Yesterday, a friend, as they say, heard that her partner was invited for a two week walking tour in Sri Lanka. It was immediately clear and fine that the partner would go but it left my friend feeling somewhat sore. This is then partly a short tale of a very boring moment of jealousy but something more emerged with that: value and what was of value.
Now my friend works a lot with refugees and asylum seekers to the exclusion of paid work at times. My friend gains a lot of kudos from this at times and her work is valued and respected by many. However my friend doesn’t always feel valued because she is not paid. Partly she needs money to provide for herself but partly this is because she hasn’t been selected competitively to do the work but has chosen to do it.
So my friend doesn’t feel valued. The relation to the trip is that the jealously was not of travelling to Sri Lanka. Working with asylum seekers and refugees my friend often finds herself in far flung places only a few miles from her house. The world has come to her and she visits frequently. The jealously was of value. My friend felt that staying at home instead of travelling to Sri Lanka was a lesser option even though she deeply holds that her voyage through the world right here at home is a more ethical and demanding journey than one full of a purely pleasurable consumption of the world.
So my friend has decided that perhaps it is time to stop feeling that the work she does is something else less than work.