Work and Enjoyment: Labor Day in the Creative Class

Happy Labor Day!

To everyone everywhere, enjoy a day off from whatever it is you usually do with your time. Or, if you don’t have today off, remember to take a moment for some recess and appreciate your own hard work.

As a little personal share, so far I’ve spend my day getting a new tire for my car and working on website structure on a class blog for my new job as an art teacher. I’ll also spend a little time working on curriculum, course standards, a Halloween party at the Science Factory, and some planning for monthly events at the museum. This is Labor Day in the creative class, a term coined by Richard Florida to describe professionals who are:

the classic knowledge-based workers and include those working in healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education. They “draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems” using higher degrees of education to do so (Florida, 2002). (source: wikipedia)

I guess it’s a little silly that I had to go to wikipedia to find the definition of the economic/ professional group of people I most identify with, but that’s largely because I think I personally keep a different, or more expanded, definition. Bill Ivey, in his book Art, Inc. describes the creative class a little more broadly: that they are people in any profession who evoke different parts of their lives to enrich their work and creatively contribute the best of themselves to their fields. What I like about this idea is that there is less of a distinction based on the type of work – there is no blue collar or white collar implied here – instead, this “class distinction” is centered on what an individual brings to her work, how she puts her life into her work and what she gets out of it.

yay for science and baseball caps

As a “creative class professional,” I am myself enriched by my work; I get more out of teaching and working in museums and schools than a paycheck, and I put more in than the hours I clock on my timecard. I put in the effort to seek out new experiences for my students and museum visitors when I go to the mall on weekends, or when I play with my cat. Pretty much everything I do has to do with my job(s), and that’s not because I work a lot… it’s because I make my work and my life the same thing. And I like that.

This Labor Day, I hope everyone can celebrate the hard work we all do for each other, and I hope everyone can feel the appreciation and gratitude for their work. Spend it to enjoy it, whether that be out at a barbecue, at the movies, sitting at home with a book, or sitting in a (REALLY REALLY cold air-conditioned) Starbucks working on, well, work.

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