Thursday, March 23, 2017

I've been work work work work working...

I was copyediting a book the other day and got to thinking about a former coworker of mine whom I recall fondly. As the dullness of the book slowly tilted me toward unconsciousness, I suddenly realized that most of my assignments -- as a freelance editor, but really, everything I've ever done for money -- could neatly fit one of the squares on this chart:

If I'd had more time -- in other words, if I didn't have to do all that doggone work -- I'd have shown it as a scale for each block; the boring and difficult jobs would go way up on the left side, then as they got easier they'd move closer to the blue block below, and as they got more interesting they'd lean farther toward the pink block on the right, and so on.

Maybe I was thinking of work because of St. Joseph, whose feast day just passed. We celebrate him as the patron of workers on May 1, but he always remembered as the saint for the working man or woman (as well as the patron of the Universal Church, unborn children, fathers, travelers, and immigrants, and of course the patron saint of a happy death, which some of the boring jobs have made me wish for).

As regards my chart, obviously jobs that are boring and difficult are the hardest, since they require the utmost concentration and ensure the least desire to concentrate. A job that's difficult but interesting can at least keep me engaged. One that's boring but easy I can fly through, the greatest danger being that I'll detach too much and make mistakes. And a job that's easy and interesting is the best, because that's easy money.

Which is when I remembered my old office pal, Patty, who liked to say, "They call it work because it sucks. If it was fun they'd call it play."

As I considered my chart, I realized that if we scaled to the boxes to the assignments I actually get by volume, it would look more like:

They wouldn't pay you if it was all fun and games. And that's why I get paid, although of course, not enough.
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