The Roots

Elsa

I’m really posting this photograph just to make Sherlock jealous. He’s lying on the bed behind me, and I’m mad at him for peeing on the dining room rug. I think I’d gone to the store to buy dog food when it happened, which puts him doubly “in the doghouse”. Elsa was a fellow customer in the pet food store.

It might also have happened when I went to have coffee with a photographer friend who works for a local non-profit. I think it was she who originally planted the seed for this blog – the 365 day photo project – when she decided to do it herself a couple of years ago. She confessed today however, that she had only made it through mid-February. I couldn’t believe it. She was so gung-ho and I was so inspired. I guess I’m doing pretty well to have made it to early March. It is more of a challenge than I had imagined. There are plenty of days when I look at my camera at 5pm and I have shot zero images because I’ve been busy with stuff that is simply not photogenic. I’ve already been as creative as I’ve so far been able to imagine with the kitchen sink, table and stove. My dinner plate is getting old… The dishwasher hasn’t yielded any treasures, and the laundry room, well, that’s just not a pretty sight.

My daughter posted a photograph of the inside of her friend’s toilet on Facebook, but I promise, I will not sink to that level (and no, I won’t post the bathroom sink either).

When I told my friend the title of my blog, and that she was my original inspiration for the 365 photo project, it was the blog idea that she jumped on. She works full time and doesn’t have kids. I was surprised because her immediate comment was, “I hate that question!” And, “its not just mom’s that squirm!” We talked about this for a while, and while I’ve already related most of my thoughts on the topic of why, culturally, its an issue, I’m not sure that it was ever as crystal-clear as today when we basically concluded that the underlying question often seems to be,”What are you worth?” along with the judgement that if you aren’t earning a fat paycheck, you aren’t “worth” much either. The interesting facet that today’s conversation revealed, and that my friend feels acutely, is that if you love your job, there’s an unspoken consensus that you don’t need to be well paid. That having a job you love is compensation itself. To earn a lot of money you have to SUFFER! “Hardship pay”… Its our puritan roots. I can think of countless conversations I’ve had with friends and acquaintances in which their underlying message is that they are working their ass off! They have to deserve that paycheck, and in order to deserve it, they have to undergo innumerable hours of pain and suffering.

What a weird idea.

What if we had the belief buried deep in our subconscious that people who love their work should get paid the most. It would follow logically that they are doing something they are passionate about, and therefore most likely doing a great job at it. If we believed that, instead of that we have to suffer, imagine how much that would affect in our daily lives. People would at least go around with smiles on their faces hoping that their bosses would catch them looking like they were having the time of their life. People would leave work they found uninspiring and not feel guilty about it. They would pursue their dreams…

Enough about that… if you are still reading this, you get the idea. That may very well be the last point I have to make about the way our culture attributes value to work. But then again, I’ve still got a long way to go to get to 365… Pretty soon I might have to start telling stories about toilet training toddlers or weaning infants. I’ll just make stuff up though, because I’m pretty sure I was in a mild coma for most of those years!

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