As someone who is not working in a field even tangentially related to her area of study (Russian Feminist History), and as someone who can’t afford to work in her field because it pays for shit, even if I did get off my ass, finish the thesis and get my MA, I have got to tell you guys what’s really pissing me off:
“Do what you love and the money will follow?”
What sort of classist bullshit advice is that?
This goes hand in hand with my rant about books like “Eat, Pray, Love” where not only is the author engaging in some healthy racism (“mystical Asian people”), but the fact that her “voyage of discovery” is not something the majority of people in this country will ever be able to afford in their lives.
Shit. Most people are lucky if they can afford to take two whole days off in a row together, let alone go gadding about the globe for a year worrying if this pasta makes their ass look big (but don’t worry, she loses the weight while meditating in an ashram in India), and checking out hot dudes. And don’t get me started on men as part of your voyage of discovery. But… that is not what I’m (mostly) on about here.
What I’m bitching about here is people who say “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
My partner replied, when I was bitching about it: ”What if I love sitting on the couch and watching TV?”
That advice presupposes several things. A. That you have enough savings that you can afford to be jobless while waiting for the money to follow, B. That you have enough capital to start a business involving said thing you love and C. That you love doing something that will command enough for you to live on.
Our room-mate is a fantastic jewelery artist. I love everything she has ever made for me, am jealous of the things that she’s given to others, and she loves doing it.
However… she doesn’t have the capital to set herself up in a shop, or for advertising. She’s doing what she can with Artfire and other sites, local art festivals and vendor fairs, but… Yeah…
I also know a lot of people who create games. Board games, card games, roleplaying games. Games. The majority of those people are happy if they make beer money. Several have lost substantial amounts of money, and even their homes trying to make that gamble pay off.
I guess that’s one nice thing about not having a lot to lose, I don’t have to worry about losing a house, or blowing credit that’s already fucked by student loans and medical bills.
I guess what I’m saying here is that a lot of the “Improve your life” advice out there isn’t for me, or other people like me, you know, the ones who actually need help improving our lives. I read the articles that show up on Yahoo about improving your financial standing, and they really aren’t helping. I don’t need to diversify a portfolio I don’t have, or sell a house I don’t own to buy a smaller one, or even not get the newest model of car. Hell, who is this advice for? Who the hell do they think they’re talking to?
I would love to be able to teach history to eager and interested students with a love for the field. But even if I were to finish my MA, I couldn’t support myself doing it, let alone my partner. I wouldn’t have benefits. If I were lucky, I would be able to get several adjunct positions at several different schools, which would cost me in commuting expenses. Also, as an adjunct, I’d mostly be teaching 101 level survey courses, which I do not really love.
But, hey… That’s my fault for not loving something this culture values, right?