On facebook, the #1stsevenjobs has been trending.
How many jobs have I had? I have been working officially and paying taxes since it has been legal to do so. ¼ or so of all paychecks are eaten up by the man, for war and for meat subsidies I suppose, and a little welfare. Much of our taxes go into things to which I am morally opposed.
A timeline of my labor essentially highlights class stasis within advanced capitalism. I bet I am forgetting jobs here and there. The thing about jobs is that they are boring and I have had a few of them. This could be something more cohesive, but for now it’s a list and a few thoughts.
1: Age 6: Housesitting the neighbor’s cat/garden while they were in Austria. I wasn’t good at using the front-door key and ended up turning it with my teeth. I made $84 and was so proud. I’ve had many housesitting gigs since then but those are too many to count.
2: Age 8: Painting rooms in Hotel Santa Fe with my mom. We had avocado sandwiches on the scaffolding, on sourdough bread with sprouts and dijon mustard. This solidified my understanding that nothing is better than lunch.
3: Age 12-14: House cleaning, plaster repair, and painting with my dad over the summer. The drugged out former tenants sold us a champagne-colored Mazda sedan for $1, which would officially be my 1st car (Pikachu), though it overheated to the point of no return on my first ride, driving Noah home from school. In the car was $12 worth of loose change, which my dad used to buy coffee and tea for us at Ohori’s throughout the job. Also on that job, my dad had me clean windows using newspaper. Once the newspaper box was open with .50 cents he took out a stack of 20 or more papers, reasoning that it was better not to take too many of the free newspaper so that those would be left for others.
4: Age 14: Selling burritos out of a basket to office workers near the plaza (dad gave me seed money for ingredients, woke me up, and did most of the work making the burritos). That tortilla dough raised enough for a ticket to Oaxaca.
5: Age 15: Ad sales, Sustainable Santa Fe Guide, paid on commission, made $106 in an entire summer of 20+ hour work weeks.
6: Age 16: Bali Art Sale – I organized/ran pop-up shops of Indonesian imports for this enchanting and gregarious woman, Darcy, (who recently came back into my life as the best neighbor ever) while she was out of the country.
7-10: Ages 16-17: Gardener at St. Francis Hotel, gardener at Monte del Sol, construction labor for Qi-Gong teacher, Busser/barista at Amavi restaurant. At this time, I was devastated to have been rejected from the Bali Art Project, and determined I would work as much as possible and go to Indonesia by myself. (I didn’t, I ended up using what I had saved for community college and eventual emergency dentistry). I did the practices Mark Mikow had taught me while working – breathing in all the energy around me and transforming it into light/love. (Now that I’m on job 23 or so I’m doing the same thing).
11: Ages 17-19: Farmer’s market – waking up at 5 for minimum wage, often after illegally drinking at some of the first parties I was invited to and showing up after 2 hours of sleep. (I was the star employee).
12: Age 19: Ohori’s – barista. I ended up being fired so the manager could hire some friends. A friend I made there, Dave Mcp., was also fired after like 3 years or something.
13: Ages 19-20: Yoberri – I worked at a frozen yogurt shop to romanticize for myself the cultural climate and location where my parents met, when my mom was manager at “Eat Your Heart Out” yogurt, in Ventura CA. I also became manager at my yogurt shop. I talked left wing politics with the first owners, and tried to convince them to create a vegan option (nope, I’ll never understand how people for whom morality is a big talking point, who have dogs and love hiking, don’t think critically about speciesism). When the original owners sold the shop to some Jewish people from Mexico, I talked with them about religion and music. They told me to keep the yogurt recipe secret – like the name of god?
14: Age 20: Mills Cognition Lab: Self-designed music/cognition/memory experiment – The professor said my methods were solid and it could get published if I re-did the experiment with a larger sample size, but for some reason I didn’t? Maybe if I had I would be on the way to a PhD in cognitive science.
15: Age 20: Palmer Lab, UC Berkely, student researcher, (unpaid, or rather, I paid to be going to school, or rather, my mom and I are both now paying for that time when I got to work at the Palmer Lab).
16: Age 21: KIT Macquarie Brain Research Lab: I wanted this position so much, and I was so happy I got it. (Unpaid). Here I also had the opportunity to design my own music cognition experiment but didn’t have enough time to pass ethics. Maybe if I had insisted on an extra semester abroad I would have catapulted into a PhD in neuroscience research…
17: Age 21: Macquarie Music Cognition Lab – this was on a volunteer basis, I didn’t think of the possibility to ask for school credit until just now…
18: Age 22: Mama Pacha: because I wrote a good cover letter, was vegan, and had taken some cooking classes for fun, I became the assistant chef at a raw vegan restaurant, which I would argue was the best restaurant in Santa Fe during the minimal time it was in business. I loved my boss. Here’s an old post about this job.
19: Age 22: SITE Santa Fe: I graduated college and wrote a good cover letter to get this one. Santa Fe minimum wage + a complimentary education in contemporary art, and the opportunity to rub elbows with idol art babes. I also developed curricula and taught art classes for at risk/imprisoned youth. I got in trouble for giving one of my students my contact when she asked. Not as much trouble as those kids were in though! Another time, a girl said “I want to be like you, I want to go to college, but heroine is addictive.” Her boyfriend had just died of a heroine overdose. We sang along to pop radio together, she did Ariana Grande’s parts and I sang the Weeknd’s verse.
20: Age 23: Thai Vegan: I wasn’t making enough money to survive at SITE, so I took a second job as a waiter at Thai Vegan. With tips, I made about $12 an hour, $2 more than I was making at SITE. I was promoted to manager after a few weeks and promptly quit.
21: Age 24: Personal chef for SCUBA on their mobile art gallery tour. I fed the four of us on the road + gallery-goers across the nation pretty fucking gourmet fare with the help of Crocket’s EBT and a the dull-knives of others across the country – until Chris and Crocket bought me a good knife in China town. Since I was technically laid off between SITE shows at the time, I qualified for EBT and spent about half an hour on hold with the office each day, they sent me the card but I never got any money from the man, man.
22: Ages 24-26 Santa Fe Dry Goods After being hired to do sales on the high-end retail floor I was pulled for the web-team where I made more than minimum wage for the first time. I built the SEO of the ecommerce store until we were the first results for 80% of our designers, along with serving champagne for special events etc. I left because I was awarded a residency/scholarship in interaction design at Fabrica, and also into Aalto university in Finland. Then I had visa issues for longer than personal finances could stand and got a restaurant job…
23: Age 26 Geronimo: I wrote a good cover letter, highlighted the serving experience I’ve had across jobs. I dearly hope that this will be my last service industry job. Working in fine dining is reminding me of life at age 17. Like I’ve said before, we’re all just the groundwater, supporting the 1%. Where’s your beautiful smile?