Year: 2001

Working for money or for the joy of working

I’ve had plenty of jobs so far in my life. And I have never really been unemployed (not counting one month between DD and DD, see CV, and from Dec 3rd 2004).

To work is essential, not only to earn ones living, but also for learning things and for the exchange of thoughts and ideas between people you work with.

Working can be highly satisfying for many reasons. Either that the pay is good. Or that what you do gives you pleasure and satisfaction. Or gives somebody else satisfaction. Or all of it.

The “all of it” I think is very rare though.

And the “gives you pleasure” part only does that for a while and stops doing it if you don’t get appreciation for what you do in the form of money (pay, salary, bonuses) or other kinds of rewards (happy clients, self-satisfaction for managing to do something which was a kind of a challenge to you, acknowledgement from your bosses).

That the pay is good I think is rare as well. At least that has never happened to me. And I know few people that are really satisfied with they pay.

That the pay is OK to make a living and not much more is more normal.

Some people work for the pay alone and don’t care what they do for getting their salary. They go home when the work hours are finished and never give another thought to their work. I could never work like that in the long run. What I do has to be interesting or challenging, one way or the other.


Some of my jobs have been for money alone. Like the secretary-kind-of-jobs.

I worked because I had to support myself. I didn’t have to put much “brain” into the work though. Gave plenty of time to do “other” things.

  • Like being active in the workers union.
  • Like being politically active at nights.
  • Like having my own time that I could spend like I want.

Those jobs weren’t specifically educating though, and seldom taught anything new. With the exception for the years when I worked at the then Arbetslivscentrum (see CV).

Even though my job was mainly administrative, the atmosphere of the place – as it was a research organization – made it a very intellectual place. And I usually say that the years there, working with researchers, taught me to think and to come to conclusions from whatever the line of thought was. It also taught me to find information and to put it together to something useful. They were valuable years, though the job itself wasn’t very inspiring. Except for the last few years when I got into computers and took care of our networks of Macintoshes. That’s what started me in that line of work. At an age of above 40 I found out that I was both logical and technical – who would have thought that? (Some people still have problems taking that in as I don’t fit the usual image of a person working in the IT-sector).


My mother didn’t think that having a job was very important. Not for a girl. Mother was a house-wife and was never employed anywhere during her life. She used to say that education was not important for a girl because she would get married and have children anyways. In her view it was enough learning how to type and how to behave and being a secretary should be enough as this was something a girl should do only a few years of her life when waiting to find Mr Right to get married to. And the girl would stop working…

It upset her ever so much when I at the age of 14 said that I would never marry. And that I would never have children. That I wanted an independent life.

Mother didn’t live long enough to see that this was also what I stuck to. Mother died before I reached the age of 20.


My father was more pro-education and pro having a job, even though I was/am a girl.

When I wanted to get at least a basic education to eventually go on to University, he was all pro, even though I had to live at home for those years and he, basically, had to support me. For the tuition fee (a school for grown-ups that wasn’t free of charge) and the books I took a loan from the bank (which father in the end paid so I wouldn’t have any debts later). Father gave me complete freedom to do what I wanted, to study what I wanted and to become what I wanted.

Neither of my parents came from families that studied or got into a fancy jobposition. To them studies basically was something not at all necessary. The necessary thing was to be able to support oneself in the end. No matter how this occurred.

But my father by nature was an artistic and creative person who also loved to read and to learn things. He was very open minded. And a good example that you didn’t have to have higher education to be able to think and to learn new things by yourself.


I eventually passed my G.C.E in the spring of 1966. With very good grades that could get me into any university class I wanted. I applied to some and I did get accepted as well, but I turned it down in the end.

I never did go onto higher education. By then I was to impatient to do that. Since then I have learned what I need to learn for doing what I need to do mainly by myself or by shorter courses. Why waste time on a lot of subjects you will not have any use for in the end anyways?

That is still how I think. And I have never regretted it either. I keep on learning new things all the time. And that is important to do. The brain has to work and to think and to solve problems. Working with computers and solving problems in software and hardware gives plenty of opportunities to do that. And, as the software and hardware change rapidly all the time, there is no end to the learning process.

It doesn’t get harder with advancing age either. At least that’s not my experience. It is all a matter of wanting to learn new things and to be curious enough about them to want to know more. I just hope I will never, till the day I die, stop wanting to learn new thing.

Written 2001-09-22

Posted by nini in Thoughts, 0 comments