All in weekly updates

As of this writing, the survey now has received 463 completed responses. Although I’d initially intended to close it on January 15 (tomorrow), I’m going to keep going for another three weeks in order to run the numbers up a little bit higher.

The more people who complete the survey, the better and more accurate a picture we have of the comics industry as a place to work in general but, perhaps more importantly, we need a relatively large group of responses in order to be able to say anything at all about smaller groups within the population—whether that be minority creators, older creators, or occupational roles. So please take the survey and share it with your friends and collaborators by February 5, 2014.

With that announcement out of the way, let me turn to a couple of statistics and charts about age and career length.

Happy New Year from the Work in Comics project! It’s week 7 and, as of this writing, we have 429 completed responses. That’s pretty good, but I think we can do better! Please consider taking a moment right now and letting your friends and colleagues in comics know about the survey.

Here at the University of Calgary, people are starting to come back from the holiday break, and the class I’m teaching starts up on Thursday. This term, I have to watch how I budget my time between this research project and teaching, and so I thought I’d take a look at how cartoonists derive their living from different work sources that compete for their time.

If you are at all interested in the behind-the-scenes goings-on in the comics industry (and you probably are if you’re reading this blog about work in comics…), then you can’t have helped but to see the recent outpouring of commentary around the MariNaomi / Scott Lobdell sexual harassment “case.” Women Write About Comics has a handy post that summarizes the particulars and links to some of the primary documents.

Former comic-book editor and current contributor Rachel Edidin had a series of widely shared and very insightful posts on her Tumblr on the ways that the gendered division of labour within the comics industry makes it much less likely that women are in a position to stand up against harassment (whether targeted at them or a colleague or peer). The assertion here is that most women in comics work as editors (and often as relatively junior ones in the corporate structure), and are thus more vulnerable than famous, celebrated male “creators” doing the harassing.

I got to wondering if I could demonstrate this gendering of work in comics in the preliminary data set.

When I was in grad school, we used to joke, “What’s a weekend? What’s a holiday?” Like freelance work, it’s a competitive environment where you are nonetheless free to set your own hours and even – to some extent – goals. As a result, despite that level of autonomy, you are always left with the more or less nagging feeling that you ought to be working. As the university where I work is preparing for its Christmas shutdown and I see fewer and fewer people around the department every day, it seemed like a good time to talk about work–life balance.

There are basically two school of thought when it comes to evaluating job quality: is it an objective property of the job (i.e., wages, hours, benefits), or is it a subjective property of the employee (i.e., how happy/miserable your job makes you)? For this week’s update, I want to look very briefly at reported measures of job satisfaction.