Friday, February 22, 2013

Working artist... Artist working...

Back in the job hunt world, I thought I’d talk about something I’ve been noticing the past few months.

Mind you, in the past few months I’ve held a couple of different positions and have been on multiple interviews and have had even more conversations via email and I’ve found something so consistently not adding up that it’s starting to piss me off. Basically, it turns out that as much as people were dubious about a writer who wanted to work full time they are even more dubious, scared even, of a writer who just wants to work part time.

Here’s the thing. In two jobs I’ve recently held, I’ve been asked, “Are you going to be able to put in the hours we need you to work?” Sure, I say. That’s why I want to work part time, so it’s easy to fit in my writing schedule. I even had someone tell me they were afraid I’d get too involved in my writing to be able to work, and my reply was along the lines of, “Are you kidding? This is part time.” Both of these jobs ended, by the way, when the employer pulled out – because they didn’t have the hours in one case and because they wanted to pay someone less in another. But in that second case, they tried to use the whole, “We want someone who won’t be busy with other things,” line. Other things? It was four measly hours a day!

In job interviews, I’m asked if I can fit the job in my life. In phone interviews, I’m told they want someone who can focus. Who do they think they’re talking to? A Chihuahua? I have an attention span. Honest. Care to test it?

You see, the downside of this whole writing thing is that everybody has their own preconceptions about what that is. I could work full time and not devote myself to my writing but Vicky and I decided to give it a shot and I am incredibly indebted/impressed/blown-away by the fact that she has backed me up, even with everything that has meant. (It means I bring in shit for money, that’s what it means.)

So, when I was working full-time, I couldn’t mention my writing or my employer would act like I wasn’t loyal to the company, despite my job performance. Now, working part time, employers can’t believe a person can do more than one thing in a day. They imagine I can’t schedule my hours.

I guess one rule has not changed. People have this idea that being an artist means being unreliable… and that’s bullshit.

Sorry. Just had to vent. I’m still going to be out here, looking for work in a world that seems to think that’s not possible. If my book sales pick up, maybe I can stop worry about this… but, that hasn’t happened yet.

I’ll keep going.

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