Friday, October 16, 2009

livelihood

How many of you are "working to make a living or living to work?" I seem to hear that I am not alone in this quest, especially in these challenging times. Daily, it seems that I have an e-mail requesting a "give-away" or for barter or for "free." I just want to hear from you, from my readers. What conditions does your livelihood need in order to survive? Do you work for free just because you love it or you want to give it away for a worthy cause? Do you set limits, or are you a scrooge and never give anything away in order to protect your livelihood. Are you perhaps working towards a Nobel Prize?

Let me hear from you? How are you handling these tricky times with your work, have you been expected to take a pay-cut, to work more hours, to work for free or to pay yourself $1 dollar like some very successful people? What does it take to make your livelihood worth living for?

Wadala slums, Mumbai - Wikepedia Image
In my heart I wish we did not have to work for money but everything does seem to have a price,including the right livelihood. Tell me are you working to make a living or living to work?
images from google royalty free images

28 comments:

Nadine @ BDG said...

The balance between work and leisure seems to be an incredible challenge. I love my work most times but it compacts the rest of my life so that multi-tasking is all too common, and I never get the sense that I'm caught up. But on a global scale, there is no way I could be anything but thankful for the education, the opportunity, and the generosity I have received. Far too many are given so little. That's why, as part of my job, I am working with students to raise funds for Greg Mortenson's cause of opening schools in Afghanistan. Seems to be a sensible use of our education-- helping others get theirs. Thanks for posing the question.

Debra said...

It would be wonderful if we could do what we love and just give it away. I do at times give my illustrations away-I love doing that. But I also love contributing to my home and life! I think as at-home illustrators some may perceive that as a hobby.
I can't say I make a living with my Lifescapes- my rewards come in the way of a happy client and knowing that I have been able to bring a little something to the house-hold table. Wonderful post PvE.

Southern Aspirations said...

What a thoughtful, inspiring post and images- that will stay with me.

Work and leisure is a tough balance. I have been very fortunate in my life- but still often feel that I don't have all I want. Which makes me work harder. Sometimes the motivation is good. Sometimes, I just need to remember that I have everything I need- which is huge.

And despite investing in my MBA and all my gung ho-ness, I admit I work to live. One day, I'd like to change the balance.

Joyce said...

A WONDERFUL post and a topic to really think about.

I work part-time one day a week in a home office for a company and have the opportunity to work from home as well, so my hours are very flexible. As for my little side things I do on the side I can't say I will be retiring soon, but I enjoy what I do and have been known to give more, even with my pt job.
I think owning a small business, artist, muscian etc... has to be tough being approached a lot for donations, free and discounts. Some of my friends either narrowed down the donations to a cause close to their heart or some try to help as many and give smaller donations. Patricia I really enjoyed this topic. Have a golden weekend! xoxo

Deidra said...

I've had seasons of both. Right now, I'm working to make a living, but it's fun work with people I like. Not my dream job in any way, but I appreciate the work. I'm enjoying a few things on the side that feed my soul and allow me to use my real gifts. Volunteering and bartering included.

Our company is raising our insurance premium by 90% next year. I was a bit flustered by this, and then my husband said, "It's better than a furlough." So true. Perspective always helps a bit.

the sweet life with olives said...

I'm very fortunate that my work is being able to be a stay at home mom. Still, we feel the crisis. We have decided to put our weekend home on the market, that would give us much more of a 'nest egg' for the future. It was a big luxury while it lasted, but not essential. Fingers crossed for a sale and a brighter future for all of us. Very nice post.

My Castle in Spain said...

Great post!
i love my work even though it's tough to find clients and have a constant stream of orders and commissions. But i can't complain, i work at home and creativity is my life really.
A few years ago, a client called me up just to say : "i'm so glad you exist". Of course, it flattered my ego and then i thought perhaps i could use my work to help other people, so i spent some free time organizing creative workshops for disabled kids.
whenever i can, i give a percentage of my sales to one association for Malagasy kids. It's not much but it is a very happy moment for me, when i learn that a school has been built or a new house...
In this perspective, giving is a joy
Thank you for this vibrant post!

meg duerksen said...

my main work is raising my kids. no paycheck.
my secondary job is the photography and i am not charging much...yet.
i would say the money is not the driving force. it's the joy of the process. seeing other people than my own family behind the lens and figuring out how to get a good shot. it's a good challenge. :)
and i love that.
but i don't know if i would do it for free. so i guess it is for the money...???
but it's a good life.
i think if it had to be for money...because of a job loss by my husband...it would change everything!

Ina in Alaska said...

Interesting post and comments. I work for a living and to help out. I am a former teacher but have worked with my husband in his law practice for 23 years. I am lucky I can come and go as I choose but every day is an interesting one and you never know what the day will bring. Even if I left the law practice I know I would volunteer or have a part time job because I enjoy people and being out and about.

CashmereLibrarian said...

I'm working to make a living. I certainly have one of the better jobs in the world but I would rather do other things with my time, if I could.

Courtney said...

We both decided to give up the "living to work" mentality a few years ago. When I moved from NYC, I had a really tough time finding a job in my industry. So instead I took a job with great pay, even better hours and worked for people I adored. That job allowed my quality of life to skyrocket and it was then I decided I'd never go back to the daily grind in a way that was so taxing on me and my family.

JJ took this job overseas because of his love for international business and travel, not for what it gives us. We feel so blessed to (1) even have a job, but (2) to be able to have an expat package...they're few and far between these days. But more than anything, we love the travel and opportunities it's afforded us. He shuts off work when he walks in the front door and honestly that's one of the things I love most about my husband! Great topic!!

home before dark said...

Thought provoking images and words today, PVE. This fall, I turned 60 and marked the 14th year of my retirement from the world of work. I retired to regain my health and my spirit. My beloved has supported our decision 100%. I do with less on many fronts. I do with more in areas that mean the most to me: the ability to create my own environment with my hands and time. I give to charities that I see making a difference. It is important to give back at whatever level and means you can. Today I read that 1 percent of Americans have 90 percent of our country's wealth. Disgusting I'd say.

Purple Flowers said...

An excellent post Patricia. Very thought provoking.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Patricia, I think that people who do not do art have no idea how labor-intensive it is. Really they just have no clue. I do donations to causes I believe in on a VERY limited basis. I usually keep it to one per year. Last year I gave a large piece from my collection to a cause at a friends request, because I was working on a major job and didn't have time to make anything for it. I have regretted it ever since because it was a piece that was very close to my heart. Working from a home studio is rarely lucrative. It's an ongoing struggle to maintain a balance (time, financial) for the privilege of doing this kind of work.

pve design said...

I love all your lively comments!
REally wonderful.
pve

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

I feel like I perhaps do both at times. I must work on a creative level yet constantly try to balance it out. I will never get it right, but I keep trying. I have been fortunate in that I have always been able to try my hand at numerous creative pursuits over my lifetime, some paid well, some not really. Many creative people have to make their own jobs for less pay and you have to give them crdit for not compromising their true calling.

Kwana said...

I saw a question very similar on the little church on the hill this week. Ideally we would strike a balance but it's touch in this economy. We should work for the joy but also get what we are worth of course.

Prairie Girl Studio said...

thank you for putting this topic forth today, pve!

this is a constant struggle for me ... i so wish there was no money in the world ... and i have to say that when i am working for someone ~ like a small business to get an identity and on their feet with a strong advertising campaign ~ the real pay is seeing them get ahead!

i find it hard to charge for the ideas i get and give, as the ideas come so easily to me. i am notorious for 'not billing' and usually not enough ~ poor business practice? probably. my husband often asks (with a smile) if this might be a 'paid' job ... if it wasn't for his faithful support both emotionally and financially and our rooted belief in not letting our lives be for working but for living, i would definitely be on a different path. gratefully, my husband and i have diverse skills that we know we could fall back on if need be, but so far we haven't had the rug pulled out from under us and for sure my whole practice and outlook on work could possibly change quickly ... we can only cross that bridge if it comes ...

my favourite and most creative work is often for non-profit organizations, but certainly not working towards a nobel prize ... nothing like that... it just feels good to help ...

so, you see it is a constant struggle but i am learning how to set limits so that what i do is viable ... both in my graphic design work and in my harp performing ... and i think it is as important for my clients and those who want to pay for my work, as it is for me ...

i sincerely admire and respect what you do, pve ~ thank you again for today's topic ...

prairiegirl xo

pve design said...

Kwana,
Yes, driving by that sign inspired me. I think of my Grandmother who raised "9" children and worked til she was 93, some might call it work, but that was her way of living. She loved working, seeing customers and she always was happy to work.
pve

Rob Anderson said...

i recently published a new twist on how to raise funds for charities.
you see the old way of manning a cake stand does not work.
i am a firm believer in the keep giving school of thought.
hell to free pages on my sites.
Keep up your good work.
CARING NEVER HURTS!

Rob Anderson
http://Affiliate.information-here.com/preview-4-books.html

Inty swetha said...

oh pve! i can't believe you did a post on my country! Mumbai is the financial capital of India and you can see luxurious homes there and Mumbai also has the Asia's largest Slum! you might have known about this in the movie - "slumdog Millionaire".

and i work for a living!

Simply Mel said...

My jobs have always seemed to find me, so I guess I live to work. Although, work is a must to provide the livelihood of which we are accustomed, but we also agree that enjoying life and having time is far more important than making a lot of money. Currently, we are both self-employed, so times are very tough. We are also the type of people who always get nervous when sending out invoices even though we give 200% with everything we do. Through the years, we have grown stronger and learned that if you ask for it, it normall happens and will come. It is vitally important for me to love what I do or the rest of my life suffers. I could go on and on and on about this subject because it is very near and dear to my heart. Great post!

VictoriaArt said...

This is such timely subject. I try to work for a living, business is still in the taking off phase and I wish I could support our family a bit better, so far most rests on my husbands shoulders. That makes me feel not always so good.
Given the state of the world and the problems I see elsewhere daily I feel fortunate and grateful.

We give where we can! And we are frugal too.

Emily said...

I agree there must be a balance, otherwise you won't survive! I wish I could remember the verse; it is good to work so you can provide for those truly impoversed. My husband and I "work to live"; my husband being a school teacher and I am a homemaker. But we still try to manage a way to contribute. I'm sure you are approached very often for free and donated items; you must have a discerning eye! To be so creative is a dear blessing, yet I'm sure finding a healthy balance between your livelyhood & charity can be very challenging. One idea is to tithe a portion of your art. For instance for every nine works you could contribute a donated work. Even that is extremely generous. And that may help keep your career protected and in order. You could count your blog as part of that as you add thoughtful reflections and topics to your readers' lives.

pve design said...

Inty-
Yes I did see Slumdog - and I was very emotionally saddened by it. I guess I was raised that there was more than enough, even though I knew there were people with much more and those with much less.
A livelihood should be connected to a cause to keep one grounded. I guess greed has and always will be part of every neighborhood. We must teach empathy and concern for one another - then our livelihood is all about living.
pve

Summer is a Verb said...

I agree with Oprah that if your follow your passion the money will follow. With the caveat that you are also generous, tithing at least 10% of your income. That tithing can also come in the form of time or commitment given. Not always easy to do but a good yard stick in general...XXOO

annechovie said...

Ugh! This is an ongoing struggle, PVE. Tough to strike the right balance. Also, in a creative field, people seem to sometimes think that it doesn't necessarily "cost" you anything to work so it should all be free or very cheap, but we artists have ecpenses, too, right? I give away a percetage of my income so that it keeps greed away and keeps me thankful!

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

I think about this all the time. I once had a creative career that I loved. But then my daughter was born and I realized soon after that I loved her more. So I left the creative job for one that allowed me to work at home... not creative, lots of numbers and math and data entry, but decent pay and a flexible schedule so that being a mom could be my primary job. The numbers job paid the bills and I found other ways to be creative as often as possible. Trying to get back to a creative job now that the daughter is grown is tricky but I hope to make it happen. Yes, this economy gets in the way of that and has affected my numbers job salary too, but I'm so thankful to have it that I don't mind continuing to "work to live" until I'm lucky enough to be "living to work" again.
An additinal thought: when your "work" is simply the way you make money to afford your "life", it's even more important, I think, that you make that life something worth working so hard for.
Interesting post. I really enjoyed reading all of the thought-provoking comments.