Today, as I was working cheerfully, a woman walked up to me and asked, with disdain in her voice, ‘Are you getting paid for that?’
‘Yes,’ I replied, smilingly, ‘Would you like a go?’
‘No, no, no,’ she said, turning away, and muttering ‘Ridiculous’ under her breath. …not under her breath enough, obviously.
What kind of job would cause a complete stranger to come up and tell you that it is (or you are) ridiculous?
Well, I juggle. I was in the process of mucking around with a devilstick in a Garden Centre, which had booked me and mine for the purposes of giving an informal circus skills workshop to whatever kids happened to be passing through atop their parents’ compost.
Perhaps this is a ridiculous job. I mean, I get to play all day with fun things, and I get paid for it. Okay, so, when i say ridiculous, I mean…fucking sweet. When she says ridiculous…what does she mean? I could think of a couple of options.
1) She didn’t think that juggling was worthwhile enough to get paid for. (Volunteer juggling? I plan to dothat too…)
2) She didn’t think that doing something fun counted as work.
These are sort of the same. However Option One can be countermanded quite easily. If someone will pay you for a service, then that’s a job. A real job. Would I rather someone paid me to actively get out there and teach kids directly how to do something as magical (to them!) as juggling, or to sit in an office, typing up reports and/or admin files for and about companies which wouldn’t have the immediacy of teaching kids fun stuff, plus uh, I wouldn’t get to play with my toys! I feel as though there’s plenty of office jobs which are ridiculous – crazed middle management marketers and so forth, searching through adverts for that perfectly lit toothpaste tube…
There’s demand for Circus Skills workshops, and where there’s demand, so will come supply, and where there’s supply, there’s jobs to be had and work to be done. I very definitely get ‘real’ money for it, as well.
Along to option two. Again, juggling is not real work, because it’s fun. It’s ridiculous that I, and my colleagues, should get paid for doing something which began as a hobby. It’s ridiculous because…that’s right! Life should be a long hard slog wherein one makes cash from 9-5ing in a job they despise, so they can buy a bigger car to get to their soul-sucking job that little bit faster. Ahem.
My point is that it is in no way ridiculous to get paid for juggling. I started spinning poi around a year ago, as a hobby, and have been pretty lucky to fall in with a crowd who could lead me toward employment, utilising the skills I find so fun to learn and teach. Odds are that if you enjoy something, then other people do too. And when more than one person enjoys learning and/or teaching something…then we have supply and demand! I guess I’m saying that it is possible to make money doing what you enjoy, rather than…well, not.
Disclaimer: I don’t earn my main wage from Circus Skills Workshops, and I do have another job. My other job is even more of a joke though, so I shan’t share that just yet. Still, I make money from something I enjoy! Up yours, ridiculous woman.