tim: protest sign: "Down With This Sort of Thing" (politics)
[personal profile] tim
I read a tweet from Neil deGrasse Tyson that someone retweeted in which he says: "Advice to Students: When choosing a career, consider jobs where the idea of a vacation from it repulses you."

I like snorkeling. My job doesn't involve snorkeling. Does that mean I should quit my job and find one that requires snorkeling? I don't think so, because there aren't too many jobs that involve both snorkeling and computer programming, and I like programming too. Maybe there's some marine biology job somewhere that would require me to do both. Well, what about riding my bike? I still wouldn't be able to do that as part of my job. I like many things, and am unlikely to find a job that involves all of them. On the extremely rare occasion that I'm allowed to take a vacation that doesn't involve having surgery, I do things that I like to do that I can't do at work.

I'm poly, which means that when I have relationships, I prefer them to be based on informed consent rather than rigid rules that originate in cis men's need to control everybody else's bodies. That's not necessarily right for everyone, I'm just talking about me. One of the great things about being poly is that I don't have to find a single person who can fulfill all of my needs. I don't expect to be able to do that. So why would I expect one job to fulfill all of my needs?

A worker who doesn't want to take a vacation is a manager's dream come true (and in the Bay Area, it's said that companies like Netflix that have unlimited paid time off actually exert intense informal pressure on workers not to use any of it). Such a worker can potentially make management very happy. I've never heard of a CEO who never took vacations. The people I know who measure their job satisfaction by the number of hours they work are usually software engineers -- people who labor so that other people, generally not working 90-hour weeks, may profit. (It's true that in a startup, people may work long hours in the hope of profiting themselves, but this certainly isn't the norm.)

The US provides workers with the least amount of vacation time in the world. For middle-class Western Europeans, a job with three weeks of paid vacation time -- considered generous in the US -- would be shocking. Does that mean that Europeans who are scientists, engineers, teachers, and doctors love their work less than American scientists, engineers, teachers, and doctors love theirs?

Neil deGrasse Tyson might love his job enough to never take a vacation, but I don't love my job less than he loves his just because I sometimes want to do things that aren't in my job description. Different people are different; liking more things doesn't make a person less virtuous than somebody who likes one thing to the exclusion of all others. Just as we create unrealistic expectations by enforcing lifelong monogamy to the exclusion of all other ways to structure relationships, and teaching young people that they can undoubtedly expect to find just one person who can give them everything they need, we also create unrealistic expectations by teaching the young that they can expect to find one job that they love so much they never want to do anything else.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-05 06:20 am (UTC)
ranyart: (LAZORPIG)
From: [personal profile] ranyart
There's a huge assumption there that most people can find jobs like that. Even if you do your best to prepare to Enter The Field of your choice, that doesn't mean there will be any jobs waiting (NOT THAT I'M BITTER).

Some of the things I love to do most I only love because they're not my job. I love to make food, more than many many other wonderful things in my life, and if I had a culinary job I'd be miserable. And even when I'm at a job I like vacations are great - they give my brain space to think about other things so I can return to work refreshed, or with a different perspective on a problem I gained from having breathing room, or just with a little extra enthusiasm.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-05 07:40 pm (UTC)
ranyart: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ranyart
I certainly feel like there aren't really jobs for me, which is why I'm going to ride this one out as long as I can. =/
I do enjoy it! But I struggle with guilt over "only" working a part-time job (even though it means I can put in a bunch of volunteer hours every week) and the fact that my income contributes almost nothing to household expenses. The wage gap between Enne and I has probably tripled since we moved, since I work fewer hours (albeit for a higher hourly wage) and they make a LOT more than before.
The last time I looked for work here, though, it took me about ten months to find anything, and it's contract work that isn't even local. I don't know what I'd do if I lost this job.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-05 11:20 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I figure bosses reckon the more time people spend at their job the fewer people they have to hire; which means paying people less, and also paying less in people-hiring overheads...

Of course not only is this bad for the people *with* the jobs (as you detail) but also dreadful for people *without* jobs; because there are fewer jobs.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-05 06:14 pm (UTC)
lileyo: A Red-headed Woodpecker, perched on a wooden stump and cocking its head. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lileyo
Really great post. <3

I think there are some pretty gnarly implications here with regards to disability, too. I could find the most beautiful, perfect job in the world for me, and I would still need to take time off sometimes to decompress. Indeed, time off is necessary for me to do my best work. That doesn't mean I've chosen poorly, or that I'm less dedicated than others.

(NDT has unfortunately been tweeting some awful shit lately. I think his celebrity is starting to encourage him to expound on subjects entirely outside his lane. >_<)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-06 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anemone.livejournal.com
Your post made me think of this quote from one of Jane Austen's novels:
"Miss Eliza Bennet," said Miss Bingley, "despises cards. She is a great reader and has no pleasure in anything else."

"I deserve neither such praise nor such censure," cried Elizabeth; "I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things."


I wonder if Neil deGrasse Tyson really meant that it's a virtue to only take pleasure in one thing.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-06 11:39 pm (UTC)
nentuaby: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nentuaby
It is. And it coexists, often in the same host, with the meme that hiring based on hobbies is a great idea. I don't know how.

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