Wednesday, March 30, 2005

the joy of part time work

This is from Keri Smith

"The new issue of Bust is out. In it you will find an article in which I was interviewed by the talented Michelle Goodman, entitled "Wage Slaves -Day job schemes for girls with arty dreams". I haven't read it yet, but we spoke at length about managing a part-time job (and in some cases full-time) and still finding time to create, free-lance or even run your own business. I got very excited about the subject, having done it myself quite a bit (I worked at a bookstore part-time for the first five years of my career). In many ways I still find myself in the position of balancing making a living with doing the work I really want to do. Some of my regular free-lance work can be at times trying, and lacking in personal meaning. Though I do my best to find ways to make it my enjoyable, (experimenting with new ideas, mediums, colors, etc). And in between I work incessantly on my personal projects, (books, products, etc.) I do find myself in new position of seemingly attracting free-lance work that I really enjoy, (products, and articles I respond to, natural healing, children's stuff, etc.), as opposed to the usual slew of computer articles, or business related imagery (which is admittedly not me).
One of the things I mentioned in the interview was the fact that in many ways having part-time work can actually fuel one's urge to create, (granted one needs to preserve the energy to do it, working in a job that is not entirely draining physically and emotionally). I can remember jotting down ideas while working at the bookstore and being so excited to run home to start a project. My days off became precious gifts, and I never took that time for granted. I believe it had the effect of taking some pressure off, you don't have time to think too much about what you want to create when you only have a few hours, you just do it. Sometimes too much time can be a hindrance.
An appropriate quote to this effect from "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi (which I'm loving by the way),
"It is amazing how, when all possibilities seem to be taken away from you, the minutest opening can become a great freedom."

What I think people crave more than anything else is time.

Also what I have observed is that once hated jobs become quite bearable when they are part time - instantaneously one is removed from the dreaded office politics. There is time to either pursue your own passions or creative projects. Many people are terrified to go part time and can't see a way of living on less money. But time and time again I've found that the money balances out. Less money is spent on convenience, take always, more stuff is cooked from scratch and the perpetual buying of expensive magazines, and other crap to treat oneself for a job sucking up ones life abates.

Other ways to gain time

Give up TV (all right then try it for a week)
Give up internet!
Give up automatically agreeing to social activities. Say you need to check your diary first and will get back to them. Decide whether it really would be a joy to spend time with that person or to spend time on a creative pursuit.