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Job vs. Work

[Sent: October 1, 2022]

Like many millennials, I’ve applied to, quit, and have been laid off from numerous jobs throughout my 13 years of employment. I was desperate to find a place:

  1. Where I didn’t feel like the flamingo in a flock of penguins (Not in a “I’m mightier than thou” way but in a “I’m miserably cold here” way)

  2. That aligned with my values

  3. In which I would be paid a fair wage

I guess I’m still hoping that one day this job will show up in a securely taped cardboard box on my front doorstep. Yet all of this time, I’ve wondered if it even exists and if I would either have to move cities or countries to find this or if I just need to create it myself. Two years ago, I watched this Skillshare class (Skillshare is hit or miss) by Mari Andrew that she called Creative Transformation, 9 Exercises To Draw, Write, And Discover Your Future. In one of the exercises, Mari had us write down a small selection of the jobs we’ve had in the past and how they contribute to our creative practice. She said, “I feel like there’s this message in society, especially for creative people that if you’re not doing what you love to make money that something’s off. And I feel like there’s a really big difference between the job you’re doing and the work you’re doing; big picture.”

Here are some of mine...

Server at a Retirement Home Role Description: Used my outdoor voice to explain the available menu items to elderly folks and cleaned up the dining room afterwards all while wearing what was essentially a tuxedo with an apron. Skills Gained: I had to memorize the selection of meals that were being served so I developed some memorization techniques and spoke loudly and clearly. I also developed empathy for elderly people. They can be grumpy, they can poop their pants, they can forget things, they may have trouble hearing - we have a lot in common. What I Liked: Each shift was only two to four hours making my monthly income about $100-$300. I could afford to pay my cell phone bill, a few meals out, and something from Winners or Chapters. I really liked the people I worked with because there were some gaps to act like idiots. One time I had a double shift with one of my favourite co-workers and we used the break to go to the theatre and watch the SpongeBob Squarepants Movie and then headed back to work.

Sales Associate at a Toy Store Role Description: Unsuccessfully sold toys to children and their parents. Fell in love with putting said toys on shelf and keeping contact with customers at a minimum. Skills Gained: This was the first time I had to tell a boss that I had a learning difference while holding back tears after I (allegedly) made a big mistake and gave someone something essentially for free. I had to confess that I grasp onto concepts differently and that I was unable to memorize the many sale items and their prices. I learned that it’s important to ask for what you need and to do your best to understand yourself to better communicate those needs to others. What I Liked: After I was dismissed from selling toys and working the cash register, I was moved to the merchandising department where I was able to simply look at a diagram of how the toys were to be placed on the shelf and do my best to follow it. I liked having a vision and then bringing that to fruition. Receptionist at a Barbershop In The Mall Role Description: Annoyed receptionist who helped people check themselves into their appointment using a touch screen that didn’t work half of the time and booked appointments over the phone. Listened to Hair Dressers’ talk behind other Hair Dressers’ backs. Skills Gained: I had free time in between booking appointments, check-ins, and sweeping to doodle on small slips of paper. This was the first time I discovered doing something creative while working. What I Liked: Eating poutine for lunch at the food court. Also, watching ESPNs Sports Fails segment. This barbershop was catered to men so they always had manly channels on. Office Manager/Receptionist at Dance Studio Role Description: Miserable office worker who registered students for classes and listened to the trials and tribulations of the Studio Owner’s personal life. Did not understand the calculation of a student wanting to add or subtract a class. Skills Gained: The junior and senior level classes would participate in the end of year recital and this was where I realized all of what goes into a performance (i.e. designing costumes, music selection, music licensing, budgeting, rehearsals etc). It also taught me how to manage time since there were multiple due dates for the above items and the big due date of the recital. What I Liked: Bonding with the dance teachers and hearing the catchy rehearsal music. Receptionist at a Hotel Gym/Pool Role Description: Depressed receptionist who booked massage therapy appointments, signed people in and out of the facilities, brought dirty towels to the laundry, and ran away from cockroaches. Skills Gained: This was the time I began thinking about being creative. I dropped out of pre-health sciences (thank God) because I was failing and not retaining anything (Also me in the healthcare field lol?). I was always sick, burnt out, and just outright depressed. I bought my first sketchbook and brought it to work each day. I rarely drew in it but mostly wrote human observations and ranted about my existential crisis. This was also the very brief period in which I wanted to be a comedian so I wrote down many jokes without punchlines. What I Liked: In retrospect, it was nice having 8-10 hours to do fairly simple tasks and have time to research hobbies and creative endeavours I could do. After that job, I scored a few 9 to 5 jobs where I often pretend that I was doing my job when I was actually focusing on creative work. Jobs take up a lot of out of the day and it can be hard to find the energy to do the things we want to do. But I feel a bit cozier knowing that each job is a step in the direction that feels closer to my heart. Below is a video blog of what we got up to in September, which involves band rehearsals, songwriting sessions, and our trip to Toronto. Hope you enjoy it!

Tonight, October 1st at 6 p.m., we’re performing at Tunnelfest which is located it in the larger tunnel by the Library and Archives parking lot:

Our next show is October 13th at Live On Elgin. It’s a Life Drawing performance so feel free to bring your sketchbook or simply watch. It’s almost here and we’re fine-tuning all of the little touches. Can’t wait to see you there (: You can get tickets HERE

Thanks so much for taking the time to read :) *kiss sound* *kiss sound* Tiffany Unsociably High

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