Monster Knit Rally

Friday, February 23, 2007

Peeking out, work-in-progress: my life

It's been over 2 months since I last posted. I think I let this blog fall by the wayside because it doesn't seem to have a consistent voice - I don't have a consistent voice on it - and thus I don't have much of a consistent readership to interact with. (Though if you've been reading consistently, thank you for your support!). When I started the blog, I didn't really care who read it or if anyone at all did. Now, I feel that I'd like more interaction if I'm going to continue.

I've been rethinking both the subject focus (and title) of this blog recently. Knitting and crafts are definitely important to me, but having so little free time, my attention often goes elsewhere. Some of my favorite posts to write and to see on the blog were food related. I really enjoy posting recipes and food photos, but I don't want this to be a food blog. I also like reviewing or showing books that I'm enjoying... I'd like to do more of this, and perhaps include some fiction.

I've also been reconsidering part of the subtitle(?) of my blog: "Wherein I ramble about knitting, crafting, food, books, and wanting to retire by the time I turn 30." Most readers have probably seen knitting, crafting, food and books mentioned more than once here. The part that I feel I've neglected is "wanting to retire by the time I turn 30." I don't talk about that at all really. I thought about removing that part of the sentence, but while it is partially a joke, it is also something that I feel strongly about. Part of the reason I haven't touched on the subject is because I don't want to reveal too much personal information here, which for me includes information about my work. However, I think that I've been mistaken in leaving out the subject altogether; it is possible to discuss the nature of work and careers without talking too specifically about mine.

I would like to share that up until very recently, I held two part time jobs which when added together gave me (almost) full time employment. Although I was working full time hours, neither of my jobs provided any of the benefits that many full time jobs do - paid vacation, sick or personal time, medical insurance, etc - so that any of those things come out of my own pocket. I'm not grousing about this; working two part time jobs was a deliberate choice on my part - it enabled me to work doing things that were more enjoyable to me than most other options. It also gave me a more flexible schedule, and sense that I wasn't having my soul sucked out in order to support myself (which I have felt before).

Fast forward to the present day: I am still working one of the two jobs I mentioned before; the other didn't work out for various reasons. But now this leaves me with a dilemna: The job I still have I enjoy immensely and really want to continue, but it will not support me alone. It also happens to be related to a field in which I might like to work in the future. The other job I had, while generally enjoyable, is not necessarily the type of work I want to be doing in the long run, but the working environment was good, and I was paid significantly more to do it. That job made it possible for me to support myself and work the job I really like.

So now I'm feeling stuck. I've taken a (hopefully short-term) second part time job to make ends meet. I am working for a major retail corporation, and it has only reinforced all of my negative beliefs about the American job system: that laziness and selfishness are rewarded, and hard work is usually taken advantage of.

With both current jobs, I am just able to pay my bills. There is no possibility of saving money for things I enjoy: eating out semi-regularly, travel, crafting, rock climbing, backpacking, etc.
I have looked for another part time job, but haven't seen anything that pays significantly better and/or that is any less soul-crushing than the present job. Finding a full-time job might mean better pay and benefits, but it would also mean giving up the first part-time job that I really enjoy.

So the questions I keep coming back to are these: How do you support yourself while still being yourself? How do you support yourself and still be able to live the life you want? Is the price you sell your time, your energy, your creativity for worth it? What other alternatives are there? Is it possible to live a truly good life in this country (No debt, all needs fully met, enough leisure time to enjoy the things we do have)? For what percentage of the population?

How do you reconcile these issues in your life? Or are you still struggling with them too?


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