A long time ago, when clouds were made of cotton candy and lollipops still cost 10c, I got my first real job. My brother and I were the proud new cucumber pickers at the farm across the creek from our house. Each day we spent like 10 hours crouched in long rows picking the ripe fruit and discarding the mutated ones like little disc jockeys. Once our buckets were full, we would lug them all the way back to a parked truck with a bigger crate on the back, and dump them in.
We had to wear old pairs of socks on our arms with holes cut for our fingers to stop the prickly vines mauling us. In between shifts we would eat our packed lunches in the paddock and share disjointed conversation with the other Vietnamese backpackers who were living there. We had little to no responsibility. No one really talked to us or scolded us. We’d come home hot and tired, with brown dust plugging our nostrils. But we earned 20 bucks a day. And before long were comfortably funding Tamagotchis and Pokemon cards. I’ve never really had another job quite like this, or another Tamagtochi. And I am lamenting the fact that I probably never will.
Jobs have now become so much a part of our identity. Within the first 2.75 milliseconds of meeting someone, they will most certainly ask, so what do you do? Aka: What is your social klout and how much money do you earn? The answer could just as easily be, I like to go skiing on my weekends, my favourite soup is pea and mint and I collect postage stamps from the 1950’s.
We could offer up a list of personal things that articulate who we are as people, but instead, we revert back to our pseudo identities – our jobs. We are what we do. We get home from work and we talk about work. We talk about work on the weekends. We brace for returning to work on holidays. And we are always thinking about work. Most of my generation have been overthrown by a reckless interloper - the success identity - which ruthlessly abandons the commandeered to beliefs designed to erase their true selves. And if you don’t like your day job, you’re hustling some sort of ‘cool’ side project you can tell people about.
I can only make these accusations so vehemently, because I am one of these people. But I will be trying my darned hardest to rethink my response when people ask me what I do. I’m not going to say, Oh, I’m a photographer and writer. I will instead retort, I make tropical-themed granola in the depths of winter.
- 3 cups unprocessed oats
- 1 ½ cups crushed macadamia nuts
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon ground fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground/powdered vanilla
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup finely chopped dried mango
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (optional)
- Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Lay out thinly on a baking tray (you may even need two).
- Bake on a very low oven for about an hour. You will need to toss it every 15 minutes or so.
- Serve with almond or coconut milk.