I pondered long to find the right words to describe the purpose of thetortoisefactor.com. I like “perseverance” for its strength and virtue, but I had trouble deciding between “work” and “career.” The choice has been personal. I’ve been totally incapable of deciding to be something final. I could not, or more perversely, would not stuff myself into a mold. That bugbear has made life difficult and problematic to say the least. I am, however, still alive and able to discern some “career” in my rear view mirror. Such an attitude makes for surprises in one’s life. And like all humankind that fell in Eden, I have had to work.
My incapacity or stubbornness frustrated and worried my parents. Dad knew he wanted to be an engineer when he was eleven and accomplished his goal. One fine brother wanted to be a successful businessman and has done so. Another became an accomplished lawyer. So far as I was ever able to discern, my stepmother (and effective mother), wanted to be a member of the “carriage trade” and I guess she made it by first marrying a doctor and then my father. I, still moving about on my checkerboard, am still a work in progress.
I think about twenty and thirty-somethings I know. One, carrying $100,000 in student loans will be adding another $150.ooo — and all of it before he has earned $1.00 from his professional career. When I was a twenty-something, a man could land a good job in business with an English major. You could do OJT and build a career. In those days companies were not firing people when they began using their medical insurance; and they were not dumping fifty-somethings and moving off shore. No one lived in this great and glorious, oligarchic global economy. We actually had medical insurance companies who paid.
No, actually these days career is finding a sticking place for the work, any work that a person can do — not withstanding an MBA or PhD. These days, perhaps as always before, we are just workers longing for Eden.