Quite a while ago now, I was working for a big corporate in Wellington in the IT industry, unhappy in my job and life and asking some of those big existential questions, when I stumbled across the concept of “Right Livelihood“. To cut a long story short, I retrained as a midwife and worked doing that for some years. When I ended up being mum to three kids under 5, I took a break from paid work and amongst other things started this blog. Now after a short stint in elderly care work, I am going back to midwifery, something I consider “good work”.
Ideas of good work can vary and are quite subjective. It would be judgemental to start categorising what is and isn’t ‘good’, but I guess there are some things that would spring to mind as not good. For me someone not doing good work might be …. administering leathal injections to those on death row or something.
“I’ve never been more aware of the importance of the humanities to people and society than in the last year. The humanities help people make sense of the great events of their own lives and times. There are stories that can only be told through mediums such as painting, or literary non-fiction, or poetry, or music…The particular frame that the artist or the writer puts on their account of life in the city after the earthquake — what they leave out, what they put in — determines how these events, and their politics, will be remembered.”
This is good work…..and I think the arts are often undervalued in this respect. I am lucky enough that in my new job I get to pass by some stunning art everyday. It makes me smile, some makes me think, but its art “hard at work” and in my view, doing good work.
So I am awarding many gold starts to the arts and artists today and also to all those everywhere doing good work.
The cover of the exhibition catalogue for “Good Work – The Jim Barr & Mary Barr Collection” featuring a work by Mikala Dwyer Good work (1994)