Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

Well That Was Fun… October 25, 2010

I return to you, dear readers, on the eve of my leaving yet another job. I know you’re asking yourselves why I only seem to be interested in blogging when I’m on the verge or in the midst of unemployment, but I swear it’s purely coincidence. To be completely candid with you, I’ve missed you. It’s not that I don’t get a good dose of writing every day when I update my 365. That’s nice and all, but there’s much more to life than photography (understatement of the year) and I don’t think any of that’s been getting properly addressed.

Par example: My ever-lengthening list of  “Jobs I’ve Quit Despite the Shite Economy.” Just thrown another shrimp on the barbie, giving my notice at the tapas bar I’ve been managing. It seems it’s not just particular restaurants (although the hibachi definitely took the prize for unhealthiest workplace ever), but the entire industry that I’m not particularly in line or in love with. And yes, I’d worked my way through the ranks very quickly in this latest endeavor and I’d finally paddled hard enough to get my chin up above the poverty line, but in the end I found myself working harder than ever, earning less than ever, and forever feeling like a fish out of water. To say I’m not the most polished person in the world is to put it kindly. The reality of it was I didn’t have enough money to dress the part, and it was becoming too difficult to act like I liked every one of my my guests and loved being there.

Especially the nightclub. Watching people with more money than you (whether they earned it or not) blow said money and act like complete assclowns to the same, mind-numbingly awful 40 songs (it’s amazing how slightly altering the order fools people into thinking they’re having a different experience each week…), cleaning up after them when they dribble red wine all over the women’s restroom (or worse), helping them find the lost camel jacket (worth more than my entire wardrobe) that they left on the dance floor, getting the really wasted ones into cabs at the night’s end whether they like it or not (or, in one case, getting shoved aside by a grown man who insisted he was fine even as he stumbled to his car), returning their wallets – complete with credit cards and $700 in cash – to them when they return in their limo later and graciously accepting the $15 reward they offer you for doing so (wow. thanks.), and eventually crawling into bed (literally – because have you ever worn heels for 10 hours straight??) at 3 or 4 a.m. with your ears ringing loud enough to make it hard to sleep.

Awesome.

Who wouldn’t want this job?

Strangely enough, there are people who aspire to such things. I am, conclusively, not one of them. And, as if I needed another reason to quit, the night schedule had me missing out on far to much life. Having a schedule quite the opposite of Jeff’s had us literally missing each other. He’d be up and off to teach just shortly after I’d gone to bed, and I’d come home long after he’d hit the sack. Even my days off didn’t align. While it’s totally sweet to be able to run your errands or hit the gym or find parking at the beach while the rest of the world is working, the cost is resigning yourself to doing all of these things alone. Lesson learned: I don’t need as much “Me Time” as I once thought I did.

So what will I do? A very good question. I’ve got a few applications in at the university already and I’ll be taking some Windex to my resume and sending it out. Wilmington’s not exactly the Land of Opportunity, but if I gleaned anything from my managing job, it was the art of networking. It is a small town – and you can cry about it, or you can use it. I’ve met enough people now that (god willing) when word gets out that I’m leaving, I can at least get some advice or leads on where to start.

If nothing else, I plan to use the time off to work on 1201. I’m starting to do pro-level work now (granted, there’s a vast spectrum of “Pro” photography out there and I’m still hanging out in the middle somewhere with plenty of room for improvement), and if I’m going to ask for payment for my work, the business had better look like a business. Obviously, I can’t sink a lot of money into it right now, but the website needs a little spit shine and I’m in desperate need of a good business card (and thanks to work, I know a guy who knows a guy).

I realize that I’m in the same boat (it’s got to be like an ark or a cruise ship by now) as so many other people my age, creative people, intelligent people, extremely capable people who are stuck finding a way to make a living doing what they’re best at. Plenty ahead of us have figured it out. Maybe we’re late bloomers, or maybe the shuffle board and Mai Tais are keeping us on that cruise ship a little to long. As for me, the game’s over and I just got cut off, so I’m jumping ship and swimming to shore with every hope that land is close.

And not inhabited by cannibals.

(And –  just because – a little something from My New Favorite Web Comic: Hyperbole and a Half )

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Escape Plan January 4, 2010

Filed under: life,photography,work — curiouserx2 @ 8:58 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

After a brief and somewhat severe tutorial on the proper way to affix tea urn nozzles (after which said nozzle continued to drip because it’s CORRODING FROM THE INSIDE AND NEEDS TO BE REPLACED), something in my overworked, under-appreciated and definitely underpaid little head snapped.

I do not belong here. (Or anywhere within a one-mile radius of here for that matter). Despite all my efforts, this restaurant is going down in flames. It’s dirty beyond my control, disorganized and run by a paranoid manic-depressive with questionable ethics.

Not to mention I’m a writer?

Oh yeah – that. Not only do I write with a vengeance, I’m a musician, a photographer – in short: a creative type. So when 2009 came to a close and the shiny new year presented itself I decided something must be done. And that doing must be taken seriously. Serendipitously, Jeff and I received a new digital SLR for Christmas and that was about as much impetus as I needed to consider pushing past my amateur status as a photographer. My college photojournalism course and the hours spent ceasing time in a darkroom instilled in me all the enchantment with the art that I needed to continue pursuing photography as a hobby. And when I lost my manual SLR in one of many moves since then, I continued to work with photographers and to critique and edit the work of others. And looking back on all of this it begs the question: so why again wouldn’t you consider this as a possible career path??

Well I could think of no good answer to that, and so consider I did. Again – not an easy career, but then are any of the creative fields? So while I won’t be quitting my piece of shite day job anytime soon (sadly), I will be using my free time educating myself, practicing with the new equipment and building up a body of work to eventually create a portfolio in both photography and photo editing.

To get the ball rolling, I’ve created a new blog to focus solely on this endeavor. It’s called 1201 Photography (named for the beloved address in Victorian Village where Jeff and I spent a good deal of time last year) and can be found at http://www.1201photo.wordpress.com – also in the links at right).

My New Year’s Resolution this year was to try harder – at everything I do. I think 1201 is right in line with that, and I hope you enjoy its fruits.