I remember back in high school going to one of those ‘Career’ expos.
I can still smell the crowds, see the bland (ohhhh, so bland) displays and recall the many ‘big’ employers of the day with their stalls.
I remember, even not that far back in 1990, that there didn’t seem to be too many choices.
There were broad categories:
Health (eg Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapist, Occupational therapist, Gym instructor)
Education (Teacher, childcare worker, speech language teacher, special needs teacher)
Trades (Carpenter, Builder, Plasterer, Brick layer, Painter, Electrician, Mechanic)
Hospitality (Chef, Waitress, Hotel Manager, Security, Concierge)
General (Hair dresser, Utility driver, Retail)
They were jobs.
I don’t recall much being said about going into business, and definitely not into business for yourself.
The idea was that your pathway, no matter if you went to uni/tafe or became an apprentice, was to become permanent full-time on a salary.
There was definitely no direction towards an artistic career. No mention of the possibility of work experience on magazines or alongside journalists (years later, I was so happy to think that some lucky ducks did have this opportunity) , no way to bridge the gap to a working, paid artist or introductions to ad agencies or writing teams where creative thought might just have been welcome.
So, for anyone who was a little left of centre, the ‘job’ (just over broke) scenario just wasn’t going to cut it.
I packed my backpack (started out with 58 kg, returned 3 years later with 28kg- smart!) and set off on a world tour by myself at 18. I had no idea what I wanted to do, just that working for someone else in a boring 9-5 job was not going to do it. And that trip opened my eyes towards possibility!
Lately, I’ve been hearing about some super creative jobs and pondering the “luck/hard work/right place-right time” of those who either find or create these.
- A lady who is sent instructions, via email, of the ‘patient’ role she must play for newly trained and final year doctor students. She is given a strict set of guidelines as to what she must do, eg rant and rave and complain about the 15 other ailments she has not directly connected to the current problem, being meek as a mouse and vague on describing symptoms, being authoritarian and full of ‘internet’ knowledge about their undiagnosed ‘dis-ease’. With these boundaries in place, she must turn up to the ‘surgery’ in full regalia and “become” the patient. I love it!
- A lady who travels the world, from London to Dubai to New York and Europe, in her quest to predict the next ‘in-thing’ for Christmas. Not this one, but next. She is in charge of choosing colour palettes, styling scenes, choosing cool ornaments, figurines, flashing lights and wrapping paper and then has to train her team to display these products to their best ability. I love it!
- A man (yes, a dad of one of my old school peers actually) who travels the world painting with his private bits. Yes, his private bits on his front, AND his bottom cheeks. If you don’t believe me, you can look him up. Prickasso. Making a fortune supposedly. Mmmmm….
- Becoming a year-round ‘elf’ in Santa’s village in Lapland. They have the task of loving and believing in Christmas 365 days a year, making gingerbread cookies with ‘Mrs Claus’ each night for the new visitors, finding and decorating new trees and driving reindeer. I love it!
- A local man who spends his days making all kinds of cheese from the milk of dairy cows on the farm. I could think of worse things to do than make and taste cheese all day.
Years ago, I spent a whole summer dressed in a ‘convict’ uniform of blue and white, with a merry cap on my head, being ‘dunked’ by anyone with a spare $2 coin and a good throwing arm. Yes, I sat on a little 15cm square seat above a huge rainwater tank and waited joyfully (or not, if it was overcast) for an instant submerge! Climbing out drenched and heavy, I reclaimed my teensy seat and waited for the next throw!
I never thought I’d spend my teaching years making home-made bread, making felt creations, painting with watercolours, drawing artistically on chalkboards with vibrant colour, baking endless muffins, singing all day long, writing songs and stories and just generally being enveloped in colour, life, light and love. That is my kind of teaching. Thank goodness for creative schools that encourage the creativity of their teachers! A creatively well-fed teacher cannot help but nourish the students they teach.
(I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing too many juicy exuberant souls in our current education system. With Christmas coming up, it might be time to think outside the box for our ‘teacher gifts’ and aim to ‘nourish’ their creative spirits, rather than their stomachs, no matter how much one might love chocolate. Check back tomorrow for some ideas on out-of-the-box teacher gift suggestions!)
And to think we can get stuck behind a desk!
We all have stories of jobs/careers beyond the norm. Let’s share them here!
I believe that if kids or teens only knew there were BIG possibilities, they might take the time to dig a little deeper to find just the right fit for them. A fit that will nourish their own quirky creative mind, rather than be stuck mindlessly in work they hate.
I wish someone, my own creative angel, had whispered in my ear.
Let’s be that angel for someone else.
(And you know what, it is never too late. Our stories here might just inspire or push/shove someone to take the wild path now, no matter how old/crabby/tired/flat out/uneducated they feel.)
It is potent with possibility.
I’d love to hear all about your most outlandish job/career/tasks or ones you know of or that your friends might do! Whimsical, wild or downright wacko, please share them here!!