In life we all have some purpose (except for those dirty nihilists). Some goal or intention to get to a goal come hell or high water. It’s what drives us every day and what makes us get out of bed and able to coordinate ourselves more efficiently. It invokes confidence at times and other times it can make one fall into despair for fear of not accomplishing it. And once it is accomplished does life suddenly stop?
Instead people keep moving and creating new goals and new ways to get there or they subvert these new goals with other (and newer!) goals that they like more. For whatever reason. It may be more practical, or improve on the last one more or it may be something else entirely. Either way, plans can change and so can people’s ideas of what they want to do in their life.
Is this a “job” of sorts?
In the sense of this being a formalized, paid place of employment under someone else, no.
But another look at this may prove useful.
Sure it isn’t formal but does all work need to be formal to count?
Sure you may not be getting paid in consistent time frames with dependable wages but is that always the case with most work?
Sure no one has employed you, but you have certainly employed yourself in a sense.
So taken another way living is a sort of job. You have responsibilities, there are failures and payoffs, you can always fire yourself (suicide) and so on.
I am not trying to make this distinction to be nitpicky or play semantics and hopefully that isn’t what this is coming off as. It’s just to prove a point that the work you do in life doesn’t need to be tied to others. The goals you have and the means you use don’t need to depend on others. It can just be about you and what you need to accomplish, how you are going to accomplish it and so on.
By no means do you need to think of life as your job. But you certainly can and there are definite parallels to be drawn here as I have illustrated. The profits you make don’t need to be monetary either. They can be mental in the form of happiness or a new understanding of a concept or something that proves or will prove useful to you. Life isn’t reducible to the money you make or what you do. That’s a part of it for some people but even then it’s not always a big part of a major part.
What are the advantages of conceptualizing this stuff as a job?
To me it isn’t about fetishisizing labor, effort or whatever but about conferring responsibilities on oneself. The responsibilities you have for yourself, how you are going to accomplish them, why you should and so on. It gives you new ways to frame your every day tasks. And the best part is being your own boss means you can decide the terms of the contract and whether you succeed or fail.
You might not get a lot done in a day in terms of projects that you’ve been itching to get around to. But you see a good movie with friends, have some laughs, you get a cheap but delicious bite to eat and return to a loved one to spend the rest of the night with. For a normal “job” all that mental and emotional happiness may mean squat but it isn’t the same if you are deciding these things for yourself.
You can chide yourself for not getting done what you want and also celebrate the victories that involve good pleasures and things that will create fond memories. You typically won’t have such flexibility in a typical job.
As I hope this site has made clear by now, leisure has its benefits. I am of the opinion that, all things being equal, idleness can and will be more beneficial than working on whatever you want to get done. This “all things being equal” presumes that you don’t have a pressing obligation or deadline or the like and that this is a normal routine thing that is flexible.
But those things can be gratifying and fulfilling for sure..And just because you can slack doesn’t mean you always should. Sometimes the effort does actually make you feel good and want to do more and along the way you can slack and be idle as it is necessary to you. There’s no reason in my mind why in most normal situations a balance cannot be struck between these things.
Another important point to make is that whether you see these things as “jobs” or don’t you should remember what your job isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be).
It is the notion that one should live for others. Saying this may not sound too radical but if you get the right implications or consequences out of this theory it can be pretty empowering. Objectivsts take this to mean that you shouldn’t give or that giving can be a sign of weakness or systematic giving is a system that has fault and flaws to be rectified. But within the area of your life and work not living for someone else’s sake means being your own boss, doesn’t it?
If you don’t want to live for the means and ends of someone else then advocating for much less being employed seems like an awful way to go about such a desire. You are basically working for another persons means and ends. You give them some of your own well deserved value, you give them your time, money and energy and so on. How could all of this added up not be at least partially living for someone else?
I don’t really or at least necessarily agree about altruism and whether it exists or not or whether it is good or not. I think the divide between that and egoism is largely illusory and that a synthesis of both ego and social is more important than just one. Perhaps a “mutual” ethic instead?
Regardless my job isn’t to live for the sake of others. I am not interested in a system that dictates that I must serve other people just to survive.then that is a system that needs to be abolished and a society in desperate need of change.