In the continuing saga of my existential crisis, some random, disjointed thoughts for your amusement.
I know, I know. Living in the future and all. I love my gadgets, high tech, instantaneous communication with people around the world, BLOGGING (*heh*). But is it overload? Sometimes it feels like it. I know, I have the option to unplug at home, but work remains, horrible commutes, jobs that stress us out. I don’t particularly like what jobs have become (as some of you know). It used to be you could be the village blacksmith,
and no one expected you to also mend fishing nets,
and cater the king’s party, upholster carriages, train the hunting falcons, restring the huntsman’s bow… You see where I’m going. People got to focus (pretty much) on one thing as a career. You didn’t have to be all things to all people all the time. The butcher was not also the baker; the baker was not also the candlestick maker.
I have no doubt there were some who did more than one thing. Most households made candles (Ben Franklin’s family were candlemakers, and soapmakers). Things took more time, being done by hand. Now with computers and automation everything happens at the speed of light it seems, so we’re all expected to master numerous disparate jobs. Are we jacks-of-all-trades, and masters of none? I’m tired of being pulled in so many different directions. It’s an existence designed around details: Precise times of day, days of the week, lengths of time, data entry, research, matching numbers, tracking people, supplies, equipment, set up, tear down, respond, direct. We live for weekends, two days out of every seven, and try to cram everything we like into those 48 short hours, willing to write off the previous 120. That’s 6,240 hours every year we force ourselves to just survive.
But did it have to be this way? How did it turn out like this? And more importantly, can we change it? It makes me angry beyond words that even in a developed country like the US, the vast majority of our lives is spent toiling at occupations we despise. I know there are people who enjoy their jobs and look forward to getting up and going to them everyday, but judging by how many people identify with movies and cartoons that lampoon the modern office, I’d say that’s a small percentage.
I ran across this article on some of the emerging careers for 2013. To sum up, they are:
- Precision Agriculture Technician
- Mechatronics Engineer
- Energy Broker
- Logistics Analyst
- Cytogenetic Technologist
- Environmental Economist
Does any of that sound like something you’d actually want to make a career of? Maybe a couple of them. Pretty much anything with the word “analyst” in it sounds as dry as dust, and about as exciting as waiting for an elevator that’s broken. Add the word “logistics” and you have a recipe for self-harm. “Biostatistician” sounds particularly evil. They’re the ones who will decide which medical procedures you can have, based on what it costs the insurer. Any time they throw the word “efficiency” into a job description, we know it means “less is more.
I think I don’t have the right temperament for modern office life. I think a lot of us don’t. Years ago I was as gung-ho about moving up in my career and playing the games as anyone in “The Secret to My Success.” Remember that? Coveting the high-paying job in the high-rise with corner office with view? Makes my skin crawl now thinking about it. We’ve already achieved a dystopic society, in my view.
Funny how priorities shift over time. All I can think about anymore is finding time to write.