Actually, this desire to ‘be someone’ (referred to in my previous entry) is, I think, the common modern manifestation of the good old search for ‘meaning’ in one’s life. Modern corporations try to elicit passionate commitment to their brand values in their employees by providing a community to which their staff can belong, with accessible bosses, help and training programmes, prizes and so on… and of course, low wages, since once commitment is there, money becomes just that little bit less important to the staff (but not to the company’s shareholders or upper management). See this article about overwork, or Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture is Ruling Our Lives by Madeleine Bunting, a book about how people are encouraged to devote their lives to the company.
Me, I have experienced this kind of commitment to work in the past: I brainwashed myself into working hard for L’Arome, a multi-level perfume sales organization that was around a few years ago (now defunct) and worked really hard, moving up a couple of levels in the pyramid and more-or-less breaking even overall. Then, I went in to a computer venture with a couple of friends and worked hard for that too; we did all right for a while but the market became rather too difficult for us and we decided to quit before it got too late.
Right now, however, I am… minicabbing. Driving an MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle, or ‘People Carrier’). Commitment? I don’t think so. Where will I get any sense of belonging when I’m stuck in a car all day? The hours are long and the money isn’t so great either: if I can bank a couple of hundred pounds after 50-60 hours’ work, I’m doing OK, it seems. And for me, money has always been the key to my commitment: I worked hard in the past in the expectation of future financial rewards. I’m still waiting! 🙂
The minicabbing feels to me like a sort of maintenance work: it will keep my finances ticking over while I think of something better, or until I can pay off my debts and then invest (there’s little point in investing while debts need to be paid). The cab money won’t pay the debts; that’s why I’m selling my house; but it will cover day-to-day expenses. And, I guess, that is the position that most people are in who are doing basic jobs for what is really not much money. They and I need to budget carefully, so that income always exceeds expenditure, no matter how low the income actually is.
And wouldn’t it be good one day if, finally, I could think of some job that I would actually like to do, and that would gain my commitment naturally and effortlessly, and which would in fact pay well?