Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Thoughts on a Tuesday

Every now and then, I ask myself, why am I self employed again?

The advantages are there, running your own gig, being able to call your own hours, being able to dedicate the time to the things that mean something to you, as against all the meaningless shit that a job makes you do. I mean, when I was a projectionist, I was told I couldn't read on company time. Running film is a minute's work every couple of hours, then sitting round in case it came off screen or something. Occasionally you'd have a film to make up, or break down. But if you worked the night like I usually did, you sat in a chair, films playing around you, and you read, cause it was a good time to read, and it was better than the films you'd already seen. But the amount of times a boss walked in and told me to do some meaningless time waste so I wasn't reading is countless. Being your own boss has always been a way to either avoid those mindless time sinks, or at least to justify them so you don't feel as if you're being paid for the lost time of your life.

But the work is steadier, that is the truth. It doesn't matter if there are dry patches, quiet times, people canceling, deals falling through, and people who don't live up to their end of agreements. For the company, it'll matter, but for you, the worker, it doesn't, not really. If it all falls through, pick up, move on.

Anyhow: there's nothing that can be done about it, not right now, except to work and push through the dry patches, enjoy the rainy ones.

Fortunately, I think, the publishing industry is changing. It's partly the rise of technology, partly the net, partly just the way that everything in the world begins to evolve and the way that society has given prestige to being someone who can make art and make a living of it. We don't really value teachers, bankers, nurses, executives, or anything similar--we value sports men and women, we value actors, musicians, photographers, artists and writers. Yet, I think, we value them in a kind of empty fashion, for while we often value the person who is this, we value the profession even more. We value it because it doesn't look like work, because it is not traditionally what we associate with work--that is, doing a job we don't value hugely to pay our rent, though of course, the reality of it is different. But the sheer number of people who want to do this work, who want to produce art, has put as much pressure on the traditional system of packaging and selling art, as the rise in technology has. It is no real surprise, I think, that the two have emerged with each other, that the two drive each other, as much as the failure of traditional systems drives it.

The above isn't a fully developed notion yet, incidentally. Just an idea I turn around every now and then, while looking at how everything alters. Maybe it'll live, maybe it'll die. Either way, really, I'll still have to make a living.

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