I loved Ken Dodd as a kid. It was even better when I started to understand his terribly dirty jokes about turkeys and women. But the song he would always sing, with diddy men prancing around and tickling sticks going everywhere, made you feel light, bouncy, without a care in the world and... happy. And you can be any age to understand that.
The other day I was working with a man connected to my old job, doing some filming for a friend. Afterwards, he was asking me about my plans now that I am unemployed and if I missed my old job. I explained how I missed those I had worked with closely, but that we are all friends and will continue to be. I told him that I did not miss the job; and that I was thinking of trying to teach more. I have always loved teaching, and although I continue with students and partners at LBS, I miss it as I used to to do it Buenos Aires.
His reply was, "But there's no money in that."
I was surprised by his reaction. I have always had respect for teachers, not just because I was brought up by two of them, but as a job goes, no matter the subject, the age, the place, there is no other feeling like giving someone the confidence of knowledge, and how to use it.
The other thing I was surprised about was how he was measuring my job choice in monetary value and little else. I'm not idealistic enough to think that the simple joy of teaching will pay my food and rent (and travels!) alone, but neither would I take ever take a job I know I am not going to enjoy just because it pays well. A job's pay, it's value for your work, is not the value you have (sometimes it's not even the value you 'earn') as a person. I don't care if I never earn loads, but I care being judged on it and I certainly care about being miserable.
Crap economy, crap job prospects, crap and high university fees, crap management, crap, crap, crap: this isn't how young people and those out of work should be thinking. This isn't New Year's thinking - it's life thinking: finding something you love to do and being happy most of the time doing it. If it makes you rich, tired, poor, stressed, fat, thin, smarter, wilder, it doesn't matter. It's your choice.
The measure should be if it makes you happy.
My reply to the man last week was in that vein: "Teaching makes me happy, though," I told him.
He frowned, shrugged and made a weird little noise. I don't think people consider their own happiness enough.