Thursday, April 19, 2012

P is for Professionals


"We are, after all, professionals."
Favorite Hunter S. Thompson quote, ever.
I think we all know that a lot of artists have day jobs. Like, most artists, and definitely at first. We all try our hands at some things during that process of becoming the Full Time Writer Who Lives In a Cottage At the Beach With A Dog or Possibly Several Cats and Wears All Black and Has Lots of Tea or Coffee (Whatever You Prefer, Of Course) In the Pantry. And Also Wine and Dinner Parties.

This is the official job description of Writer, isn't it? But we all have to do some actual bill paying work now and again before the three-books-and-movie-and-action-figures-and-theme-parks contract arrives in the mail. Some of the jobs I've had in my checkered past include -

Restaurant Hostess - which lasted about three weeks. I sucked at it, but hey, I'm honest.

Assistant Manager at a Movie Theater - which is how I met Mr. Cate. I was his boss. Go me.

Forklift Driver - I did this with my dad for a summer, because why not? Who knows when a girl might need to lift some heavy pallets. Always get new skills, people, I can't stress this enough.

Riding Stable Groom - sort of. I helped the little kids and took care of the school horses, which was a weirdly relaxing and inspiring job. Every living thing has a story to tell.

Apartment Building Manager - this was a trip. And a good way to live for free. And meet... interesting people....

Museum Gift Shop associate - I had to sign an agreement not to collect in competition with the museum, i.e. not buy artifacts they might want. Also I sold toys and old timey candy, so I was totally in a position to hit up Sotheby's for some priceless antiquities. Also also, the backstage of museums are cool, and I got to ride in a freight elevator with part of a T. Rex.

Potter - Been doing this since I was 13 years old. Two of my uncles were potters, by trade, and I did some work for them when I was a kid to earn money for riding lessons, and later, horses. (There's bucks in pottery, apparently) I made clay birds for a while, probably 10,000 of the things, all totaled, and if you own a bowl with a little stoneware bird with real feathers glued into its head - I probably made that. I've also been known to hit the art fairs with my own work, from time to time.

And that gets me up through the end of college. There have been plenty of  other vocations since then.
I love learning new things, but I have a bit of a hang up about sticking with them. Two exceptions, Mr. Cate, and writing. I don't think I'll ever give up either of those. But I'll probably have a few dozen more jobs in my lifetime. I will add that, with the exception of the first thing on the list, I was considered good at all of these jobs, and was actually promoted and given raises, and have not, to the present date, ever been fired from anything. Except painting our living room. Mr. Cate fired me from that once. But he used to be a professional...

So, get out there and try things. Heck, something might actually work out in the end. And  to sum up with my second favorite Thompson quote, "Buy the ticket, take the ride."


Daisy Carter said...

Awesome - a fork-lifting potter that can get me the best table at her restaurant!

I've worked as a teacher, in retail, construction, restaurants, and daycares. But forklift driver/stable groom/apartment manager is the best combo I've seen!

MOV said...

ha! great quote. :)

I have worked a ton of various jobs throughout the years. Every job I had, I felt lucky to be there. Yes, even the fast food job when I was in high school. It was a block from my house, so I did not have to drive to get there. You never know where a job will lead you, or more importantly, who you might meet there.

great post!!!


Heidi said...

Ha ha ha! I find it entirely awesome that you were fired from painting by your husband!