What Shall I Do?

For a little while I’ve been considering what I would like to do if I didn’t do what I was doing. I don’t really like doing what I do. It doesn’t do it for me.

What jobs are out there? Many, many of them, unhelpful people say. But a new job is hard to come by, a sensitive, frustrated worker who really needs a haircut will say back, with a sigh, only to be met with soothing phrases about the abilities said hirsute honest toiler possesses. And when he repeats that there actually aren’t many opportunities available, the circular conversation inevitably descends into comments like: “all you have to do is try”. That’s not very constructive. It’s name calling, in fact – even if true, in some ways.

So, rather than dwell on the range of vacancies available in newspapers and online (although I still consult these wastelands) I decided to construct my own job, with a view to investigating whether it was possible to actually make a living from pursuing activities which I want in my heart of hearts to absorb myself with. Could I create my own position description? That would be groovy. (Not sure I’ve described anything as that before.)

What are the things I like to do – as that’s what this question is really asking: what do you like to do, and are good at, and can you be gainfully employed doing that, or something like it? Well, I like to read. Professional readers – proof readers, those who work for publishing companies, those who master briefs as political or legal assistants – can all read fast. I, unfortunately, read very slowly. I like to think that I’m somehow savouring the writing more than those who can knock off a 200-page novel in one afternoon. And maybe I do. But I think this line is instructive in this case, as I want to taste the words, roll them around in my mind and my mouth, say them out loud even, sometimes – in short I want to read what I want to read, and I want to enjoy it. If it suddenly became apparent that I could read in a machine like, efficient way, I wouldn’t like it. It would feel like the death of something within me. And the idea of offering this new gift of mine, at a price, for whomever chose to engage it fills me with uncomfortable sensations in lounge area of my comfort zone. That wouldn’t be a good thing to at all. For me, anyway.

Other things I like seem to conform to a fairly predictable pattern: they are things which can be done alone. It’s not that I don’t like people. I just want to be able to get away, and I don’t wish to be surrounded by them all the time and be forced to conform to their petty rules. Perhaps all rules are petty – petty and rules go well together.

Surfing the net. Yes, apparently there are supposed “employment opportunities” where good money can be made in this line. It all seems bloody dodgy to me. A bit like telly marketing on yourself or something. Reading the paper doesn’t have much gainful employment potential, which is a shame. The two things I think I would like to do, is gambling and gardening.

The gambling I’m talking about is not the casino kind, and definitely not the poker machine kind – that’s a mug’s game. What I mean is betting on sporting events, doing as much research as is possible to put your money on a team, individual, or animal – horse, dog, whatever – with a good chance of success, to spread the risk and cover for failure, to bet large amounts on likely outcomes, remain informed and profit from that information. I won some money when interest rates went up in March. I figured that not rising in February meat there was a good chance it would happen the next month. Then Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens gave a speech virtually admitting that they were going to raise the rates or at least were thinking about it and I gave a little internal cheer. So it’s not only sporting events which can make you some money. But it mostly is.

Laetitia thinks gambling is a hobby and doubts whether one can generate an income from it. She didn’t believe me when she heard the explanation. Well, not entirely.

And the gardening I envisage is tending a greenhouse. Quietly going about my business, spending time with the plants in an attempt to feel their needs as far as watering, sunshine, and fertiliser. It’s a liberating and calm thing to contemplate, and I would love to do it. Only problem is most of what I know I know from feel or instinct, so convincing a greenhouse owner that I’m their man would be difficult. Unless I get my own greenhouse …

Yes, that’s the other option: become super-wealthy overnight. Buy the property you want to live in, do the activities you wish to do, no more work. In the absence of that I’ll take professional gambler in the morning and gardener in the afternoon.

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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