“Do what you love” disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is a privilege, a sign of socioeconomic class. Even if a self-employed graphic designer had parents who could pay for art school and co-sign a lease for a slick Brooklyn apartment, she can bestow DWYL as career advice upon those covetous of her success.
If we believe that working as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a museum publicist or a think-tank acolyte is essential to being true to ourselves, what do we believe about the inner lives and hopes of those who clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores? The answer is: nothing.
Yeah, my inner life today is no richer than it was when I worked at Steak ‘n Shake.
I don’t think we should measure the value of a person’s professional life by whether they have esteemed or lucrative work. The best formulation of professional value I’ve come across is from Tim O’Reilly: “Do things that need doing.”
Stocking shelves? Needs doing. Serving food? Needs doing. Collecting garbage? Needs doing. Editing wikipedia pages? Needs doing. Figuring out how to maximize fees on checking accounts? Doesn’t need doing. Engaging trolls on the Internet? Doesn’t need doing. Volunteering at animal shelters? Needs doing.
Ultimately, for me at least, the measure of work’s value is not expressed best by money or love. The question is whether something that needs to be done is getting done.
(just between you and me, if mia farrow had in fact coached her daughter to accuse woody allen of raping her, if mia farrow had gone completely insane and was manipulating her daughter to ruin the life of her ex-partner, I’m not sure I would blame her.
yes, woody allen is not soon-yi previn’s father in any conventional sense, but soon-yi previn is unequivocally mia farrow’s daughter. and if the guy I’d left my husband for and started a new family with began to take nude photos of my 16 year-old daughter, if I found those photos cold, with no warning, if that guy then started fucking my daughter and if that guy then said he wanted to leave me for my daughter, I’m not sure I would be any more normal than mia farrow.
if mia farrow has been irradiated by Phèdre-level family strain, it would not be difficult to identify with her distress.
but this is not a parsable situation. it’s the j.g. ballard wonder years. the fact that you’re having trouble with it means that you are a normal person who is being slowly gaslighted by our psychotic media, as it insists that this situation is simple when it is not.
if you think you understand this family, you are either fooling yourself or admitting that relationships of blood and love can be a great deal more complicated than is generally assumed or permitted.)
And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everybody look and feel like shit.