My spouse is on a 9-month pay schedule as a professor but makes a good chunk of money on freelance gigs. We had a trouble renting an apartment in August because we couldn't provide a paystub dated within the past 60 days (even though he had earned a good deal of income in that time). They let us move in anyway and we just turned it the next paystub he received in October. It still seemed stupid to me.
I'd say this is a problem across the board with doctoral degrees-- administrators demand that professors fill their programs to meet quotas in enrollment (many seem to erroneous believe that bigger is better, and having a graduate program-- even if you lack the resources to develop it-- is an unquestionable necessity and sign of success). When there are thousands of universities around the country all churning out graduates year after year, regardless of the desirability of their field, you're going to eventually hit a wall.
The only hiccup here is that most artists who would really benefit from deducting those expenses probably make so little income that they're already easily maxing out their tax refund without it. (Quoth the wife of a professional musician)
I literally just came from a job interview after three years at home with my kid, and I can say that the things I miss most about structured, "legitimate" work were the things I would do to reward myself for being at work. Things like getting myself a latte on a really important day or buying a fancy handbag to carry my stuff, or even just taking the long way to walk across the office because I needed a break during the day. Americans really do identify themselves by their jobs so I'm very excited to, as you say, have a job and be answered for and have my status in society understood and unquestioned.
I biked to work for a while (I only lived two miles from my office) but switched to the bus because it was easier on my wardrobe and appearance. Basically it was just far enough to look disheveled but not far enough to bother with the hassle of getting ready at work. I think for women, part of the reason can be boiled down to the "look" we expect from men vs women. Men (usually) have short hair and can wear pants and a polo shirt and they're good. Even if they bothered to wear biking gear (I never did), it would be quick and easy to change clothes. For me, if I did wear biking clothes that would allow me to change into a skirt or dress upon my arrival at the office, I still had to (re)do my hair and makeup and it became too tedious for me to want to bother. Plus my coworkers would see me doing my makeup in the bathroom and I didn't like that. I think European countries make cycling more of their lifestyle so the expectations are in place for what that does to your appearance.
I'm so glad this topic came up because I have to highly recommend the book All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior in regard to why we have kids and why it's such a confused role. I'm about halfway through the book where she's discussing how the notion of "childhood" is a relatively new construct in our society, as about three generations ago we were still having children because of a) sex with no birth control and b) for labor. It was only after WWII that we glorified and protected the state of childhood, and still now parents are grappling with what our role has become exactly. To educate? We have public schools. To teach a trade? Your kids are likely not going to do the same (previously, farm) work you are doing. To clothe, care, or nurture? Stores make clothes, grocery stores and restaurants provide our food, pediatricians manage their medical care, and with dual-income households you're probably putting them in childcare longer than you're spending with them directly. Basically, if we're confused about why we're having children or how to justify it, it's because society as a whole has rendered parenthood a nebulous responsibility.
My mother responded to an ad in the back of Seventeen magazine to go to "stewardess" (as it was called then) school. At the end of the six week course she didn't get hired by an airline, but the federal government had a booth set up on campus so she and a friend decided to that was good enough. She ended up working for the government her entire career and I seem to have not learned that the public sector pays shit and am following in her footsteps. My father was drafted into Vietnam and worked for the government for his entire career too. Sigh.
@ThatJenn I also think it's irresponsible to stop getting flu shots because a) getting the flu is an entirely preventable and miserable way to die (it's more of an effort *to* invite bad health instead of letting nature take its course), but more importantly, b) it makes him a conduit to sharing the flu with those grandchildren he loves and with his community around him. Always get your immunizations, people.
@namemeansgazelle Isn't this where the government could step in and regulate insurance companies so they abide by some kind of framework/protocol in how they're run? If the ACA made it official that you're legally required to have medical insurance, can't they also do something to make it more navigable, for both doctors and patients? THE MIDDLEMAN IS THE PROBLEM.
@coastalelite I appreciate your honesty! My spouse and I are at -$35K, because we are at a stage where we are making investments but not reaping them yet. Replaced car/new loan? check. Grad student loan? check. Credit cards to keep us afloat in between jobs? check. We used to have a positive net worth but once we depleted our savings and started living paycheck to paycheck it's been to painful to think about that. Now I just know how much my total debt is and every now then I check my old 401K (which I keep planning to roll over once I can afford a few hundred bucks to hire a financial advisor to do it).