Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Ernie Zelinski, proponent of the good life and wearer of many t-shirts
This book appeared to me quite by chance, unbidden, and completely fortuitously, a couple of years ago. I was, at the time, working at a to-be-unspecified job for a very small chain of independent Canadian bookstores that shall remain nameless. It SHOULD have, been a good job, it COULD have been a good job; working for someone else, it might have been. But it wasn't. It made me miserable, completely miserable. Not only was I not left with sufficient TIME for any of my various art projects, I was so completely consumed by how much I hated my job that I was hardly even inclined.
I had been thinking that I would like to pursue illustration. All of my interests and predilections seemed to point to it. But I didn't know how, and all of my time/mental energy seemed caught up in work. I had no time to work on a portfolio. I wanted to do it, but how? I would think about it longingly , but week after week after month slipped by. And then Ernie Zelinski appeared.
Real Success Without a Real Job arrived at the warehouse as a 'freebie'- it was accidentally sent to us, unordered. Since it was not sent in PLACE of anything, it wasn't sent back in return for another item. I saw it on the shelf where such things wind up, and snatched it up. It seemed clear that that book was FOR ME!!!
His main points: many, even most people, are unhappy and unfulfilled working for someone else, and most likely wish that they were doing something that they cared about. That real success is what you make it, not living up to the traditional view of success, and that real success is living life in your own way, pursuing things that have meaning to you. That working at an 'unreal job' (something, ideally, that you would want to do even if you weren't getting paid) will give you a sense of freedom, satisfaction and fulfillment that a 'real' job can't.
He tells his own story, which is not a tale of miraculous luck but rather of dogged perseverance and dedication to pursuing his dream. He is not, as he readily admits, a particularly 'good' writer in terms of style or elegance, but he IS a good writer in that he writes clearly, expresses his own unique point of view and his inimitable personality. As he so succinctly put it, " I may not be able to write a book by Shakespeare, but I can write a book by me." Oh, did I mention? He is FUNNY.
Clearly, I had long ago joined the choir. The book served for me more to confirm and elaborate what I already knew or intuited. It is more inspiration and pep talk than a step-by-step guide to achieving your particular objective (although he does suggest numerous other books to consult to help you figure out your path). But WHAT a pep talk... I have re-read it countless times, and it has joined the ranks of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Hothead Paisan, Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist, and A Confederacy of Dunces as a reliable remedy for times of discouragement or depressedness.
He has also written books entitled The Joy of Not Working, How to retire Happy, Wild and Free, and The Lazy Person's Guide to Happiness.
His official website: http://www.erniezelinski.com/
p.s. it seems that the edition that I have is no longer available; I suspect that the new book Career Success without a Real Job is probably the same book, essentially.