A Visual Response To Illegibility

I was trying to explain the key arguments of this blog post to my mother last week. It's an undeniable trend that more and more people find themselves, with a varying sense of willing, working and living 'illegibly.' Not to say that we live the nomadic lifestyle to the extent that the poster might but that I have very few friends who could honestly give themselves a job description. The days of seeing a two, three, four or even five word title that can neatly describe and reduce the activity of an individual are numbered I would hope: There's something remarkably aversive about being labelled a 'Regional Sales Manager' and having that as the dominating descriptor and first impression of you as a rounded, complete and living being.

So how do we describe ourselves? It's something that I've been struggling with. I've narrowed my elevator pitch into a tag line - Bringing Un-Shiny Futures To Life Since 2045 - but I'm hoping to chisel it even further down as I develop my practice. Describing legibility and the way that perhaps future employment systems might operate is not easy though. You're best off reading the Ribbon Farm post linked at the beginning for a better meaning of legibility in regard to lifestyle and employment but I was interested in how the readings of individuals as employable actors and the confines of those might work. So I drew some diagrams. Because I love doing that.

So, I'm going to grotesquely generalise and say that your job could basically be split into a Venn diagram of what you WANT to do and what you CAN do in pink and blue respectively.

So we might think that the more these two cross, the happier we are with our job. So, if you're big on catching rats and have the skills necessary to catch rats then you're set. Nice one. Likewise if you've had a lifelong passion for planes and just happen to be able to fly planes then you're probably set up for life. Of course I'm not taking into account the educational, cultural and other systemic factors that might make someone passionate about catching rats and give someone else pilot training.

Regrettably, sometimes these  two circles might never meet. Hollywood tends to make films based in run-down parts of town around this area and I know plenty of folk who can't use a computer but love particle physics as a less extreme example.

That's not to say that these two spheres are the same size either. I know a great many people with incredible passions but little in the way of applicable ability.
And then there's the 'expert' paradigm. The type of person I always tend to have run-ins. Those with a great amount of skill and expertise but tend to have passion for little else except bullying those less skilled or showing off.

But I wouldn't say this is how employment works. No matter what your skills and passion are and how they relate, the chances are you will only get paid to use a cross-section of those. Not many Bank Managers are paid for their skill with small-gauge railway modelling and no-one has ever paid me to play video games. In the instance below the work, which being legible is strictly confined to use and value a large amount of skill but employs relatively little of the person's passion.
We might find this a more rewarding job for our interests, but requiring very little skill or ability would make it highly competitive and potentially unfulfilling if there wasn't a feeling that you're abilities were being used.
A happier medium might be something like this. The confines of the job are widened. In doing so it's legibility is less readable but we might find it more enjoyable as it uses a variety of skill and employs our passions.
A truly illegible person therefore might work in an area something a little like this. There are large parts of their work which are unrewarding. Sometimes they might be asked to utilise their skill with little in the way of interest and vice-verse. But there's variety, and more often than not, a course of work might settle in the middle. They also become more flexible and useful as an actor since their movements across their own employable strata are so broad.
The only problem is trying to come up with a job title.