Deeply invested in an economy of multiple income sources, part time work, no benefits and flexible hours, discussions in the national media about job growth, the 30-hour work week, and changing job descriptions fall upon deaf ears.
I’m happy to sustain a life in a turbulent world, avoiding big jobs like the one left in 2009, and take my chances with what work circulates at the bottom of the rain barrel during a long drought. Most wouldn’t call that making a living, but the easy-money jobs are all gone, if they existed once upon a time. People, including me, do what they must to sustain life.
Things didn’t change this year, or in the last five years. This experience is the result of an intentional movement, one that saw its best days during the Reagan administration.
The truth is we all have to make a life. Even if suicide is painless, it is no option at all.
What matters more, what helps us go on, is the drive ever forward in our lives. Not toward some dark and pearly other world destiny, but with the exercise of free will and intent, toward making the commons a better place. Taking care of ourselves, while important, is not the endgame.
Without good health and economic security, it would be hard to do anything. Some of us are lucky to have a stable, if somewhat precarious platform built on years of hard work, good health and a safe upbringing and neighborhood. If we are one of the lucky ones, it is important to remember John Donne, “no man is an island,” and recognize that unlike the bard, we are of an age.
In my worklife, dating to the 1960s, there have been only rare times when I worked a Monday through Friday day shift job, most notably while at the University of Iowa in the early 1980s. Nonetheless, there is a cultural resonance to “the weekend,” even if I haven’t really had one since those government employment days. Whether with a high paying job or what I’m doing now, work always beckons, regardless of the day of the week.
The saving grace is the brief respite when a workday is followed by one more open. A chance to open a bottle of wine purchased from the discard cart at the grocer, or enjoy a snack from newly bought food from the warehouse club—chez nous.
Tonight, after a shift at a job, grocery shopping and a meeting in the county seat, only then will I succumb to escape, then sleep soundly.
It seems upside down, but Monday really is my Friday and the work goes on with nary a day off. I’m not complaining, just trying to understand life in this turbulent world so it can be sustained.