There’s a recurring event in my life that pops it’s ugly head every so often. Less so now, because these days you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting someone doing something creative (or at least, isn’t sick of my hokey dick-joke bullshit). But they appear nonetheless. that event is, eventually, someone will pipe up with “get a real job”, or “HAHAH! No seriously, what are you doing now?”.
This has always bothered me because, I had a real job. Sure, it was a long time ago, I was doing other things on the side and I’m convinced anything learned from dealing with Bobby-Joe Public has atrophied in favour of pretending to know what Mise en Scene means. But I had one nonetheless. I wore the uniform, I stacked shelves, I was a namebadge-wearing, ponytail-haired putz.
Even then, there was this one guy. who continually said I need to get a real job. You know, for the “kids and a mortgage” deal which never really appealed to me because in my stupid head, success shouldn’t be solely measured by what societal pigeonholes you manage to fill. We’ll call this guy “Dave”.
I say this without any rose-tinted glasses. Dave and I got along. We were good mates. I invited him and another workmate over to a party once and we all shared a vegetable crisper full of beer. He was a friendly, good-natured, salt-of-the-earth type who had a thing for classic rock and motorbikes. I knew nothing about motorbikes other than The Terminator rode a Harley-Davidson and apparently they just made a lot of noise but were generally shithouse, but am big on classic rock. So we managed to get along. Any bullshit occurred was work-related and that’s mostly where it stayed.
While it was in jest, Dave would continually say “get a haircut, get a real job”. Kinda amusing at first because you know, I really needed a haircut. I mean, look at this tubby Ozzy-Osbourne-lookin’ asshole:
After the first eleven-hundred times, Kinda grated a bit.
So this happened a lot. Dave wasn’t the main perpetrator and there were other vocal naysayers out there, but it’s not like I was completely unsupported as well. It was continually -if not systematically – said to me that “kids and a mortgage” is the way to go. No exceptions. If you stray from this path it will be met with disaster.
Turns out they were right, given that I haven’t had what could be called a stable workload in 3 years. But y’know what? I couldn’t give a shit. I can say without exaggeration that working for a decent income in a creativity-stifling, “you are a number in a system”, “the customer is always right”, “wear this dumb uniform and be nice to people” McJob was one of the most depressing, frustrating and shitty times of my life. Sure, some people might be into that sorta thing, more likely they have bills to pay, but to me? It was like I stapled my dick to the inside of a tank of piranhas. I was there for five years and achieved precisely fuckall. I even asked to be indoctrinated into the mysterious ways of the Management, but they didn’t want an ounce of it.
So while I was working this shitty job, feeling shitty about this shitty job, and feeling shitty because I was achieving shit-all in this shithole of a shitty job, y’know where I got my kicks?
Porn. Where else?
Seriously though, While I was slaving away at a McJob, here’s what made things a little brighter:
-I managed to compose and release several electronica EP’s and albums (they were absolute shit, but they’re out there)
-I wrote a webcomic with a friend of mine
-I started vlogging for YouTube
-One of my photos – and I stress here that it was taken on a little point-and-shoot camera – ended up in an online travel guide.
=and of course, going to parties and getting shitfaced.
-and porn. Can’t forget that.
Ignoring “getting shitfaced” and you know, porn, I was doing a lot of creative stuff. I found my sense of achievement there. The music almost landed me a record deal in the UK, the webcomic got 10,000 views, vlogging and getting involved in YouTube ended up getting my ass partnered (twice). The stupid thing is that I never really went anywhere with a lot of it. I mean, it’s hard to go anywhere when your comic involved copyrighted images to begin with, but somehow that still landed 10,000 views at the end. finally, it took more or less “waking up one day” after two recent breakups and deciding to take a very stupid gamble on an industry I only knew about because I watched a lot of DVD’s.
While I still maintain it was a clerical error and there’s an amazingly talented person out there whose place I took, and now they’re working a shitty McJob, it paid off. I was accepted into a film school and somehow managed to throw together enough material to shoot a webseries. All with naysayers going “your ideas are stupid” and “that will never work”. Shit, even during filming HiOP someone was rumored to quip “this guy isn’t going to get this thing done”, and they were on the fucking crew!
That paid off in itself when I screened one of my movies in a theater full of people. For that brief second, I wasn’t “that guy who makes videos for Youtube and hates his job”, I was a fucking big-shot asshole with a microphone, answering questions about something I did, which appeared 10 minutes prior on a big fucking screen.
I’m no career advisor, and if you have enough flexibility between work and play where you’re happy, great. But I can assure you – whatever your situation, be it like mine or considerably more suited to you – that shot is always worth taking. I’ve stressed this before in an entry I wrote and forgot about. While I don’t exactly recommending you go guns blazing into a world of financial peril like I did, what really is the worst that could happen?
I guess what I’m trying to say is “go out and do that thing. Just save up some money first. Delivering pizzas is a great job and you get free food, but the pay blows ass”.
You’ll meet unsupportive people who are jerks and will say you won’t make it. Newsflash: They don’t matter. If you’re living your life to the standards of other people, then who’s life are you really living?
Come to think of it, what the fuck is a “real job”, anyway?
Till nest time…