Half the people I know don’t have real jobs, or don’t have real jobs most of the time. Maybe it’s even more than half, as most of the people I know are writers, journalists, readers, artists, that sort of folk. I have been fortunate to have a real job reading scripts, but how much longer it will last, I have begun to doubt.
It’s been hard on me.
But last week I came across a nice story in the LAWeekly about a folk singer named Peter Case. Case has been living as a freelancer–mostly on the road–his whole life. He has a book out, numerous records, and he’s moderately famous. (You can hear a full sample of the wonderful Zero Hour from his Plimsouls garage band era on MySpace, but he’s a Mississippi John Hurt-influenced folkie these days, and a good one: check out his guitar playing on "When the Catfish is in Bloom" on iTunes.)
He has a way to describe living the expressive life without a real job: he calls it "The Precarity."
There’s a new word for the freelance life now — it’s called precarity. And what it refers to is that people who are freelance, they can’t tell if they’re working 24/7, or if they’re unemployed. What we’re up against now is an era where everybody’s time is completely dominated, and everybody’s working for free.
There’s a lot more to the piece. Take a look at the interview by Dave Schulman. Here’s Peter Case: