----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Oh, By the Way...

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Oh, By the Way...

I know that this has happened before...I just checked out this site that Alexandrialeigh pointed me to (cool name!)--the same thing happened to that woman, although I think her posts were probably more innocuous than mine. I also remember an essay on MediaBistro that was a scathing critique of Conde Nast, I think, and the anonymous author was found and promptly fired. She gained some noteriety, though, and was besieged by job offers. You'd think I would have known better. Alas, I did not.

But this leads me to a question that I've been pondering for awhile...why do we give work so much power over our lives? Of course, we need the money. But increasingly, it seems like work dictates even what we do in our free time. And our bosses expect us to be in the office for more and more hours per week, with no extra compensation. I recently saw a job posting (well, okay, they called it a "fellowship") that was looking for a managing editor for a magazine to work 50 or more hours a week. In exchange, the magazine was offering a small place to live and $100 per week. That's $2 an hour, people!

And I'm getting the feeling that we're expected to be in the office just to be placeholders. At most of my jobs, my actual job duties took up maybe 25 hours a week. The rest of the time, I chatted with co-workers, fooled around on the Internet, or worked on side projects. I was frequently very bored. And it's not like I was slacking off. I would get everything done, ask for additional assignments, and still have nothing to do.

I just think our whole system is screwed up. We work a minimum of 40 hours a week for companies that don't even give us a paid lunch break, so if we want to leave the stifling office environment for an hour, then we're actually expected to be there nine hours a day. We get 10 days of vacation time, and lots of times we're still expected to check in with the office. We take on increasing responsibilities for no extra pay. Companies expect us to do whatever we're told, cheerfully and without complaint. There's no job security. Companies do little, if anything to foster employee loyalty. Yes, we get a paycheck, but it doesn't seem like a very fair exchange.

I guess the only solution is to be your own boss. So, I am trying to formulate a plan...


  • At 4:10 AM, Blogger Jeff said…

    It's funny you mention this...

    I don't want to say I've had a "life changing" event in my life or anything quite so dramatic, but I am at home recovering from major back surgery. I'm off of work for 6-12 weeks. Prior to the surgery, I used to work an obscene amount of hours.

    What I've realized after being in the hospital for 3 weeks, going through surgery that I had a possibility of not making it through, and that now my spine is fused all the way from T2-L4? ...work doesn't matter a whole lot. I do need to spend more time concentrating on the important things in life. Family, friends, doing good rather than pouring every waking hour into a job that though occasionally rewarding, never really gives back as much as it takes.

    So, your post resonated with me. I hope you're able to find a way to make this kind of discovery, preferably without as much back pain and narcotics prescribed to dull that pain.


  • At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi there. Found your blog from the posting you put on the mediabistro bullentin board on blogging. So sorry to hear that you recently got fired from your job, but it's good that you're looking forward and staying positive. :) Gosh, this is quite a long comment from a stranger, I know. I just found your blog really interesting to read! Oh and so sorry for having to post anonymously as I don't want to sign up on this "blogger" website. As to not remain anonymous, my name is Shari.

  • At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi astera--

    There's a term for all of us (yup, I said "us"-- me, too) fired for their blog. "Dooced." Personally, I don't like the term, but whatever.

    I've been exactly where you are, except it was in April. Keep your chin up and hopefully something better will come along!

    If you ever want to talk or know about who else has been fired (there's a lot of us) just drop me a line.

    The Sarcastic Journalist


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