The best job in the world | Reinventing work

Reinventing workEVER HEAR A CAREER ADVISOR RECOMMEND A JOB AS A TATTOO SHAMAN? Or a primitive living skills instructor? A mobile minister? A Conscious Evolution Officer?

Me neither.

Yet these are some of the careers contributors to this month’s MOON have created for themselves in response to their own inner talents and callings.

It’s a good thing, too, because traditional career paths have not kept pace with rising population. Worldwide, “official” unemployment rose to nearly 202 million people in 2013 according to the International Labor Organization. Alarming as this number is to those who track these things, it understates the actual number of people without visible means of support. For example, worldwide, the same International Labor Organization reports there are 300 million young people Not in Employment, Education, or Training–otherwise known as NEETs. Unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa remains at an astonishing 77 percent; Spain 26 percent; South Africa 25 percent; Iraq, 17 percent; the U.S. and Canada 7 percent.

Meanwhile, those who have landed jobs are often not faring much better. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there isn’t a state in the union where a minimum wage job is adequate to cover the $1300/month average rent for a two-bedroom apartment, if one applies the standard 30% of income rule to gauge “affordability.”

And what about those exiting college, or graduate school, with tens of thousands of dollars in debt? Without a job to cover the payments, the interest on the debt just keeps piling up—and not even bankruptcy will liberate debtors from this obligation.

What’s going on here? In our rush to maximize profits and “efficiency”—outsourcing and mechanizing jobs that once paid a living wage—we’ve excluded millions of people from full participation in the global economy. But these people don’t just disappear—much as some people might wish them to. They subsist on public assistance, join the underground economy, or create new ways to sustain themselves.

This issue focuses on those pursuing the third course of action. We interview Matthew Fox, an Episcopalian priest who saw the need and wrote the book, The Reinvention of Work, back in 1994. We also interview Martin Leyva, who promised himself he would never return to prison the last time he was released, and now has one of the best jobs in the world by his own definition.  We also hear from Katie Russell, aka “professional Wilderbabe;” Jen Shakti, tattoo shaman; Tia Walker, Conscious Evolution Officer (CEO); Rev. Ross Foti, whose life is his ministry and whose church has no walls; Robert Shetterly, painter of “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” Judy Piazza, a rhythms and resonance tour guide; and Robert Iulo, a retired building engineer whose job gave him an unexpected and unprecedented gift one cold Sunday morning in February.

We’re also proud to share great poetryshort stories, Movies You Might’ve Missed, a Gallery of Shetterly’s truth-telling Americans, MOON Shine, and more.

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