Wednesday, May 6, 2015

“Jobular” Vein

Do your part, fulfill some destiny, get a job, and satisfy society. Asking the impossible? By what criteria do you claim success? How do you determine this miracle has occurred? Important conditions must be met. Have walked on water, though it was frozen at the time, and stood on Brook loath to serve. Farmers routinely turn bean into bounty, dirt into dollars, mush into wine, and seed into loaves that feed multitudes. What can wordsmiths do to compare with completing such life sustaining equations?

Writing isn’t a job, it’s an avocation. The universe chooses those who do. If you question whether it's for you, you'll never compete with millions of others already wordsmithing for fee or free. You need no permission even when forbidden by decree. Just open a vein to bleed onto page after page. Can’t expect pay, yet must earn the right and like to write about the bike fight. Unless you’ve completed centuries or multi-day tours, have ridden as profession, recreation and transportation, mastered bicycle handling and wrenching, and sustained injuries, what more can you offer that hasn’t already been said? Labann surveys bicycling counterculture because it’s ongoing and underreported, though has to carefully select news to not repeat yours.

With 135 million titles lying unread in The Library of Congress, why would anyone want to add to this dust collection? The best distributed book in history has been The Holy Bible, all you need to get by among puritanical westerners, though Book of Mormon, Quran and Red Book of Mao vie for devotion. Writing sermons is still writing. In fact, clerics and preachers have an interested audience, more than most writers, who struggle to attract their own tribe. About 75% of writing involves mainly unsuccessful marketing, so you’ll spend 10 years creating a masterpiece that won't circulate before you're dead, mimicking evangelists, therefore wasting time better spent earning. Writing without a signed book deal is about as good an opportunity as winning a lottery. Doesn't deter gamblers or wannabe novelists, though you'd do well to doubt their sanity.

Borne out by historical records and media news, last economic recession directly resulted from conservative austerity measures. Dubya’s dopey domestic policy of tax cuts for the affluent put millions of workers on the dole, for which states have been unable to raise revenues. Declaring government doesn’t make jobs condemned millions of people to poverty. He lied. Government does make jobs. In fact, federal agencies constitute the nation’s largest employer. States also account for 20% of local jobs, more than any single private company. Only small businesses taken collectively rival government for job creation. Where else will a Wolverine Mario [shown] temporarily rack your ride? Corporate welfare winds up as class warfare, taxes collected from middle class redirected to the rich. Better to hire public servants since cuts in corporate surveillance cause many a consumer calamity.

Was managing editor of a newswire, but that dried up. Then published a book and started a blog. Skilled wordsmiths compete with unschooled commentary tapping hot topics on social media. News, per se, is passé. People only ever followed it to inform decisions. Trend has been for immediate televised coverage that isn't necessarily up to journalistic standards. Talking heads pump a story until viewer share diminishes. Followup with facts has been supplanted with sensationalized infotainment. As far as printed stories, some publishers are reviving local reporting for smaller targeted audiences, so they can sell classified ads to neighborhood merchants rather than national brands who focus on television commercials. This requires local spokespeople who know the turf, but all shares of small pies will always be crumbs.

Job offers over a career arc represent a bell curve. You'll struggle in 20’s through Catch 22, no experience off which to springboard. By 35 you will get most offers; choose wisely. After 45, plan on becoming an entrepreneur since few will hire you. Not even fast food joints bite if you've had any business experience; you're a threat to teenage hiring managers. From 55 to 65 you supposedly manage amassed fortune, survive stints in a contingent workforce, or take whatever comes in. After 65 you might learn a craft, glue or sew, and sell at a mall show, while waiting for retirement checks government might bestow. Thirtysomethings would rather claw the eyes out of rivals than make do with this malthusian inevitability. Heaven help whoever isn’t fit after grinding adversaries and sniggering at cycling, since whatever he or she amassed won’t cover 6 months of medical bills. Or you could ride your bike to a state mandated meeting meant to improve your employability.

“To hell with unemployment: I think it’s a fine thing. I like sleeping all day and having nothing to do but read, write and sleep whenever I feel tired... In short, I think it’s a fine situation for a man to be in: provided, of course, that he has enough money to eat and pay the rent. I don’t... and therefore I must work: but what the hell? Is it something to cry and pray for forgiveness about? Is it some sort of heinous shame, some great soul-sucking agony for which universal pity is the only cure?... eviction is second only to hunger as the dirtiest word in the dictionary.”—Hunter Thompson, late and unrepentant slacker, 1958

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