Good Jobs and Selling Out

The judgments we cast on work

Simon Pitt

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Find something you love, they say, and you’ll never work a day in your life. But I wonder how practical this advice is. For a start, there aren’t many jobs as full-time caramel yogurt eaters. And after a while, even my favorite yogurts would lose their appeal. Then there’s the fact most work mainly consists of things that aren’t the core job. The emails, the paperwork, the reports, the conferences about the latest caramel yogurts, phoning IT when you can’t get into the caramel yogurt scheduling system which only works in Internet Explorer, logging timesheets and expenses reports and enduring the “water-cooler moments” with Gary from chocolate yogurts who is annoyed he isn’t paid as much as Steve in strawberry. Work is work because it is work.

But still, we classify jobs in different ways. There are teachers and stockbrokers. Artists and management consultants. Musicians and bus drivers. Comedians and arms manufacturers. Some jobs we do for money, others we do, supposedly, for other reasons.

“What do you do?” we ask each other. We mean economically. We mean: where can I place you on the economic scale. How should I judge the decisions you have made? As Armando Iannucci quipped in The Armando Iannucci Shows, when we’re asked what we do, “We say ‘I’m a postman’ or ‘I’m a bus conductor,’ not, ‘I get…

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Simon Pitt

Media techie, software person, and web-stuff doer. Head of Corporate Digital at BBC, but views my own. More at pittster.co.uk