Sunday, May 2, 2021

Labor Day: Am I unemployed? It's complicated.


So yesterday was Labor Day, which begged the question: What am I to celebrate? Am I - gulp - unemployed? Actually, it's complicated. Sometime in 2006 I was working as an advisor to a professor at a very reputed university in Lebanon, the professor in question looked at me and said "you know you are on your way to become unemployable. Not unemployed, unemployable" - and of course she saw what I did not see myself at the time - I was swiftly disentangling from the classical "work". You know, the one everyone moans about - inside companies, on a very strict timetable, etc, etc... What was I replacing it with however? Well, unbeknown to me, there was a different equation being set up.

When I shifted from regular (read "classical") work, I went on to morph to become more and more as a teacher and consultant. Sometimes I dabble in naming, logos, strategies, run of the mill conceptual copywriting, etc. Sure, if you are reading this you know me via my "public image" (the blog, maybe also the art), which was kept very aside from the main money-making business (many people suggested I entangle both but I still think this will not be "me" as I insist on keeping the two entities separate). 

Of course, in the meantime, I was stashing money on the side, but with Lebanon falling apart at the seams on all fronts - all the planning and very wise money-management all came to naught. All of last year, save for a two very small projects (one of them was supposed to be humongous but got killed by the Corona) there was nothing. The Hollywood film did not materialize, and the project in Oman died with the Sultan - both where supposed to be exceptionally lucrative.

Still, here we are this does not answer the question: Am I unemployed?

Well, to misquote Star Trek: "it's jobs, Jim, but not as we know it". So yes, I do not consider myself employed in the way people expect employment to be, and having left my teaching job in 2019 because it became more cost-effective to remain home, it does not mean I am out of the game (seriously, if you only know how many theses I am involved in behind-the-scenes you'd faint), but again: What works for me does not work for anyone else, am fine thank-you-very-much. So I indeed still employed but not in capacities that people associate "work" with. 

So I did celebrate Labor Day. Not that I did much though! Wait, isn't that the point?