For the last couple years I have been pondering career. A lot. I have thrown out the idea many times that 80% of people don’t like the job they have but they are a needed part of making everything work. This is the similar excuse I used when I wasn’t trying to be artistic or dream while working a dead end office job.
“Someone has to send overpriced and over-marketed products around the country”
It was also this thinking that gave me just a little bit of pride when I started working a blue collar, unionized service job.
But I don’t think I think that anymore.
While walking with Junior to a local South Asian market the other day, I noticed how many people were out and about not working and starting overthinking and making stories for them. I profiled them by clothing and language. Some by the language they spoke, but most by the language they used…around a 20 month old, “Come on Trent!”
This happened again when I went to a children friendly café for music time yesterday. I noticed how many parents were there with just one child…like me. And how they interacted with said child. Again I profiled by clothing and language. This time almost entirely by the words they used. Some looked exhausted enough to be stay at home parents. They wore hoodies and flannel mostly. Others might have been au pairs or nannies because they talked about dreams of travel and more kids. And shopped at a mall it seemed. And a few others were awkwardly wrangling a child on an awkward day away from their office. And had collars on their shirts.
Which has led me to wonder if we in Portland and most other cities have reached a carrying capacity. We have a lot of stores, shops, restaurants, businesses and homes that all seem to stay filled. They all seem to have the needed workers and clientele, because if they didn’t have that mix they wouldn’t exist right? So instead of having to sweep and mop floors, or answer phone calls, or pick up garbage, some people latch hook the Golden Girls for coffee shop art. Others run the 600th coffee shop in town or third neighborhood bar or newest fine dining establishment.
Which makes me think about the word need. I see a lot that is needed in the city and world and it doesn’t seem to be getting talked about. How I thought we needed service people and just appreciated artistic sections of town, now I wonder if they are all just doing these artistic jobs to survive. If we have created a culture that needs stuff because someone needs jobs at the Container Store (Google George Carlin) or if it really did happen in reverse. If we create jobs because we have created greed that forces housing and food to be so expensive the blue collar service work can’t survive. It makes me question whether 80% of people are doing needed jobs, or if we have created a society so consumed with wealth and more money that some need to be unemployed for someone else to have a job at the unemployment office.
I don’t have a conclusion. Do you?