So what do we do about this work thing? I’ve spent most of my life trying to answer this question, and in that time I’ve done some pretty horrible jobs. Years ago Peter Cook and Dudley Moore did a show called ‘Derek and Clive Live’ where this was one of the sketches:
My struggles to earn money have included working in bars and shops, offices and factories; teaching English, French, Spanish and yoga; digging trenches in an Iron-age fort and selling overpriced toiletries at Heathrow Airport. The worst job I ever had was selling double glazing, about which I have blogged before:
and the best was probably teaching yoga, which gave me the most satisfaction I have ever had whilst being employed. I have tried in many ways to translate my skills into money; the closest I ever came was in teaching adults, where I was able to use my communication skills and empathy to good effect. But, like many self-motivated people, I’m just not very good at having a boss. I like to be my own boss and I don’t like people telling me what to do. That said, I found most managers in Adult Ed very easy to get along with; but eventually the bureaucracy became burdensome and the need to write became urgent.
So I started writing full-time. And since writing full-time I have tried, year after year and month after month, to translate my writing skills into money. I have entered competitions and submitted to magazines. I have joined organisations and subscribed to magazines. I have been to publishing fairs and approached publishers. I have joined writers’ groups, attended workshops, networked furiously, taken up every opportunity going and written, written, written.
True, I’ve had some success. I have a growing list of publications and a history of well-received performances. But have I managed to make a living?
So I guess writing has to be the worst job ever, right? I mean the pay’s lousy to non-existent, the recognition is appalling, the prospects for promotion doubtful – so why would anyone do it?
Ah. Thereby hangs a tale…