Is work worth it?

Unemployment brings soul-searching. In a new episode of our video series, the jobless share surprising priorities VIDEO

Topics: F**ked, Editor's Picks,

Is work worth it?

Certain experiences will always force a reevaluation of life’s priorities. The birth of a child, a near-death experience — or getting fired. The latest episode of Salon’s video series on unemployment in America begins with Theresa Iacovo, a laid-off truck dispatcher, reminiscing on all of the Christmases she missed during her 20-year career. “Why did I give up that time with my family that I can never give back?” she asks.

Several recent submissions to Open Salon on the topic of unemployment also question the relationship between personal fulfillment and work. Homeless Scribe aptly sums up the source of much frustration: “Fresh out of college, I expected job security in exchange for hard work. I expected fairness in exchange for loyalty. And I expected respect in exchange for respect. I lived up to my side of the bargain. It’s the other side that failed.”

While challenging the myth that unemployment equals a meaningless existence, Livia Gershon explains how the freedom of not having a job can come with more benefits than the meager compensation of, for example, a part-time shift at Wal-Mart. She writes, “An unemployed father might create a more stable home for a little while, so his wife doesn’t have to take a day off if a kid gets sick. He might also be able to watch a neighbor’s child after school, or help his parents fix their roof.”

The trick, of course, is finding balance. We would all love to chase our passions, but we can’t just ignore those pesky bills. The former employee of a Chicago law firm captures this conflict in his cathartic piece “My Unintended Vacation.” He writes, “Between temp jobs, I started spending a lot more time volunteering for a few nonprofits and found it much more rewarding than the old job — except for the money, of course.”



Immy Humes, a NYC documentary filmmaker, has produced stories for PBS, NBC News, and Michael Moore. Her short film, "A Little Vicious," was nominated for an Oscar. Her latest feature, "Doc," is a saga of the post-war generation of New York writers and of madness. Her web site is http://www.thedoctank.com/

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>