I have a problem with jobs - I don't really know what I want to do, careerwise, despite being a good bit into the "career portion" of my life. I know more than I once did, in that I don't think I'm going to be getting any more degrees (my interests are too broad for me to specialise further, except *possibly* going for a PhD in philosophy, which would be a very strange career move), but apart from purely programming/sysadmin stuff, I'm not fully qualified for any of the many things I'm interested in. As my current playing psychology researcher shows me, I can still do that pretty well, given a running start (a few classes to give me the needed basic skills). Maybe having too broad of interests is a disadvantage - there was a time I was sure I'd be working for DEC working on operating systems as a career by now.. But then, I chew on this often. The job market is picking up for skilled IT labour, and doors are opening. I don't know if I'm really looking to leave quite yet, or where I'll go.. I'm pinned down between futile hopes and the slow march of the weeks. I think I kavetch about this stuff too often here.
I was recently asked, via email, to define what it means when I said I was a communist on one of those social networking/dating/photo sites (the distinctions become increasingly blurry as time goes on). I've never been sure if I really wanted to express that immediately on those sites or not -- I'm under the impression that it may turn a lot of people off from talking to me before they can get an explanation of what it means to me (although it probably scares off some people when they get to know me anyhow). I also worry about being lumped in with a certain type of people who like to collect descriptions of themselves that are unpopular in order to look cool with a particular sort, which I don't think would be an accurate depiction of who I am. Finally, given that I've never dated another communist (although my first gf might've been described as leaning towards some mild aspects of socialism when I was dating her), I don't think I'd see it as necessary that my date be the same way (anywhere in the general liberal sphere would work out). That said, maybe it's a good thing to mention purely because some people oppose the values I hope to see in society, and they might know immediately that I'm not a potential long-term match for them (as I would not date Christians, Muslims, Scientologists, or Objectivists). Then, it may be academic - I don't know how many people actually meet whomever they stick with on such sites (not that I would be opposed to meeting someone local that way).
My belief in communism is about my hopes for the future - I believe that human nature can be refined to be less individualistic, more cooperative, and less materialistic, valuing culture and the common good comparitively more than individual possessions. I believe that in the end, posessions beyond the personal should not be considered property, and that most expensive or productive things should be owned and managed by units in society. I don't identify with modern China, nor with Soviet history after the death of Lenin - I feel they had noble beginnings, but things eventually went badly astray, and the degree of centralisation of their power (as with most healthy states) made it increasingly difficult to fix the problems when they began to rot the socialist dream. I believe society should be libertine in matters that are personal, as opposed to political or economic - I feel that barring very strong justification in particular cases, the state should permit as wide a range of conduct as possible, because autonomy makes people happy and gives them a feeling of responsibility. I do not believe in democracy as it is understood now - I believe the end result to be more important than the political means to achieve/justify it. That said, I believe that council democracy on all levels, replacing current systems of company ownership and political office, should be a goal for day-to-day governance of society (eventually going all the way to the top) -- entrenched power is very dangerous in any form of government, and without great efforts to guard against corruption, dooms its nation. I believe in active government encouragement and shaping of culture, with a strong emphasis on education. I believe in ending class divides by breaking up slums, ensuring job mobility, and making excellent education equally available, with costs covered by society at large, to everyone. I respect that the "invisible hand" of markets creates a kind of efficiency in some circumstances, but feel that in the end, it can and must be abandoned. As for factions, I sometimes have called myself a Trotskyite because, of the more orthodox forms of Marxist Communism, the school of thought he continued is the one I have the most theoretical and value agreement with. I prefer the Marxist axioms of economics over those from Smith and his intellectual descendants (although the latter are brilliant as well). I have a strong liking for the Eurocommunist school of thought as well, largely based off of values as opposed to theory.