Wednesday, April 19, 2017


I was raised to think that certain jobs were better than others. We all needed a  job which is different from the career say of doctors, lawyers, businessmen.

As a woman pre-women's lib my choices were secretary, nurse, teacher, telephone operator, although my mother didn't fit the mold. She had several businesses, including a direct mail company making stuffed toys. Her workers were all cottage-industry people around town.

Later she had a party-plan clothing business. Finally she ended up, much to her surprise, as a great journalist.

There was the implication that this was all superior to store owners, plumbers, electricians, beauticians, etc.

As for going to university, there really was no other option. I did leave after my first year to be married--HORROR--but after a stint as an Army wife in Germany, I returned and finished with a B.A. Later I would earn a Masters Degree in Wales, but that was many decades later.

My jobs were all corporate, although almost all was in the non-profit world. At least when I drove to work each morning, I could feel I wasn't hurting the world with the products made. My many years with credit unions helped people deal with their finances.

As for corporate life, I could play the politics from the way I dressed to the way I dealt with upper, lower and middle management. But it wasn't me.

I wanted to write and did, squeezing it in at the end of the day. I was able to publish books and after my alleged retirement for seven years I published a weekly newsletter for Canadian credit union executives. It wasn't work, but an experience to be savored each day.

Now in Southern France, I seldom hear any of my local friends talk about career development or even careers. They have the green grocers, the café, a hotel. Their priorities are more earning a living to support a quality of life vs. earning money to buy more and more more and m...

Many are artists eking out a living but not wanting to live any other way.

Their jobs are interrelated with friendship.  The jeweler will sit down with one of the waitresses from the tea room. The handyman may have his client to dinner. My green grocer gives me hugs as well as the traditional cheek-kisses. We might share a coffee from time to time or even the Sunday when I wandered by and she invited me to share the rabbit she and her son were eating for their lunch.

Anyone in a business suit, stands out.

There doesn't seem to be the combat of my house is bigger than your house.

Sometimes I think the pressure to get ahead and to get that better car or house just feeds the corporate machine that cares nothing for their workforce on any level. They are to be manipulated into thinking they should make sacrifices for the company that will let them go the nano second they aren't needed as much. And if they are needed, make sure they are in debt so their choices are limited.

Work keeps a roof over one's head, food on the table, but here, it is not the need to discuss work-life balance. It is there. The cars may be old, the houses small, but there is time to live.

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