Monday, 3 January 2011

What of Work?

Tonight I went up to Brisbane to see my friends Jeshua and Corinne. I lived with Jeshua and his family during 2007 when I moved up to Darwin to find work. Corinne was Jeshua's girlfriend at the time (and is now his wife) and back then she lived around the corner from us. While Jeshua and I grew up together as childhood "best friends", I got to know Corinne and her family really well over the course of '07 too. They came down to Brisbane from Darwin as the first leg of a holiday, and are staying with Jeshua's aunt. Even though I almost never see them anymore, I still count Jesh and Corrie as two of my most precious friendships.

Considering Jesh and I grew up together and did practically everything together, it was really weird seeing the massive difference in our lives. Now he is a successful Northern Territory police officer and Corrie got a job as a primary school teacher - they're building a life together. Meanwhile, in 2010 I struggled to find a job that uses my degree, so I am planning to move to the United Kingdom for a few years just to see what's in store for me there. Part of me wants to "settle down" too, but mostly I just want to go out and adventure for a few years. Or a lot of years. I'm wondering if there's a compromise that must be made between getting a job you love and doing other things you love. Like, if I were to be where I wanted to be professionally, would that mean I couldn't go travelling as much as I do? Probably. Maybe.

The other day a friend of mine set up a meeting between me and one of the local commercial radio stations here on the Coast. They wanted tips on how to be successful in online video, &c, and my friend thought I was the perfect one to advise them - and that I might get paid to do it. I went along but they didn't really 'get it'. I don't think it'll turn into paid work. While I was there I was talking to my friend's boss about some volunteer work I did at one of the community stations here. He asked why I left and I explained it was because I'd planned on going to South America, but that it fell though and I never went back to the station. The rest of the conversation went like this:

Friend: "Rohan tell them why you were going to Peru!"
Me: "Well, I was going so I could help out with-"
Boss: "Wait! Don't tell me it's ANOTHER mission."
Me: "What?"
Friend: "Yep! He was going to help out at a non-profit!"
Boss: "No no no! Don't tell me any more about it! Everyone you introduce me to has gone off to help other people somehow."
Friend: "Yes, that's because I have the best friends ever!"
Boss: "No! No more! I already feel guilty enough about what we're doing here and you're only making it worse!"

The comment was probably not meant to come out like that, but I couldn't help but think to myself, If you're feeling guilty then WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? You could get a job at any non-profit you liked, but instead you choose to work in commercial radio and feel GUILTY ABOUT IT?

A few days prior to this I'd made my Project for Awesome video promoting World Vision Australia. Now, World Vision Australia is an example of an organisation I would fall over myself to work for, especially in the field of communications. World Vision's "social media diva" Richenda happened across my video and sent me these tweets:

As most of you probably know, I'm a real words person, and I'll treasure these tweets for a long, long time. That experience of dealing with the people at the commercial station, who were all very professional but ultimately nonplussed by my enthusiasm and what I had to say, really contrasted with Richenda's strong affirmation for the work that I'm putting into my online content. I thought, "Long term, do I want to be working commercially and feeling guilty and paralysed by my job like the guy in the radio station?" Of course the answer is no. Instead I want to be in Richenda's position where I can have the enthusiasm in what I do to encourage other people like she encouraged me. I'm not saying that automatically comes from working at an NGO or non-profit, but it made it pretty clear to me that, long term, that's actually where I want to be.


  1. I recently found, which is connected to Nat Geo, and basically went insane. The whole community is dedicated to people sharing stories, videos, and tips regarding traveling and gives you a place to share you blog, etc.
    They also have a program that you can apply to that pays your to write, vlog, and photograph as a correspondent if you're traveling for more than 10 weeks.
    Thought you might like to hear about that one - and no, I do not work for these people. I just wanted to spread the joy!

  2. I like the fact that recently you've been blogging more. You're good at it, and I enjoy reading what you write.

    I know what you mean about work. Regardless of what type of employer I end up working for, I need to feel like I'm helping people. I think that's what drew me to Education. The other day my dad suggested I look into possibly becoming a corporate trainer, and I just really don't like the thought of that. I'd really dislike simply helping big businesses or corporations to be more successful and ultimately make more money. I'd rather end up as a low-paid teaching assistant, helping a kid finally understand how to do a maths problem, or work in admin in a charity that does work I care about. Ultimately, I hope to do more than that, but I'd rather have a lower paid and less glamourous job than have a glossy corporate job where I feel like I have no real bigger purpose.