are people who do these things as a full-time profession.

*The title of this post is a quote from my sister-in-law. When she was 18 or 19 years old she went to an employment agency and having only ever seen a manual typewriter, was unable to figure out how to turn on the electric typewriter they gave her to take a typing test. Because of this she was sent to work in a bank. Some 40 years later she’s a very successful banker specializing in high-risk loans.


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4 thoughts on “Just because you like your job doesn’t mean they don’t have to pay you to show up.*

  1. There’s a term ‘fresh meat’ industries, where there are a vast number of people wanting to work there, even after filtering out all of the unqualified ones.

    Or, as best put in graffiti allegedly on the wall of the women’s bathroom in the intern lounge at MTV:

    ‘Working at MTV is like having a beautiful boyfriend who beats you’.

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    • The first job I ever had (excluding my paper route) was at a movie theater. Free movie tickets! No flipping burgers (though there was the matter of popcorn). It was, as far as sixteen year olds go, a “prestige” job.

      The problem was, they knew it. And acted accordingly.

      My second job was at McDonald’s. McDonald’s at least knew that you would rather be somewhere else, and I was treated a heck of a lot better there. Made more money, too, marginally.

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    • This was not my experience at all. I made good money and I paid good money to those I employed, both of which indicate that there was a shortage of people qualified to do the job that I did, or that I needed done.

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