What Is Your Labor Of Love?

I'll bet you'd like to relax with THIS guy (sorry, males...I couldn't resist!)

The American job market ain’t what it used to be and many people are, understandably,  taking the first job that comes their way.  Lots of writers and actors do that anyway as they try to make it in the field they love.

I saw some interesting statistics about where and how people are working these days (shown below). I’ll confess that I snorted at the commute times because I live in Southern California – I commute an hour each way to work. And that’s on a good day.

American Workers Trivia

  • The average time it takes to commute to work. 24.3 minutes
  • The amount of time the average American spends commuting to work each year is more than 100 hours. (Do you realize this exceeds the typical two weeks of vacation time taken by many U.S. workers over the course of a year. I commute about 180 hours a year.)
  • 7.3 million workers hold down more than one job. “Moonlighters” comprise 5 percent of the working population. Of these, 3.8 million work full time at their primary job and part time at their other job, and about 293,000 work full time at both jobs. (I believe this number is under-reported and actually higher.)
  • 10.3 million workers are self-employed.
  • 4.5 million people work at home.

That last stat…does it count the stay-at-home moms (SAHM) or the people who looked for work for so long that they gave up and started their own cottage industry? I kinda doubt it.

And what about you, my faithful More Cowbell friends? What do you work at when you’re not writing brilliant comments on this blog and others?

What is your “day job?” If it’s a Labor of Love for you, why? If you could do or be anything, what would it be? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!

p.s. I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful three day weekend!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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37 Responses to What Is Your Labor Of Love?

  1. Good morning, Jenny! I know you’re studying the inside of your eyelids as I type this (6:13 a.m. Central) My communte to work (F/T writer) takes approximately two hours each day. That commute time isn’t wasted (usually). OKAY! I confess. I check out “What were they thinking?” to see celebs with huge budgets in dorky outfits. Some make it onto characters in my books, so that’s technically research, right? During the balance of my commute, I bop into email, hop to blog faves and comment.

    Must go now. I have a dirty fighting piece to write for the COWBELL challenge with Naked Editor. BTW, it is SO not fair you’re limiting me to 150 words. I’m challenged to post here in 150 words or less.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Actually, I’m up with a food poisoned honey! Boy, your commute sounds more interesting than mine.

      On the entry, if you just snip us some dialog, you’ll make the limit, I promise. I thought about making it longer, but Tiffany will be adding words and dissecting for punch so I didn’t want the post (with 3 entries to do) to be massive.

      I’m so excited to see your entry.🙂

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  2. Linda Burke says:

    Before moving to DC, my commute, one-way, was 45 minutes. In DC, my commute was between 15 and 20 minutes but some of my co-workers had a 2 hour commute (one way).
    I am now retired and loving it.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Linda…brag, brag, brag! What did you do before you retired?

      Like

      • Linda Burke says:

        I worked for (wait – do I dare reveal this? oh, okay) IRS. I was a tax auditor until I moved to DC where I worked in forms and publications keeping my share of those pesky forms, instructions, and publications up to date. So if you’ve ever researched Publication 334 or Form 1120 (corporate) or Form T (timber), you’ve seen some of my work.

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        • Jenny Hansen says:

          After training the IRS (back in 1998), I’ve felt bad for the auditors. Y’all get flack on the inside AND the outside. I work for accountants right now so I’m slowly learning about all these forms.

          I’ll bet you’re happy to be retired.🙂

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        • OMG…my husband is a manager for an H&R Block store and currently putting together one of the tax courses he teaches. So yes…I’m a “tax widow” each Jan-April…when I get most of my fictioning done.

          I commute up the stairs–been doing that since 1992. Yep, a “cottage industry” that took off, so to speak. Didn’t really make serious $$ until 1998 with a couple really nice book deals and since then has gone up and down (as with any freelance job). Still hanging on by my fingernails. No regular check but I’ve saved on aspirin since going it alone.

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        • Jenny Hansen says:

          Amy, that’s awesome that you’ve been doing the writing thang for so long! What did you do before you did that?

          And yes, I’m gearing up for the time when none of my accountants want to talk to me.🙂

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  3. Linda Burke says:

    What training were you doing?

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I was on the team that went to all the offices across the country doing the Outlook 98 upgrade. I look back now and laugh that they paid us to do that, but at the time it was considered to be a big deal.🙂

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      • Linda Burke says:

        In ’98, it was big because we had very few computers and only a limited number of people were allowed to use them (paranoia is rampant). Now everyone uses a computer; some managers even have two – desk and lap tops. The people who had been there a long time knew nothing about personal computers.

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  4. K.B. Owen says:

    Nice beefcake, Jenny! I used to teach lit courses at George Washington University part-time, but as the sections dried up and I became more committed to writing, we decided that I should try to make a go of writing full-time. The jury’s still out on that decision, but I’m plugging away! Keeping the faith.🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Hey, you gotta have a little beefcake visual on a holiday weekend. Hilarious story on that – one of my gay pals totally ogled my beefcake and commented on Facebook. First time he’s ever commented on my blogs.🙂

      Do you know that I looked at GWU, and have a friend’s kid who is graduating from there this year. Great school! I got a full ride to American University and it came down to that vs. University of Missouri and the school with the great journalism school won out. Which is hilarious because I didn’t do poli sci OR journalism!

      You should be keeping the faith – your writing rocks.

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  5. drimhof says:

    Hey Sis,
    I’m currently reading your blog at my “labor of love” on Labor Day. We were supposed to be closed by accidentally scheduled 10 people for today so… I’m working. I’m a lucky one, I commute 5 minutes to work, 10 with “traffic.” I work full time and then I’m home. Besides networking events to bring in more business 2-4 times per week my only other activity is church nursery. I’m so boring.

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  6. Jess Witkins says:

    I’m fortunate not to have a big commute time, it’s just a 15 minute drive for me. However, I see a plus to longer commutes-cause I do occasionally have to drive up to the cities for work, and that’s a 3 hour drive (one way). On those trips I listen to audio books. Right now I’m listening to Sin in the Second City, a history of Chicago’s early brothels-quite intriguing! LOL.

    As for the actual job. I am not working a labor of love. I work as a sales manager in a department store, and the job is stressful with not a lot of recognition, or it is, it’s short lived cause we’re always moving onto the next sale/event. I am steering myself into more of a training field which I enjoy much more, but still, writing is the ultimate dream.

    It’s funny, I think I got more writing actually done when I worked 3 part-time jobs and went to school than I do with one full time job. I’ll admit it’s tough right now to change fields. I’ve applied to several academic positions and I can’t get an interview. I get a reply e-mail saying thanks, we had over 200 applicants, the position is now filled. Being on the other side of the “electronic screening process” at my current job, I’m pretty sure we’re missing out on good people and I haven’t a CLUE why some get through. Which, is sad really. Hope things turn around soon!

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    • hawleywood40 says:

      Jess – I so get what you mean about getting more writing done with several part-time jobs and school than with one full-timer on your plate. For me, I think its that my part-time jobs were “come in, do your shift, and go home” kinds of things – it wasn’t expected that I’d do anything more than do my job when I was scheduled to work. My full-time jobs have always been salaried, ’til the job is done’ kinds of deals and a combination of an overload of work and my own perfectionist nature means it never ends : ).

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jess , that audiobook sounds awesome. I usually use the time talking hands free and catching up with my peeps. I’ve always found you get more writing done with a piecemeal schedule. It seems that you find more pockets of time vs. when there’s a long span of day and the lunch break is iffy.

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  7. hawleywood40 says:

    I work as a systems development person at a university. I wouldn’t call it a labor of love, but it is a good compromise for a writer who has to pay the bills somehow – I work around creative people who care about learning, and for me that’s so much better than a corporate environment! I also have a sweet commute of under 15 minutes. That commute is one of the reasons I’ve stayed at my university over the years rather than looking elsewhere too – the only way I’d ever consider going somewhere else unless I had to was if the longer commute came with a few guaranteed work-at-home days a week!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      While I’m jealous of your commute, Pam, I’ve had those never-ending jobs and they’re really hard. I worked at home for three years and it doesn’t really save you much work – it just means that your work is more accessible (and the boss knows it).

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  8. Great post for Labor Day🙂

    That hour each way is why I refuse to move to So. Cal. though That Man would love to return to Upland (all for proximity to Angel home games :slaps palm to forehead:). The 45 minute commute I had to deal with in Miami was as much as I could handle and that was off hours, noon to 9pm shift.

    I’m a SAHM, definitely a labor of love…or maybe patience. Now, my writing commute is as long as it takes for me to walk downstairs for coffee, LOL

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oooh, Raelyn…my kind of girl!! Re: “commute is as long as it takes for me to walk downstairs for coffee.” I’m a SAHM part of the week, but she’s not in school yet so, on the bad days, I’m lucky to get coffee.🙂

      Upland isn’t remotely close enough for a true Angels fan. That’s an hour away on game day!! Longer in rush hour traffic…

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      • I’ve tried that argument, LOL. But Upland is his old stomping grounds.

        He just needs to make due by sitting in his Angel stadium seats (yes he grabbed a set when they did the remodel — orange so does not go with my decor🙂 ) and watch on the big screen. So I put my foot down when it comes to peanut shells on the floor…

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  9. My commute is about 15 feet from the computer to the coffeemaker. Before I retired, I sold health insurance for nursing home employees all over Texas. My longest commute was 500 miles to McAllen. But then, I usually made one or two trips a month, leaving me at home with this 15-foot commute most of the time. I loved my work, but I hate what’s happened to the health insurance field in recent years.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Lucky man, David! I don’t like any aspect of what’s happening with healthcare the last few years. I’m delighted to hear you’re out of the industry and loving retirement!

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  10. When I worked it was 45 minutes to an hour one way. My youngest works not too far from where I used to so it’s the same for her. My husband has about a 15 minute commute and it’s kept that way deliberately. His job is very physical working in and around multi million dollar machines. I do not want him so tired he makes a mistake and gets hurt so it’s a priority he gets the rest he needs.

    My son in law lives in Maryland but works in D.C. so he has a very long ride but fortunately he car pools. He catches up on his sleep then. Holly, my eldest, is going to school and that is a daily hour and a half drive one way, bless her heart.

    As for me my job right now is a homemaker/writer. I’m working on being a homemaker/author. My current commute is around my home and to the computer.🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I think if I had to do it every day, it would wear me to the bone. Since i only do it for a few days, it has become my think time. Still jealous about the commute to the coffee pot!

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  11. Yeah, “293,000 work full time at both jobs” does sound low.
    I’d tell you the length of my commute but you’d either a) hate me, b) cry or possibly c), both. Yes, I do leave the house, but I get to work without the freeway. My drive is about long enough, time to wind down at the end of the day. Mind you, with your commute I’d be wound UP by the time I got home!
    Hope you had a good weekend!
    Cheers

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  12. Jenny Hansen says:

    LOL, Nigel…your comments always make me laugh. Thanks for stopping in….I’ve gotta go cry now.🙂

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  13. jamilajamison says:

    My “labor of love” is my job as a grad student/teaching assistant in the undergraduate sociology courses at my university. My current commute is roughly 10-15 minutes each way, which is wonderful, given that I lived at home during undergrad and had a 30-45 minute commute each way. I’m close enough to campus so that the drive isn’t onerous, but removed enough to have the ability to disconnect from that world. There were a LOT of things I’ve wanted to do over the years (makeup artist, fashion designer, virologist, music therapist, forensic psychologist), but I really love what I do. There is something incredibly satisfying about engaging with social issues and training the ‘next generation’ to look at the world around with a critical lens.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Love the last sentence of that comment, jamila…good for you! You know, you might be the first person I’ve ever met who wanted to be a virologist!! I love your early career aspirations.🙂

      Like

  14. catwoods says:

    I’m an independent contractor and work with divorcing families and as a child advocate in the court system. My commute is completely dependent on the job I take. My career path (though part time now to fit in around my writing and child-rearing schedules) is most definitely a labor of love.

    As a side note, my father-in-law commutes 3.25 hours one way five days a week. That’s six and a half a day or almost 35 hours per week. He’s at work by 6:30 am most days. I hope to God his job is a labor of love!

    Interesting stats.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Cat,

      What a meaningful job! You definitely know you are making a difference. Most people who commute that many hours just get a room or a part-time apt near their work so I hope it’s a labor of love for him too. That wins the LONG COMMUTE prize here at More Cowbell…Oy.

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  15. Day job… bookkeeper.🙂 I’m happy that it breaks the monotony of my life.🙂 Live in SoCal, too–the valley. Commute is 45-60 minutes both ways. Using that time to listen to my audio books and meditate.

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