Wednesday, 19 November 2014

How difficult it is NOT to be an artist...

It's finals week for me at school. It's also the penultimate week for NaNoWriMo. It's also the week before Thanksgiving, and five weeks before Christmas.

I cannot concentrate on any of that.

Saw this cartoon today, and it reminded me of a recent lawsuit involving an acquaintance of mine. I can talk about the lawsuit now, because it's over, though I'll keep various details vague.

A certain person with a BA in something arty applied for a non-arty job with a particular company. During the interview the departmental interviewer (not someone from HR) expressed subversive prejudice against this person. The certain person left the interview with a bad taste in their mouth.

They didn't get the job.

The certain person called up the company for a bit of feedback over why they didn't get the job. As HR had no idea, they put CP through to the departmental interviewer. In short, DP told CP that they didn't get the job because they had an arts degree, and people with Arts degrees were unreliable.

Well, CP was in the habit of recording all their phone calls for an unrelated reason. They took this conversation to a pretty good lawyer, who agreed they had a case.

So, off they go to court.

During the proceedings DP's side of the case presented evidence that showed that employees of this particular company with degrees in the Arts tended to be dissatisfied with their work and leave their jobs sooner, whereas those with Engineering degrees or related fields tended to stay long and be happier.

CP's excellent attorney countered this with evidence that people with Arts degrees, when hired in related fields not only stayed longer in those fields and expressed greater job satisfaction, but tended to remain in those jobs well past the retirement age.

In the end, CP won their case because of the prejudice expressed by DP. (I wonder what happened to DP and the company. If they found dissatifaction with Art majors, I wonder if they would have changed their job criteria?)

The case is over so now I can talk about it.

It did get me thinking: It's not that Arts majors are unreliable as a whole, but that their passion lies in certain areas other than Engineering.

If someone loves Engineering and studies Engineering and gets a job in Engineering, naturally, they're following their passion and they'll probably love their job. But stick that engineer in a Front-of-House job in the local Repertory Theatre, and they'd probably hate it.

This is what happens to all the lovely Arts/Theatre/Music majors. There simply aren't enough Arty-type jobs to go around, so we're stuck having to take the tedious little soul-sucking positions such as Data Entry, Accounts Receivable, Call Centre, Receptionist, etc.

There is no art here. It's hard to find joy in such a job. Can you blame us for not staying on a career path we are not suited for? I had several of those early on in my working life.

At least the technologies of the 21st Century succors the Artiste. Thanks to places such as Etsy, iTunes and Smashwords, there are creative outlets that can bring in some money, maybe enough to supplement or even replace the dreaded Daye Jobbe.

If only we didn't have to eat while we built up sufficient income from our Art.

Her Grace is involved in the glacially slow Publishing industry. She works hard, but it may be years or even decades before she sees the financial fruits of today's labour.

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