THE MANIFESTO OF GENERATION WHY?

In my Twitter account, I follow and account called Workshifting and have visited some blogs that cover the subject of freelancing (artwork and webdesign, usually) and have noticed a bit of a trend of sites aimed at teaching young college-age or post-college sorts how to live off of the internet and couch-surf between family and friends. I am committing my opinions to writing to ensure that as people where I work discover my writings and music and such here, that the right idea is taken and that there are no rash presumptions.

The main idea of the full-time freelance lifestyle is that you are doing what you love while being your own boss and sacrificing your time and energy on your own terms. Above all sacrifices though, your job is the thing that you are most passionate about.

The attitude that one would not be happy or passionate about working for a boss in an 8-hour per day wage or salary job is quite wrong and simply plays with people’s negative assumptions. Job ads everywhere seek “goal oriented individuals” and “self-motivated” and “passionate” workers in every field, as if to ask, if you do not know how to motivate yourself or are not passionate about the work you see employment in, why have you bothered to apply at all?

Freelancing can have great potential as a kind of second job or pad to your income, or a way to actually break even or generate income with a hobby, instead of it simply being a sink of money and time. Since even college-educated jobs do not pay enough to maintain a household, everyone should take some part of this message to heart and try to think about how the things that you do for fun may also help earn part of a living. When it is not your only income source, it means you can comfortably try anything, since there should be no harm in failure.

The couch-surfing web architect that lives in cafes and airports is not a new idea. I started hearing about these sorts of folks as early as 1995, and in principle I bet the idea in concept is much older than that. The truth is that many people are passionate about work that may require college and a conventional office job, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I have the good fortune of working for a company that understands the direction of the Internet and the World Wide Web very much, which is why I think it is only a matter of time before many of the people I work for and with will read this. I want it to be understood that I still like my day job very much. The work I do in customer service has a very direct relationship to communicating with and performing for an audience; I have always approached service and retail as a kind of performing art. In all areas of life, there will be things you dislike doing, but can bear because the rewards make it worthwhile. That is how I feel about customer service work, and in fact, when I stopped making music it was because the drudgery of forcing myself to create outweighed the satisfaction I felt from my (then mediocre) results.

While I am much happier with what I have growing here, and am thankful for my readers and listeners, I do not want to perform more than a few events per year, and will not attend events that conflict with my job. This is because, again, I actually like my job, but also because I think that taking my music much farther than that would not be very rewarding, and in fact could be quite damaging for a person my age. Simply put, I am grateful for my liberally estimated hundred listeners and I am content with that. (I do not trust the counters, but if I really have had in excess of 500 listeners, thank you all indeed! It’s much more than I’ve ever expected.)

Reiterating for a moment, the overall goal of passions above creature comfort and social pressure; the idea that you alone decide what success is for yourself, is something I not only agree with, I wrote about it years before anybody tried to package it as a mantra for Generation Y. I hope that everyone is able to be somewhat recouped for doing something they like to do.

See you next time.

(This entry may be edited later to remove or or make sense of late-night run-on sentences.)

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