Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Mockingbird: Dream Jobs, Labors of 'Love' and exploited 20-somethings

http://www.mbird.com/2013/03/dream-jobs-labors-of-love-and-exploited-20-somethings/

When the comic book author Gerard Jones was asked about what it was like for him to write for Green Lantern, the comic book superhero he dreamed of writing comics about when he was a callow youth, Jones provided a warning to anyone in the comics industry that might be applicable to just about anyone else.

FEAR YOUR DREAM JOB!

That was a simple summation of his warning.  His explanation was that for a comics author or artist if you get to write for that iconic comics character for one of the big two (let the reader understand) the editorial policies will be so stringent you won't likely be allowed to do anything you really want to do and even if you do get to do a few of the things you dreamed of doing then, rest assured, it'll all get ret-conned inside of a few years.  How weird does it get?  For the uninitiated, when Emma Stone fielded a question about what her version of Gwen Stacy might face in Sony's Spiderman sequels she said something like, "As far as I know I won't be having goblin babies."  Again, let the reader understand!

It may be difficult to get a job if you say up front you just want a job.  Most of the time it doesn't work ... and yet ...

There was a job I got more than a decade ago in which I was asked what I wanted from the job.  I was pretty candid.  I was looking for a job and was perilously low on money and was willing to learn whatever I needed to learn.  I also said I wanted a day job I could simply leave at home so that I could spend time with my friends and family and build a creative life.  Fortunately for me the people who interviewed me liked that approach and it turned out my boss had himself downshifted from a higher paying job to be able to spend more time with his family and have more flexibility in his scheduling.  That was more than a decade ago, though, and things may be different now, kinda.

Not every person's job is going to be what some would call a vocation.  For a lot of people a job really is just a job and that's all it needs to be.  I'm glad to have had jobs that were just jobs for me and I'm glad I got advice decades ago from a professor who taught me in many classes that she sensed I'd be the kind of person who would find it difficult to separate work life from normal life, a separation that would be necessary to maintain for emotional and social health.  I got the impression my professor had learned the importance of this lesson by having failed at it in an earlier stage of her life, or at least that's the impression I admit I have now. 

So, for whatever little or much it may be worth, be willing to fear your dream job, Gerard Jones found out the dream job he always wanted was a nightmare.  People may not even know his name for his work on Green Lantern as for his hilarious and clever English-language adaptations of work by Rumiko Takahashi. 

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