Monday, August 30, 2010


I'm growing up--facing the needs attached to the life I want to live, and trying to take responsibility for them. Like most workers of my generation, I often have two or three jobs. I--we--try to develop a resume, while not depending too hard on one source of cash. The freedom to sell ourselves to several buyers at once is often all the autonomy we have in our working lives.

The dignity of making choices about your own life hangs on the ability to quit, and quitting means you have to have a backup. So, we either live in fear of our jobs--putting up with sexual harassment, terrible working conditions, and a profound vacuum of respect and care--or we have a backup. That's how it works. The level of shit we are forced to put up with is directly proportional to the quality of our backups, and the quality of our backups is usually not good.

For socialists, playing the patchwork-livelihood card has other complications. A first world worker in an imperialist system, I'm privileged, but am I significantly privileged among first world workers? If so, what to do about it? I managed to escape my early twenties with good credit and virtually no debt. I'm better educated than some university graduates. I have a house. I'm single and childless. Like myself, most people I know who have options can trace this back to someone else's work, usually a husband or parent. There's no obvious, effective way to share these advantages around. . . you know, other than systemic change.