A Job’s Place

I only vaguely subject myself to what’s going on in the news; you can argue that it’s perhaps to my detriment, but in fairness most newspapers are written at a lower grade level and there’s the issue of pandering with news shows so it seems like the kind of argument that—like most in the Harrington Residence—should be tabled unless there are glasses of wine present. I generally find that most news segment uninterest me. 

But I was in the gym the other day, and I was watching CNN over some woman’s shoulder a few rows ahead of me (by the way, how can anyone watch television while they’re bouncing around? And when the screen’s only a foot away from their face? If I did that at home, my parents would have killed me), and they were talking about creating more jobs and job security and how terrible it is to be jobless. 

And, while it certainly is, I thought, how come they’re not talking about careers? Why not create more careers? What about career security? It’s possible to have a job and not a career, but can anyone have a career without a job? Doesn’t that just make them…unemployed?

A career path seems to me so much more complex and complicated—so much more long-term—than a job, that I think it’s worth at least considering. I’ve traditionally thought of it in terms of being a writer, because there is no time of day, no second of my life where I’m no longer a writer; there isn’t a moment in which I’ve turned that part of myself off. And the same could be said for other art forms, but it could even be said for the sciences, right? Once a biologist, always a biologist? The nuances of thinking and the way that they look at the world doesn’t all of a sudden go away if they’re bagging groceries or serving lattes. 

I remember reading, although it’s definitely an old statistic now, that the average American has 7 jobs in their lifetime. But the statistic said nothing about where those 7 jobs might fit in the average career arch. A whole constellation of titles on a CV, but could those stars add up to something?

And then the woman changed the channel.