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Do you think language plays a huge role in how we view things? What’s the difference between jobfree and jobless for example?

Searching for a job can be a tough time. On the other hand, having no job can be an interesting experience, a journey even, one you may wish to come back to later in life, on your commute from work, all exhausted. Unemployment, careers, and work are hot topics… for a reason.

Obviously, we all need to supply our basic needs and take care of families, move on with life, find a purpose in whatever we’ve chosen to do.Somehow though, being without a job temporarily isn’t such a bad thing.

One’s employment is one of those things permeated through the media by postmodern ideology as the top identifier of every individual. Consequently, people ascertain themselves through what they do. The job isn’t just a job; it’s you, a category, a label; just another label in the consumption society.

These beliefs that are deeply penetrated and now rooted in the core of western society, like everything else, can be observed through language. The news talks about unemployment rates, managers are headhunting (though there’s a more sophisticated term nowadays – talent management), young people complain of being jobless.

Change of Perspective

That word – jobless – got stuck into my mind. It made me think of how it came to be named. Why jobless? Why not jobfree? It signifies the same thing, and yet it gives a different connotation and a better feel to it. After all, an individual perspective is all it takes.

Are jobless and jobfree the same thing though? They may as well not be. What is a jobfree individual? This is how I’d describe it:

  • He/she doesn’t feel a lack of purpose for not having a job
  • He/she explores the opportunities of a life that doesn’t revolve around work and home
  • He/she feels rather free of any societal constraints
  • He/she is in control of his/her own time
  • He/she may be working freelance under the reasoning that work and a job aren’t the same thing

Surely, much can be added, though the basic supposition is clearly expressed.

The point is that everyone is free to choose what to call themselves, and although this is a given, it’s as if most of the time people underestimate the power it brings. A slight word rearrangement changes the outlook.

Otherwise, why do we spend so much time thinking of a name for our children? Is it just the ear appeal of a certain name that’s in question?

If you think about it, many are being discriminated based on their names, because it’s a signifier of a certain identity – a class, a race, an ethnicity, a group, a particular belonging.

Since preconceptions are formed through not only how certain things look or what they do but also how they sound, naming/phrasing is important.

With this in mind, a different perspective is easily offered by a simple rephrasing. Rather than take something for granted, why not toss it around, play with it, linger, and view it another way? Your way perhaps? Would you rather be jobless or jobfree?

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4 thoughts on “Language Play: Jobless vs. Jobfree

  1. Great article Sophie. Quite timely as I have just done a year job free and in returning to the workplace seem to be getting more opportunity come my way. When we fall out of society brand we can demonstrate sustainable adaptation to future employers, projects and clients. Love the writing.

    • Thanks Karl. Glad to hear things are working out for you by being jobfree. It’s definitely worth exploring that territory that initially feels insecure, but can bring about a lot of unexpected gain.

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