East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Too many interests


I was talking with a few friends about two job-related issues: to wit specialization and home-working.
Two things that do not have much in common but one thing – the marketplace hereabouts seems to have got them wrong, and a lot of the people I know (writers, translators, web designers, computer programmers, artists) are suffering for this.

Working from home is not considered “real work” here in my country – I live in a place where you get hired to do a translation, you get paid by the page, and the boss wants you therein his office, sitting at the desk, so that he can see you while you translate.
And yet, a lot of jobs could be done from home, with flexible hours, a lower environmental impact, better life quality for the worker, and more economically profitable for both the company and the employee.
But what if the guy works at night, or wearing a pyjama?

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And of course, there is the question of specialization – because true, companies post ads looking for people with a master’s degree in engineering, three world-languages and no less than two programming languages, and a solid experience. But if your CV does not show total dedication to a single job, topic, method or tool, you’ll receive the bored smile and “you’ve done a lot of things in your work history…”

And of course both trends converge in my current situation – as a writer and translator I work from home, and being a writer I find myself covering topics as different as lost civilizations, regional folklore, cooking, history of Central Asia , tarot reading in a single day’s work (except from the pauses I take to fix my PC, and the courses I follow). Oh, and roleplaying games.

Writers tend by the nature of what they do to be jack of all trades, and work weird schedules in strange hours.
This is absolute anathema for the current corporate mindset, and if you happen to deal with corporate people, you’ll be looked like a pariah.

Not only I do not do “real work”, but I wast my time on too many interests instead of focusing on a single topic.
But what can I say?
Specialization is for insects.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Too many interests

  1. The people who don’t think you do real work are just envious that you have such interesting work.:-)


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