Non-Traditional Work

I have famously celebrated Rite Aid cashiers in this blog and elsewhere.

An old SZ magazine news article of years ago talked about what to do if you have negative symptoms or other limitations that make paid employment not viable.

The analogy was that if you like to play guitar you could join a band. If you like to write you can try to get published in literary journals. And so on. And so on.

I have often made the case that only valuing work that contributes to the economic stream in society effectively undervalues people whose humanitarian work–and often the work of recovery–DOES COUNT as a worthy endeavor.

One of my saddest things is that parents with adult kids who are diagnosed with schizophrenia often have to mourn the loss of the son or daughter who isn’t going to be the M.D. or J.D. they hoped.

My contention is: it’s not our parents’ choice that should determine what we do in life.

I’ve been told of a woman who bakes cakes. I’d be willing to take the risk to pay her $100 to bake me cakes to take to a holiday party. Her father is disappointed that all she does is bake cakes. The identities in this story have been changed yet you get the idea.

I don’t value paid employment because I’ve worked with rude or lazy co-workers so I can assure you a robot could do their job better. It’s unfair yet they remain employed. I don’t hold these people up as role models. Ordinary people diagnosed with schizophrenia who get up every day and struggle to get out of bed are my true heroes.

I value the gifts people were given at birth to use to better ourselves and others in the world. Using the gifts we were given and not squandering them is indeed the foolproof way to have a full and robust life–regardless of whether you’re paid to do the work you do.

This is where I’m going to end this series of career blog entries. It seems I’ve detailed this as specifically as I can right now.

Stay tuned for topics in April related to finding joy in living in recovery at mid life.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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