The best words we have for working on whatever you want seem to be “funemployment” and “mini-retirement”which are terrible since they suggest you have to give up earning

We need better words.

Playcheck? if you can do it in a way that generates steady income

George Lucas once said he’s rich enough to make bad movies the rest of his life. Great condition. What do you call it?

Passion capitalism?
Then there’s gentleman consulting a la Holmes or Poirot where they only take cases that intrigue them in some way. With “singular features” as Holmes called it. That’s my own mental model.

Singular service economy?
I think the reason this is weakly conceptualized is that it’s actually hard to come up with productive things to do with yourself that are more interesting than work you might find for pay that others want done.
Few people actually have ideas and execution skills for novels or table-top games or hand-built furniture that would beat even a burger-flipping job in fulfillment, let alone a challenging creative job.
I’ll often think of an essay idea, and then a consulting meeting will pop up on my calendar and I’ll happily interrupt the writing because I know the “work” meeting is going to be more interesting. Only like 5% of my writing ideas are actually more interesting than work.
This is not turning down though… he’s actually quickly solving for free because they’re trivial for him.

Real turning down would be: “This is a grindset case with low chances of ever finding the murderer Lestrade, I’m out”

Lol, there’s a satirical novel idea in this tweet

Language around work tends to be bimodal: it assumes you’re desperate enough to take any work, or rich enough to reject all work. Paychecks institutionalize the 0/1 pattern, which is why Bartleby the Scrivener reads surreal. You’ve agreed to say yes to everything the boss asks.
But today, even within jobs, there is increasing ability to say no without precipitating serious conflict or taking on insubordination risks. And outside jobs there’s very significant ability to say no. But that doesn’t mean you can say no to everything.
The thing though, is that you don’t need ability to say no to 100% of inbound work to enjoy 100% freedom, because statistically a decent percent is going to be aligned with or better than what you want to do anyway. I think around 50% “No” you’re already past 90% “want to do it”
Size of gig distorts this, but unless someone is throwing in a million dollar gig you can’t refuse into your normal gig flow 3-sigma distribution range of say 5k-50k, in general you can say no to any given gig without serious loss, so long as you say yes to a decent fraction
My must-say-yes fraction has probably fluctuated between 40-60% in the last few years, which is enough for me to stay in playcheck zone. Haven’t had to take a gig just for the money in like 8 years. Knock on wood.

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He seems to have mostly delivered. (Great thread!)