‘Get a real job.’
Four words than can horrifically undermine efforts, struggles, self-belief.
Four words that are thrown about in a bid to one-up and simultaneously destroy.
In 2018, riding the wave that is the internet age, where globalisation, innovation, and technology are making ardent strides into the unknown, where political tensions are exacerbated by the fact Twitter exists, and people get their news via facebook rather than at 6 o’clock; yet somehow there is still the notion that there are, in fact, real jobs and not real jobs.
Those imaginary jobs.
You know, the ones where people think that exposure, or the chance to be entered into a competition to maybe win something, where there is no mutual benefit, really, but a heavy skew towards one party, is acceptable payment.
Yet people still want art in their lives and entertainment at their fingertips.
People still want movies and TV and things to watch on the internet.
They want new ideas and new products and new things to consume.
Get a real job.
A job, a well paying job.
A job that also, now, requires a minimum of two years experience in a related field but is advertised as ‘entry level’ or ‘graduate’. A job where the experience has to be at another workplace, maybe an internship (unpaid) that somehow miraculously wasn’t only a month, but was also close to your uni and didn’t require you to miss any classes.
A job that only just covers your rent, after all the deductions, and doesn’t leave much for hobbies or travel.
A job, a ‘this is a stop-gap job to help me follow my dreams’ job.
That comes with questions every day of whether or not this is your career. That comes with arsey customers if it’s retail, and exhaustion even if it’s not. A job that gives enough free time to go to classes and castings and studios, or stay at home and work on that dream of yours, but a job that also comes with hidden pity and mildly masked concern.
That makes you wince when you need to up your hours, or ask for help, or push through another night to do the thing you want to do. A job that enables but also disables.
A job, a ‘job that is a career but is also exhausting’ job.
That comes with the money, but not the time to enjoy the money that you’re earning. That comes with high levels of stress but so much familial pride that you’re doing something with your life. You’re making a professional name for yourself in a sector that is held in high regard. But the hours are long and it’s a constant balance of scales. But it’s a ‘good job’ job.
It baffles me how the mindset of ‘real’ jobs is still so prevalent. We all know that when someone says a ‘real job’ they’re talking about some traditional form of employment. A ‘you work for someone or something else’ arrangement, or something that is visible or tangible, or a position that is high-powered and well paid. It baffles me, because so many companies that are deemed even mildly successful today, started in that not so ‘real’ category, or as an escape route from the founders own ‘real’ job.
But I guess that these companies go into more ‘real job’ fields. Law firms, private doctors surgeries, retail, hospitality, so they perpetuate the cycle and create more of these perceived ‘real jobs’. But even then, historically, all of these ‘traditional’ jobs have had to go through phases where even they weren’t considered true professions. But that was when it was a breakaway from farming and woodcutting and electricity wasn’t around.
What I don’t understand, however, is the backlash that comes when someone says that they’re a blogger or that they make videos on youtube for a job. Part of the reason all of these slightly sickly terms that essentially all mean ‘someone who puts stuff on the internet’ exist is because trying to find a socially acceptable way to say ‘I’m someone who puts stuff on the internet for a living’ is nigh on impossible.
There is always some follow up, or some addition to clarify or justify the job that, for many now, puts food on the table and keeps the bills and taxes paid – way more transparently than a lot of other jobs currently do so. Just because that content isn’t always attached to a larger publication group, or the money isn’t passing through a multitude of hands before it hits the person who made it, doesn’t reduce it as a job.
Though I guess that until we, as a society, stop snubbing children who say they want to be an actor, or a dancer, or a musician, or a model, or now a blogger or youtuber, when they grow up, we’re not going to get very far on the whole acceptance thing.
I’d love to hear what you think constitutes a ‘real’ job. Or how long it will take for the blogger to become a socially accepted career? Or is it doomed to stay in the ‘hobby’ realm forever?
(p.s: there’s a new video over on my youtube channel if you want to check it out, in the spirit of internet real job-ness)