It recently came to my attention that a group of people in my wider circle of acquaintances somehow have gotten the impression that I do not work. Maybe they thought I was retired? But I am too young to retire even if I wanted to (which I do not, ever). And far too old to have a sugar daddy, ha ha.
Accordingly, I have taken the opportunity to set forth a written description of my occupation. Here is my “occupational umbrella”￼ and the types of work that it includes:
My job description: Sustainability educator, self-employed (yes, this is what I write on my tax forms)
Types of work that I do under this “green occupational umbrella”:
- Writing (books, blog)
- Social-media marketing
- Speaking (informational and motivational)
- Teaching/co-teaching workshops
- Visual art
- Home organizing, decluttering, & downsizing services
- Eldercare / end-of-life doula services (CEOLD in training)
- Eco landscaping services (problem-solving, design, installation, maintenance)
The people who didn’t think I was working said something to the effect that they “had heard I was working at one point.” It turned out that they were thinking of my side-job as a pedicabber (2013-2015). Or my later side-job working in a sewing shop (2016-2017).
Apparently, in the eyes of some people, just being self-employed does not qualify as working. One person actually said, “Well, it seems like you spend a lot of time doing things that aren’t work.”
Now understand these are people in my wider circles, who rarely see me to know what my days are like, so …￼ I wasn’t sure what she meant.￼
Maybe that person was referring to the fact that I spend a lot of time doing activism in my community. But this is normal behavior for a small business, especially one that is very deeply tied to their community.
The people who were thinking that I don’t work are older than me by about 15-20 years or more, and retired. And back when they were working, they inhabited the higher echelons of management, formal educational system, and other rarefied strata.
In other words, retired people who, back when they were working, had the kind of jobs that included health insurance, pensions, certain set hours, and so on.￼ To a lot of them, being self-employed might not seem like really working.￼
Also, if a person’s work is just the things that person would want to be doing anyway if they weren’t working, I guess that could give the perception that the person is not really working.￼
Maybe if people seem too happy, they must not be working. (That says a lot about how badly some jobs in our society suck.￼)
I hope this post is helpful to any of you who may be facing similar lack of occupational understanding from people in your circles!
PS. I want to express my appreciation to all my friends and family members who are so supportive of my work, and who understand that, yes, I DO legitimately work!
PPS. Yes, WRITING AND MAKING ART IS WORK too! If you don’t believe me, try writing a book or making a painting and selling it sometime. <laugh-cry emoji>