Category: Personal Essays

On the Meaning of ‘Buying Time’

“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, a popular song from the 1970s, became my earworm this week. I’d heard it on the radio often as a kid. But this line from the lyrics never made sense to me: “…all your money won’t another minute buy…” Now that I’m older, however, that line makes perfect sense.

Not A Public Figure: Why I’m Leaving Facebook and Twitter

Soon I’ll be leaving Facebook and Twitter permanently. I won’t delete my accounts right away, but I will no longer update them. This means I’m permanently retiring my Facebook page for The Anticareerist. At the moment I have about 1700 followers there. Due to Facebook algorithms, only a tiny fraction of them ever see what

Note To Self: When You Fear You’re Not ‘Productive’ Enough

By D. JoAnne Swanson [Author’s note: this is the first in my “Note To Self” series of personal narratives, written from the perspective of a council of beings offering support, guidance, and self-care from within.] Dear Self: Whenever you start feeling shameful or critical of yourself because of your slow progress on your book manuscripts

‘Earning a Living’ and the Dilemma of Unpaid Work

“Earning a Living” and the Dilemma of Unpaid Work On the Injustice of a World Without Unconditional Basic Income by D. JoAnne Swanson [Author’s note: It is my custom to use quotes for the phrase “earning a living” to call attention to its moral injustice.] All of us have basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, rest,

Gift-Model Crowdfunding: Why I Love Patreon

Patreon is a relative newcomer in the crowdfunding arena. It’s only been around for three years, and less than a year in its current design incarnation. It’s growing rapidly, however, and for excellent reason. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms that operate on a strictly per-project basis, Patreon permits creators to fund their creative work on a

Is Nothing Sacred? Thoughts on Leisure and ‘Doing Nothing’

What images and thoughts come to mind when you hear the word leisure? Many people automatically associate leisure with what people do in their ‘spare’ or ‘free’ time (i.e., time spent away from paid jobs), or with pursuits such as entertainment, vacations, or sports. I think we need to delve deeper when we think about

What is Radical Unjobbing?

“…a person who is radical is one who examines the roots of issues. And a radical solution to a problem is one that arises from that examination, addressing what we sometimes call the root cause, rather than the more superficial symptoms.” – Wendy Priesnitz, “On the Meaning of Radical”

What I Do For A Living: A Rant

[This essay was published on whywork.org in 2002, and its defiant tone and sassy attitude has made it a reader favorite.] What I Do For A Living: A Rant by D. JoAnne Swanson “So, what do you do for a living?” Ah, the dreaded question.  I hear it at parties, family gatherings, even from store

What I Learned When I Quit My Job: Part Two

[This essay, written in 2000, was never published on whywork.org nor anywhere else.  It is not my best work, and I couldn’t figure out how to say what I actually wanted to say in it, so I set it aside and left it unattended for years.  However, over the years many people wrote to me

What I Learned When I Quit My Job: Part One

[The following essay was originally published in 1999, as part of a short-lived monthly column in a webzine called Mr. Ridiculous, and it was later archived on whywork.org. Except for the short bio at the end, this is the original, unedited version. Although I still like the basic approach of this essay – focusing on