the job

i was lying on the couch in the trailer at sauvies island listening to a sad, sad song when i realized that i had to quit my job. 13 hrs./day and 6 days/week, i decided, wasn't going to cut it.

it was a tough decision to make, so i slept on it. sometimes you gotta do that. i had this strange feeling that i was making a life-altering bad call, and at the same time i felt sure that quitting the job i had only just started would be best.

after the second night of sleeping on it, i was sure, if uneasy, that i needed to do something else with my time. i called the ceo and let him know i wasn't going out this season... and then i started free-falling into the uncertain world of recent college graduates with liberal arts degrees.

my first week as a jobless bloke found me applying for open positions like mad - at least six hours a day. i sent out a lot of applications, resumes, cover letters and references. as a seasonal landscaper/gardener/etc, i knew that the fact that i had so many temp jobs meant nothing. the work season is short here in oregon; once the rains hit, it's over.

i created a system for applying for jobs. my google docs account sprouted new documents - cover letters, first-contact emails and references were stored in a neat little row next to my newly-vamped-up resume and professional resume. i even kept an application log, which detailed each job, where i found it and the point in the application process which i had reached.

what kind of job do you get right out of college? i wanted something creative - not an easy task on today's job market. i also wanted to stay in the wilamette valley (talk about limited options!). the most limiting thing, however, was probably my attachment to certain ethical standards...

i have this theory that many people are trapped in jobs that they either hate or strongly dislike, doing things that the young idealist version of themselves would have punched them for. i know i am a young idealist, and i have quite different ideas about what is good for society/societies than many much more experienced people; however, i just couldn't imagine myself using my time and creativity in a way that helps to enlarge the financial means of a group of stock-holders at the direct expense of everyone and everything else.

why not work for a large corporation? i would likely end up drinking myself to death. i have seen too many folks going down that road - down into social alienation or depression. because i don't own any land, my only means of production is my physical body and what my hands can do. to place that in the hands of an institution would be a strange kind of suicide.

so i set out to find a job that wouldn't make me wish i wasn't living on this earth - and found one! i recently joined talino design's metroleta program as a writing and editing intern.

metroleta is a program which connects teachers to parents and other teachers and provides them with learning tools for free in a private online environment. ad revenues generated in other parts of the site (videos, articles and columns like mine) go to help elementary school teachers purchase school supplies and snack for their classrooms.

talino gave me one of the best interviews of my life, and i am very excited to be part of the team now. look for my new column on metroleta.com starting soon! : )

as ever,


i also moved to corvallis and started working at the stables in trade for rent. you can check out happy trails riding center on facebook here.

check out my new place!


  1. Joel,

    As a young idealist, I am glad that you found a place to work that you enjoy and can use your writing skills at! :D

    I know a few guys with families who had to take the risk of quitting jobs they hated and took that risk. They said that the jobs they were holding down made it hard for them to sustain the will to live. I hope that someday, no one will have to say that about the work they do. (Unfortunately, both of these guys have a ridiculously high hospital bills so of course, making said risks were super hard).

    However, best wishes my friend,

  2. @rachel:

    "I am glad that you found a place to work that you enjoy and can use your writing skills at!"

    : ) thanks. i'm glad too.

    "I hope that someday, no one will have to say that about the work they do."

    - me too! here's to a better world!