I’m a Writer

Dec 6, 2014 by

          When I was employed and people asked me what I did, I answered that I was working for a travel company while saving for Europe. I’d follow up with the fact that I wrote a blog called The Happiness Experiment. Now that I’m not working, I answer that I’m unemployed. As I did before, I go on to say that I write a blog called The Happiness Experiment. After all, employed or unemployed, that’s what I really do. Why is it though, if write is what I really do, that it’s not my initial response? Honest answer? It’s because I don’t make money by writing. It has been engrained in me to answer the question of what I do with the activity that generates my income. Even though I had no pride in my job and quickly brushed it off to talk about my writing, I still mentioned it first. Now that I don’t have a job, I lead with my employment status. I bet you do the same. I bet that even if there is something you do that you are far more passionate about than your job, it is mentioned second to your job, if you mention it at all. Society (I love blaming our nonsensical, automated practices on society, because doing so is totally valid given that society raised us) has convinced us that we are our incomes. What makes us money is supposedly who we are. Ugh, I’m so irritated at myself for falling for this crap without even realizing it. The things we do willingly, without money as our motivation, are much better reflections of who we are.

          Think about it from a dating perspective. You don’t care as much about what potential partners do to make money as you do about their character. Not only are extracurricular activities better demonstrations of character than work, they’re more fun to talk about. Who do you find more interesting, the people that go on and on about their jobs or the people who forget about their jobs because they’re so happily consumed by other things? I’m assuming you answered the latter, because this question is rhetorical. Who the fuck wants to date someone else’s job? For all you workaholics, the answer is no one – maybe other workaholics, but mostly no one. The only exception to work being uninteresting conversation is when a person’s work is his or her passion.

          For the record, I’m not one to talk much about work on dates or when meeting new people. I’d much rather discuss topics of interest, because I’d much rather get to know people for who they really are. Even so, I’m guilty of mentioning my employment status first when asked what I do. I’m going to reverse that. I am not a job title when employed or a blank when unemployed, and neither are you. From now on, I will state what I really do before mentioning my job/job status. I encourage you to do the same, because damage control is in order.

          Until this point, I’ve avoided calling myself a writer in social contexts. I can think of only one time I’ve referred to myself as such in conversation. It was said in passing in response to someone’s correction of a Facebook status I had posted with a mistake. I joked that my typo had made me look like a writer that couldn’t edit. Even in joking context, my use of the word to describe myself stressed me out. Without money backing my writing, calling myself a writer felt like a misrepresentation. Really, talking employment first is the misrepresentation. It makes me sound like I have no value outside of a paycheque. It makes me sound like I have no distinctiveness. It makes me sound like I have no passion. None of this is true. I write. That’s what I do. I write every day regardless of my employer or lack thereof. Money or no money, that makes me a writer. That’s who I am. What do you do? Who are you really?

Happiness Tip: You are not your job.

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