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word munger's Journal: Menial versus semi-menial labor

Journal by word munger
I was looking over last night's entry, and I think I might actually have a semi-decent point there. I wonder why that is? Why is it that I can handle mind-numbingly dull work, but not semi-boring-but-occasionally-interesting work? I get up every morning and fastiduously do the dishes, making the kitchen spotless [all right, if I was truly fastiduous, I'd have done the dishes last night, but I'm on a roll here, okay?], but my home office is a complete disaster area. To clean the office is definitely semi-menial. I need to think about where things go, what I need to keep and what I can throw away, and whether it would be better to neatly arrange all the computer cables or just pile them in a stack behind the desk. That must mean that doing the dishes isn't semi-menial but in fact fully menial. The difference, of course, is that the dishes have become routine. I don't have to think about the dishes--I can think about anything I want while I'm doing them (for example, all the semi-menial jobs I'll need to put off today), so actually, my mind is more engaged when I'm doing the dishes than when I'm paying the bills or cleaning the office. So I either need to be a dishwasher or a brain surgeon, but definitely not an accountant, a hairdresser, or, I'd venture a guess, even a computer programmer. These would all qualify as semi-menial jobs, and therefore they're not for me.
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Menial versus semi-menial labor

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