Seeking Meaning(ful work)
Inspired by Brother David’s “help wanted” post seeking a worker for his shipbuilding position, I’m going to take a stab at the reverse approach. I’ll let the Replacements explain:
Now, I do have a goddamn job. However, it’s not a particularly fulfilling, fascinating, or challenging one. For most of the week, I’m a dishwasher, or as I tell my mother, an “underwater porcelain technician”. I also do maintenance, gardening, and work as cook a few nights a week. It is gourmet cooking, but my interest in food remains mostly on the consumption rather than the production end.
And then my friend died, which I suppose has altered my perspective a bit. Instead of thinking to myself, while working, “one more hour done; fourteen more smackers in the bank!”, I find myself thinking, “one more hour done; one hour closer to death being absolutely stultified doing nothing I care about.” Not quite whistling while I work.
I do have a degree. I got my PhD in Early Modern European and Ottoman history with a dissertation on the ways that French Romanticism fueled the development of tourism to the Levant in the early 1800s. It was an absorbing topic and I do not, for the most part, think getting a PhD was a poor life choice. However, academia seems to be a bit of a pyramid scheme and thus far the instructing jobs aren’t rolling down this low on the pyramid. Alternately, approaching the corporate world with the argument that my degree shows I’m intelligent and can finish long-term projects has mostly been greeted with, “we’re not looking for historians”.
So, what things can I do? Well, I’m an extraordinary teacher, probably because I’m passionately interested in everything from Gnosticism to the blues, Italian Neorealist cinema to the Pre-Raphaelites. I have a great deal of energy and creative zeal and enjoy long discussions about Baudelaire while walking on the beach. I am obsessive and reverential about culture. A love interest likes to say I have a “busy mind” and a “limitless soul”. I also paint, sing in a band, and write prolifically. Honestly, as charming as I am it’s a wonder I haven’t been abducted yet.
Also, I am a writer. I never experienced difficulty “finding my voice”. Coming to terms with being a writer was more akin to people who come to terms with homosexuality. I’ve just always known; my next thought was “now what?” I’ve written essays, novels, plays, screenplays, poems, jokes, stories, songs, and sometimes even blog posts. I’m currently working on a book about my great-grandfather, a writer himself, and the circle of ex-pat writers in Paris in the 20s. I’m also about halfway through another damned novel.
“What would you like to do?” asks the career counselor at this point. Hmmm… Something that scares the hell out of me. Something difficult, exciting, and a bit mad. I want to be put into situations that I will have to creatively reason my way through. I want to be put on the spot. I want to make good use of my insomnia. For an intellectually stimulating job, I will work tirelessly and fervently. Anything to do with writing, research, teaching, editing, the arts, cultural institutions, journalism, or education would be preferable, but I am open to anything new and willing to start at the bottom, so long as the bottom is not “spec”. I’ll work for cheap, but not free. In the remote chance it’s available, I’d be very willing to take an astronaut position.
I reside in the golden horseshoe, which narrows the job pool down to employers who know where that is. I am very willing to travel, and perhaps willing to relocate at some point. We’ll see. I realize this post is a long shot in the first place.
But, if you’re hiring for something along these lines or know someone who is, I can be reached at email@example.com