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Thursday, February 4, 2016

What Shall I Be?

Remember that stupid, destructive and flat out assinine board game from the '60s?

Society didn’t show us loads of interesting career options. Second Wave Feminism was just taking hold. We could be teachers. nurses, secretaries, models (!), flight attendants (!) and waitresses.

If we had parents who encouraged us to dream big or teachers inspiring us to think expansively, yes, we could go on to work in more interesting, traditionally (at that time) male dominated fields. My mother wanted me to go to college in order to meet a nice boy, marry and start shooting out a fleet of bambini. No thank you. Daddy? He just wanted me to be happy but being a concert flautist or music teacher would have made him proud.

What did I want? To paint, do a little sculpture, throw a few pots and then paint some more. The problem, of course, was that I wasn’t born in a money patch. That is, I needed a job to keep me in cotton duck, gesso and Phthalo Blue.

At first I thought I could be an elementary or high school art teacher. Somewhere in my first or second year of college, though, I had an epiphany. I wasn’t good with people. In fact, apart from my BFF Kevin, I wasn’t terribly keen on humans. Most of them scared or, at the very least, annoyed the shit outta me. Working within a school system seemed like a recipe for extreme unhappiness and potential disaster.

Kevin and I always said that, on graduation we’d just get shit jobs that’d keep us in beer and art supplies. Clearly we were thinking with the romatic sides of our brains and didn’t prepare for entering the working world. At all.

I’d never learned how to type. This was pre-Internet, don’cha know. High school girls who would go on to be secretaries, learned how to type. Being some cozy office, nylons and pumps wearing secretary wasn’t on my agenda. Fuck that shit, man!

Oh yeah, kids who knew they’d have to type term papers learned how to do more than hunt and peck too. Oops.

Where did this leave me? Waitressing (and I couldn’t have sucked more at that) and modeling for art classes. Yes, I eventually got into the wonderful world of offset printing. Now I do, primarily, layout and design along with a bit of marketing.

Jen and I were talking about this job thing yesterday. She also went to art school, just wanted to paint and graduated without obvious, easily plugged in job skills (and ended up in printing). Her thought is that art departments should have a class (or series of seminars) on job possibilities for artists. You know, for those of us without rich parents.

Great idea! Apart from teaching and graphic design, there's no real obvious career paths for artists without dosh. That's how it seems but there's got to be interesting stuff out there that pays better than minimum wage.

What else could I have done? I believe that I would’ve really loved a gig constructing and painting sets for the theater. I did that throughout high school and college and LOVED it. Was this something that paid or did people do this just for fun? I’d no clue and no idea where to even begin a search (this being pre-Google and all).

Funnily enough, my favorite gig—and one that I was quite good at—was teaching. Like with design work, it was something I had to evolve into. Does this mean that I’m now all stiffly straight laced? Phbbt, fuck no! I’m just less misanthropic.

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