Wednesday, April 12, 2006

In Defense of French Dirigisme

In Defense of French Dirigisme opens with a question -- "They live longer. They eat better. They work less. So why do Americans want to beat up on the French?" -- and closes with some potential answers -- "This might be mildly funny but for a 2005 French government study that found that the 35-hour week created about 350,000 jobs, from its application in 1998 through 2002, and that the affected businesses enjoyed productivity gains of 4 to 5 percent during the same period."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Theory

Seb sent me a link to an old Gaping Void post about how we often try to balance different kinds of work in our lives -- his theory on creative work:
"The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended."
As I wrote in my response to Seb, one of the things I like about this representation is that he doesn't lapse into the old stereotype of the artist having to wait tables or dig ditches to pay the most of the examples he's using, the artist is doing related (but not likely passionate) work to pay the bills, which is probably more accurate for more people. Many of us try to at least find work in in the right field for us, if not the ideal job description within the field that will pay us to do what we love.

I suppose the holy grail is passionate work that also pays well and leaves time for other important areas of our lives, but I don't see many people pulling that off. Seems to make most sense to try to keep living expenses low so that the day job doesn't have to consume as much time, freeing up more resources to pursue the creative work that could at some point pay for itself.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Life as a Free Agent

I like Harold's list of what it means to have a Life as a Free Agent. It seems to be chock full of lifestylism, that elusive integration of work, life, values and sustainability:
"10. Doing my own tech support
9. Only working seven days a week
8. Paying cash & avoiding monthly payments
7. Time for exercise and reading
6. Lots of short breaks, but no long holidays
5. Getting asked to volunteer more
4. Seeing more of my banker
3. Seeing more of my family
2. Looking forward to Mondays
1. Creating my own opportunities"