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Dream Job Nightmare – by Justyna

12 Feb

I am not as excited about this topic as the other Flingers. This aspect of my life still evokes cringing mechanisms in my gut. Since I am at a stage at the moment of the grass is greener in Australia, I am also in a half-arsed blaming mood of well if I only stayed in Sydney I would have an awesome job. Hmpf. Or the alternative, if only we’d settled in Warsaw instead of Krakow… or, I really should have concentrated on climbing the career ladder instead of going to craft school.

I don’t particularly want to get into the nitty of it all, mainly because it’s boring and self-indulgent whining. I’ll just say this, I am living in a place that does not have the best employment market, a place where employees are still highly disposable and the real aspect of HR is still not fully understood. Getting a good job that pays well, that you’re half happy with where your boss is not an absolute dick, is a rarity for most in this town. The financial question was something I never had to consider much in Sydney. But the stark reality of making decent money is in the foreground for the majority of my friends here in Krakow. Which is a shame, because when you’re in your early thirties, it really should no longer be a prime concern.

But let’s get back to the dream job. If I could turn back time (and my dad was not a semi-pressing migrant wanting ‘the dream life’ for his only child) I would have never done law. Well, I would have done it only for the academic pleasure of it and for the amazing lecturers that stirred my insides with new thoughts and arguments. I.e. I would only have done it for fun. What I really should have done at uni was urban planning. In fact, after finishing law, I should have just gone back to uni and done urban planning as an add on and things would be grand. And I wouldn’t have to do this LLM on EU law that I am doing this very moment, to keep myself attractive for the Polish employers. I would instead be thinking of what new green area to develop in the congested Krakow and where the next scenic yet viable bike path should be created in town.

I have to go now. After wiping Julek’s butt and writing this already late post, my paper on the division of competences between the EU and the Member States awaits. And the ol’ brain just ‘ain’t workin’ like it used to…


Dream Job – by Karen

9 Feb

My dream job is Hot Visual Artist and Medical Researcher who Eliminates Poverty by Singing.

I think I could probably end the post there. I think all the poignancy of my relationship with jobs and career is captured. The mismatch of actual talents and interests. The unattainable standard of worthiness.

I have not done so badly. I have had jobs that paid well. I have used them to pay rent and save for a deposit on a property. I have made wonderful friends. I have even had jobs that would be other people’s dream job. But I never felt the slightest bit of lasting satisfaction and ended up fairly desperate to leave most of them.

After boiling it all down, after angsting for years, after becoming more financially secure, after enjoying and succeeding in Not Working (a meaner task than you’d imagine), I’ve come to the conclusion that there is still something realistic that I want from the working world.

By the end of my life I want to be able to say that I used my abilities (fairly) optimally to make the world a better place, while still enjoying my life and being a very hands-on parent. At least I have a mission statement these days. I can’t be a fundraiser for a charity; I can’t be a features editor for NRMA Open Road. I’m skilled for the one and feel the other is worth my time (you can guess the order). Most of my jobs in the past have been taken out of a combination of urgency to be independent and have an income, excitement that I am able to get the jobs and some meager portion of ego gratification/self-image confirmation. With those motivations less pressing, I should be able to come closer to satisfaction in future.

For now I’m enormously satisfied with motherhood and with my volunteer work. My writing job is more like those other jobs I’ve mentioned – I took it to earn some money (in fact for a charitable project, a little bit satisfying there, after all), and I continue doing it because it seems to make people happy when they ask me what I do. My volunteer work interests about three people I know. It’s a shocking and hideous thing about people that they only value paid work. The unspoken assumption being that if you’re doing unpaid work, it’s because you’re too incompetent to be paid.

Getting back to the parenting bit. Of all the things people said to me right after I had my first, newborn baby, one of them springs to mind. Most people asked if the baby slept, was I tired, how much household help did I have, or expressed cliches about how “they don’t come with a manual”. But not Tabitha Carvan. She said, “and… do you find you’re just a naturally excellent mother?” I’m not sure how she knew just the perfect, ridiculous, tongue in cheek question to ask. But without hesitation I answered, “Yes! I do!” Because it’s a fact that astonishes me in its naturalness and its insusceptibility to  my dogged deprecation. So there’s that.

Dream job by Beth

7 Feb

Oh the sweet irony of picking this topic this week. Our organisation’s CEO announced a re-structure this week, and I spent this afternoon reading all the documents trying to figure out what it will mean for me and my team. I spent last night dreaming about the imminent arrival of a tidal wave that would kill me and everyone I knew. Connected? Yes. Who knew I cared so much?

I totally agree with Tabs that uncoupling the words “dream” and “job” from one another is a good move. It’s a very grown-up thing to do I think. Some people don’t need to uncouple them, but they are both rare and lucky and usually fucking hardworking and good at living on the smell of an oily rag.

The job I had before I went on maternity leave was great because I believed in the project and loved my co-workers, but the work itself wasn’t deeply satisfying or creatively fulfilling. I think the reason that the Apocalypse came to me in my dream last night was because I really love the part-time job I have at the moment. It’s creative and big picture and I am free to manage my own time most of the time. When you’re part-time you’re more vulnerable to job losses and changing of duties and I’m shit-scared this could happen to me. So, I count myself lucky that the job I have at the moment is: a) 2 days a week b) decent pay c) interesting d) a break from the monotony of parenthood e) creative f) leaves me with energy to pursue my own projects. I so hope none of these things change.

Now, to the “dream” part. Right now I’m in pre-production for my first radio documentary, in part thanks to the absolute arse whacking I got from Justyna (I loved that arse whacking BTW). I’m also making a recipe book for Tabitha. Small-medium projects are what works for me right now, and actually that’s a good thing because pre-Leo I would try to start bigger things and end up not finishing them. He’s also cleaved a lot of the perfectionism out of me – nothing like repeated contact with bodily fluids to take you right down to Earth.

My dream job – by Tabitha

7 Feb

So, I’m back, and more married than ever.

Thank you to all the other flingers for their contribution to this great marital happiness. You are all very dear friends to me.

But let’s get back to business.

I am currently doing what I’ve always thought was my Dream Job right now, and it pleased me greatly to put it on my marriage certificate: writer. Nathan wrote “project officer”. Pffft. I’m already winning at this marriage.

I have wanted to be a writer for a long time. When I was in Year 6 I wrote a book about a killer shark entirely in rhyming verse, which my teacher deemed so awesome that it was put into the school library, with a library card and everything, so that people could borrow it, which I’m sure absolutely no-one did. But it was a motherf*cking legacy, yo.

A few years later I had another book with my name on it in the library. This time it was the National Library, and the publication was my Britpop fanzine Chester (it’s still there!). There must be some poor sod at the NLA who has to collect and document every publication produced in the country, even those ones made by fifteen year-olds and sold at Red Eye Records. Why didn’t he find my rhyming shark book too, eh? Slack.

At this point in my life, my illustrious writing career ebbed. Was it a coincidence that this happened during my Bachelor of Media (Print Media)? No, it was not. That degree taught me two things: 1) Writing about things you’re not interested in, because you have to is really, really boring, and 2) Writing is a very poorly-paid career with limited opportunities in Australia. I didn’t want to be a writer anymore.

But in every one of the ten years following graduation, during which time I loved pretty much all my jobs and even ended up with a “career” somehow, it was always there, that niggling thought that writing is the thing I should have been doing. I scored another entry in the database of the National Library thanks to Nosey In Newtown, which was selected for preservation for its heritage value, but whatevs, every man and his dog has a blog, right? It doesn’t make you a writer.

This brings me to the last year or so of my life, which has been about eradicating once and for all that big “what if” and doing exactly what I should. I have written every day, I have maintained two published columns, as well as an online column, and a blog, and this blog too for a while now. I have published articles and been paid enough to cover the rent. I’ve been working away at my own bits and bobs. About six months in, I stopped writing “Housewife” on my Customs declaration form, and started writing “Writer”. Unashamedly.

It’s been a truly satisfying and exciting experience. To actually enact the answer to the question “what would you do if you didn’t have to work for a year?” is a rare and luxurious thing, and I’m proud of what I’ve done with that opportunity. I’m thrilled to bits every time someone comments or emails or stops me in the grocery store to tell me that I’ve made them laugh. Sounds like a dream job, right?

Well, for me, no. Because I’ve learned two lessons: 1) Writing about things you’re not interested in, because you have to is really, really boring, and 2) Writing is a very poorly-paid career with limited opportunities in Australia.

Oh, make that three lessons: 3) I’m a slow learner.

It turns out I was right ten years ago. Writing is what I’m best at, and it should be what I’m doing, but not for work: just for fun.

It’s been awesome while it’s lasted, especially in this country where every paltry dollar earned goes so much further, but do I want to return to Australia and scrounge around for work writing things I’m not interested in for the NRMA Open Road magazine, just so I can call myself a writer? Hell, no.

Instead, I’m going to go back into one of those jobs I’ve always enjoyed before, for both the work and the pay, and – I hope – I’m going to continue being a writer on the side. And unlike before, I’m not going to beat myself up about that. It might have taken me ten years to rediscover what I already knew about writing, but I think I finally understand an important point I missed before: you can have a “dream” and you can have a “job” co-existing as two separate aspects to your life, and that’s just as worthy an aspiration as finding the two combined in one.