I’ve been doing this blog about living with schizophrenia for a little over four years at this point. Even though I haven’t turned a profit from it, I consider it the best and most meaningful job I ever held. It doesn’t compare. The only other job I ever held that was even close to being a mental health blogger/advocate was when I was working as an instructors’ aide as a graduate assistant years ago. I enjoyed substitute teaching classes, grading papers, proctoring exams, answering students’ questions, and doing academic research. It’s too bad I lost that job because of my grades in the masters’ courses. I didn’t really care to be some business hotshot; I really wanted to get my masters’ in economics so I could teach economics and personal finance classes at a junior college or small state university. This was before I found out that the majority of junior college teachers are part timers or adjuncts. But then, many non management employees are part timers. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is so the employers don’t have to pay benefits. I never got benefits at any job I ever held. That’s why I’m on disability insurance through Social Security. If I were to go back to work, it would have to be where I was completely cured of schizophrenia. Many insurance companies won’t cover preexisting conditions and the suggestion of single payer universal healthcare in the USA is very unpopular. So here I am on disability and wanting to contribute. But if I got even a 30 hour a week job at McDonald’s, that would be enough for the feds to toss me out of the program.
Since I am unable to work for money because of the current system, I have had to find other ways to contribute that doesn’t involve me making money. That is why I blog about life with a mental illness. Many may dismiss my work as I don’t make money from it and I don’t have a large audience. But many people do volunteer work and don’t see any money from it. There are people who deliver meals to elderly and disabled people, people who hand out blankets and bedding at homeless shelters, people who coach Little League baseball, people who teach Sunday school, among numerous others. A person doesn’t have to make a lot of money (or any money) to make a difference in other people’s lives. My brother works as an engineer and makes six figures, but I doubt he has thousands of people in over 100 different nations that have seen his work. My parents have done medical missionary work in Panama and had a reach that way. And they made no money from their several trips. Sometimes a person has to do something just because it’s the right and beneficial thing to do regardless if money changes hands.
One of highest paid professions in the world is as hedge fund manager on Wall Street. And yet do they really build anything or create anything besides moving money (most of it digits on a computer) around? I’m not anti business but I think there are better measures of someone’s worth to a nation or civilization than how big their net worth is. I understand if someone produces a service, an idea, or an item that many people want, then yes that person should probably make something in return for the years of thankless hard work and hard times. The “overnight successes” often came to be that way through years of quiet hard work, having good mentors and studying their fields. If this blog ever became something like a best selling book or a well watched youtube channel or lead to a career as a writer for an online journal, I wouldn’t refuse the money. I just hope I wouldn’t forget that telling the truth about mental illness and it’s related problems should be what my work is all about.
Ideally, I would love to be cured of schizophrenia and be able to work again and not worry about having to take medications every night. As many advances as medical science is making anymore, that might not be the fantasy it was even ten years ago. If I did become cured, sure I would have to find a job and likely update my education. But that would be a good headache to have. With my blogging skills, maybe I could get a job as a technical writer. Or maybe by then machines will have taken most of the jobs and made living so inexpensive that money doesn’t matter very much. Just in my life in the last ten years, with so much being digitized and put for free or near free access online, I can live cheaper now than I could ten years ago. And if things like 3D printing takes off like most technicians and scientists think it will, money will matter even less to me ten years from now than it does now. A farmer in rural Africa with a micro financed smart phone has more computing power and access to civilization’s information than did NASA in the 1960s when they were sending astronauts to the moon and back. We are living in some cool and interesting times. And right now much of this can be enjoyed by even lower class people (at least lower class by modern standards) for not much money. And I think as tech advances, money may matter less and less with each passing decade. Maybe when I’m an old man unpaid work will be the norm because machines do most of the manufacturing or farming. It is some cool times were in even if the ride is bumpy and rough at times. Stay tuned.