The Union of My State: Happiness Is A (Warm) Unexplored Possibility

Posted on February 3, 2010

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Have you ever had this kind of experience?

You suddenly find yourself in the bedroom. You don’t know how or why you got there. A minute ago you were focussed on something important in the living room. Now you aren’t sure where your pants are or what exactly you are planning to do with the lemon. Or the screwdriver.

Two weeks ago, I came very close to taking a job I didn’t want or need.

For my job search, I set very precise “wage-slave” criteria. On the one extreme, I will work in the arts and take whatever pay I can get. On the other, I will work in another field if it pays a lot, tough it out, and save some money for my artistic projects.

The job on-offer fit neither of these criteria. Yet, I was a hair’s breadth from taking it.

What was I thinking? To be honest, I really don’t know.

My best guess is the situation emerged the same way the final line in a game of telephone emerges: from a number of minor but accumulating miscommunications. Like the last kid in a game of telephone, I knew I was about to speak nonsense but the logic of the situation dictated I say it anyway.

“Keep burger in margarine because pancakes make timely honey.” Or, “yes, I accept the offer. I can start tomorrow.”

Fortunately, I talked to Wayne (of the Many Faces). He convinced me that I should at least negotiate a better contract. I imagined the circumstances under which I could happily accept the position. I made a counteroffer.

When I woke up the next morning dreading the possibility that my counteroffer had been accepted, I realized this job wasn’t for me. As luck would have it, my offer was not accepted and the company broke off negotiations.

The happy result of this near disaster is that it reminded me of the value of talking to friends about important decisions. Even I need some external input every once and awhile — probably more often than I think.

It also helped clarify something important for me: I don’t want a fucking job.

Now, let me be clear: I don’t mean I don’t want to work. I probably do more work than 95% of the people out there who have jobs.

What I mean is that I don’t want to waste my time warming a desk, punching a time card, or pretending I care. I don’t want to be forced to ask permission to take a long lunch or to work late. I don’t want to spend my life waiting in line for the chance to perch atop an institution that is already asphyxiating under its own weight.

I want to write, perform, create, and contribute to my community on my own terms. I want to eat, drink, and shit the fruits of labor that I actually give a damn about. I want to help other people do the same. I want to live artfully.

The internet and social media changes everything. We are living in a historical moment of unprecedented opportunity. We can reinvent theatre, the arts, everything — even our very understanding of community.

I want to make the most of this opportunity.

Now economic reality may set it. At some point, I may need to get a job-job. That’s fine. By treating it as a measure of last and final resort, I open a world of unexplored possibility and opportunity. And that makes me happy.

So, who’s with me. 🙂

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Posted in: My Life