Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Authors Have Happy Jobs

by Deb Baker/Hannah Reed

Recently, Forbes made a list of the ten happiest jobs. Here they are:
1. Clergy
2. Firefighters
3. Physical therapists
4. Authors !!!
5. Special education teachers
6. Teachers
7. Artists
8. Psychologists
9. Financial services sales agents
10. Operating engineers

That last one, the definition of, had me stumped until I read further – “Playing with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders…”

So guess what? I have one happy career. But Forbes didn’t have to tell me that. Every morning I wake up looking forward to the day. Sure, I’ve had to learn to stay focused and organized, but I’m the boss of me. No one else gets to tell me what to do or when to do it. I see that feature in the other nine happy jobs, too.

And none of them are extremely high-paying jobs (trust me), so money doesn’t make us happy. We know that, right?

The thing that really stands out for me is that these people are making meaningful contributions (okay, I’m not sure about the bulldozer operators). I’m not pulling people out of burning buildings or guiding them on their spiritual quests, but what I do feels worthwhile.

Early on, I wanted to write the great American novel. I wanted wealth and fame. These days I’m more realistic and much happier. I don’t take myself so seriously. My goal at this stage is to tell funny stories and make my readers laugh. The best email I ever received was from a woman in chemo, who told me my books were the only things that made her laugh. How cool is that?

Anyway, do you agree with the list? Are you on the list? What would you add to it?


East Valley Girl said...

Funny, I too wrote because I loved the stories that came to me but then I hated the fact that no one wanted to publish them. I stopped writing. Then recently I realized it was for the wrong reasons.
I think you make a great point that many on the list are in that profession for the right reasons and they do good. Isn't that what we are here for? To make life just a little better for others? It may be as small as making someone smile, teaching them new information or as big as making them feel spiritually connected.

Deb said...

You have a great POV!

Victoria Hamilton said...

I love my job, too, and always have, but the internet has made me love it even more! The sense of community that was once difficult for writers to find is here now... it's great!

Booklady said...

I guess my job falls under Teachers. I'm an elementary school librarian. I've always dreamed of being a writer and maybe I will be someday. On the path to that I discovered that not only am I happiest in a room full of books, I'm over the moon when I can put the right reader with the right book. It's pretty cool teaching young children to find and evaluate information, too. With young kids, you know the minute they get it because their whole face lights up. I'd say I'm one lucky woman and I thank you for reminding me of that.

Beverly aka Booklady

sonia said...

I am happiest as a writer even though I've just begun to find my niche. I'm surprised at number 9, though, I suppose because I'm not sure what that job is. : }
However, I feel that if you're doing "honest work" whether it's cleaning houses, working in an animal shelter, or writing entertaining stories, you'll be much happier than the person who makes loads of money but offers nothing truly valuable to his/her own soul.


Debra said...

As a new prosecutor, I once litigated a domestic abuse case where the abuser was convicted and imprisoned. The good part was that the victim left him for good, got a great job and months later called to thank me and tell me I helped her turn her life around. ( I cried)
I guess that falls under helping people.
Deb ,while in the middle of a bad arthritis flare, I read one of your books (Murder Passes the Buck) and it totally took me out of myself. I come from a family of hunters, as far as I know you are the only cozy writer who ever mentions hunting.

Deb said...

Debra, that's a powerful story! Wow! And thanks for reading my book. The big publishers didn't want a cozy that mentioned hunting (even though animals are never killed in my books) and so Gertie's tales were published by a press in MN.

Paula Miller said...

Wow, I love hearing all of these points of view. I started writing because it's like therapy, and I want to make it a career when I grow up.(That is my term for when my homeschooled children graduate, and I won't know that to do with myself)
Reading all of your thoughts helps me as I start my writing journey. It also shows me not to focus so much on getting published just now. I will take my time and enjoy the therapy that creating stories can be. I am so glad that I found this blog. I am also glad that I found Gerty! Now I just have to stop reading her long enough to have time to create a story of my own. Thanks ya'll for sharing your thoughts :)

Vickie said...

My job isn't on that list, but I am still happy with dual careers of mom to Lady K and being a satellite systems engineer helping take care of a baby satellite. My ideal career would be owning my own bookshop, but that is a pipe dream until I win the lottery. *grin*

Linda McDonald said...

I'm not currently on the list, but if I do get my writing career going, then I will be! Motivation for me. :)