Thursday, May 7, 2009

She Works Hard For the Money

I am done with my unibrow essay! (I know you've been holding your collective breath.) Now I'm moving on to a piece on the various jobs I've held since I graduated from college in 2002 with the naive belief that I would immediately find career fulfillment. (Note: My actual jobs should not be confused with my illustrious performance resume, which, sadly, does not pay the bills).

I always make fun of my mother because, to hear her tell it, she's held approximately 50 different jobs. Some people tell their life story in one big lump, but she's preferred to let it out slowly over the years, doling out details like crumbs to my sister and I, who are perpetually starved for gossip, even if it is about our own mother. We survived for years on the tidbit that she once was employed making magic wands for a hippy-dippy artist in lower Manhattan.

"Like, with sparkles and everything?" we asked, half mocking, half delighted. She also worked as a dance teacher, as a bookkeeper for a Jewish community center, at Greenmarket, as a nursery school teacher. Every year or so a new job comes to light, and we kick ourselves for not pressing her harder for details.

The personal anecdotes are dispensed in the same staccato way. Once she was at Studio 54 (or maybe just outside, but she ran into Rudolph Nuryev!) She dated a man with an afro. She hitchhiked in Italy. She was at the March on Washington.

Only recently have I come to realize that I take after her, at least in the employment history. In ten years I have held as many jobs: as an instructor at the Botanic Garden, as a potato salad restocker at my college campus center (from which I was promptly fired for smoking during my shifts), as a library clerk, as a publishing intern, as a real estate receptionist, as a producer's assistant, as an office bitch for a sweater company, as a documentary production assistant, as an archivist, as a magazine editor. I've never made magic wands, but I once forged David Arquette's signature on a Bulgarian visa application. So that's something. We'll see how it goes.
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