my friend deuce says i’m scrappy. and she’s right. i have managed to scrape by, scrounging all kinds of crazy work over the years without having to ever get a “real” job. though i’ve mostly been a freelance writer/editor, club dj, and most recently artist/crafter – my “main” gigs -Â i’ve dabbled in all kinds of crap since my last days working at tower records in the french quarter back in 1993 – my last regular job out in the world where i worked 30-40 hours/week.
over the years, i’ve worked in some capacity as a: landscaper, bar back, house cleaner, community activist, paralegal/investigator, personal assistant, screen printer, dog sitter/walker, housesitter, blogger, eBay assistant, data entry/gallery assistant, photographer, film festival projectionist, a/v tech, film curator, publicist, promoter, booking agent, event organizer, graphic designer, and, most recently, census enumerator. i’m sure there are other things i’m not remembering right now.
but one thing i seem to keep coming back to, over the years, is selling stuff. i’ve always been a big fan of thrift/antique stores and yard sales, and have always been a collector of various things. but at many different points in my life, i have supplemented my income by reselling things, as varied as cds, records and books to random collectibles, clothing, furniture and all sorts of other items. it’s kind of where i first got the idea of doing art/craft out of recycled objects, this dealing in “things.” it’s a fun game, trying to figure out what items you can score for cheap and then find someone willing to pay you more for… but i guess it all comes down to the fact that i just love objects. things. i like to make them, i like to find them, i like to collect them, i like to sell them.
so yeah. in this time of flux in my life when what i keep thinking i really need to do is find some regularly occurring work – aka a “real” job, even if it’s just part time – what seems to keep dropping in my lap is more of the scrappy gigs. when i first returned from festival, my friend nita told me she really wanted to start liquidating her lifetime accumulation of collectibles with the eventual goal to clear out her house so she can sell it and move. it at first seemed really overwhelming, cuz let me tell you, she has a LOT of amazing stuff in her house. but we started breaking it down into manageable bites and we’ve been steadily listing things on eBay every week and slowly things are selling and moving out of the house. we’re not really on a time table – we’re moving pretty slowly, in fact – but it’s been a steady thing. i’m not making a ton of money on it but i think it will eventually pay off, and nita is a dear friend who has helped me a lot over the years and it feels good to be helping her do this big thing in her life.
i haven’t really been thinking of it like a “job”… more just like a “gig,” a side thing to keep a little money flowing, to pay for the groceries or whatever while i keep looking for other, more regular, work. but as i’ve been spreading the word that i’m working on nita’s “estate sale” via facebook and twitter postings, another friend has now approached me about helping her sell off a crazy amount of stuff she has had accumulating since well before katrina. this one feels more like a “job” cuz it has a time limit – she asked me to make a website with pictures of lots of the stuff that will be for sale, list bigger items on craigslist and eventually work towards a big yard sale in october – and she’s paying me a generous hourly rate. it’s less of the collectibles/art variety and more of the household every-day stuff variety, but it’s still a vast amount of stuff, much of it in new or gently-used condition and for which she should get decent money.
it occurred to me yesterday that, with a little effort, i could probably turn this into a “job” – self employment, obviously, but something regular enough to call it a job. i kind of really enjoy the work, even though much of the listing-on-the-computer part is tedious, it’s fun poking around in other people’s stuff and learning what other people are willing to pay money for. but are there enough people who want to de-clutter or sell unwanted things who are willing to pay me a decent hourly wage and/or percentage of their sales and don’t know how to do it themselves? it’s not rocket science, you know, selling things online. but there are some tricks and shortcuts and after doing it in one form or another for the last 15+ years, i guess i do know a thing or two about it. but enough to make my rent and bills each month? i don’t know. and how do i find those people who would be interested in this type of service?
so this is what i’m pondering right now, while i continue working on both of these projects. i haven’t stopped looking for other work – in fact in the past few days, i’ve registered with three different temp agencies, so maybe that will pay off with some kind of work, and i’m still hustling to get that security gig working saints games at the superdome – but i think i’m really just not very good at this “looking for a job” stuff. i write and send out resumes and cover letters for all kinds of jobs. i check craigslist, worknola.com, idea village, nola.com classifieds, simplyhired.com, and a dozen or more other local job boards on a regular basis. i check the internal job listings of and submit applications to all kinds of corporations and companies that i think sound good to work for (whole foods, ups, home depot, etc.). i’ve put my feelers out with friends who work all over the place.
so far, nothing. not even a call back. so how can i not keep doing this other stuff that keeps falling in my lap and is generating me some amount of money?
oh i just don’t know. i guess what would be ideal would be to get one or two part-time gigs that were closer to “real” jobs, meaning, working for someone else who was willing to cut me a paycheck, AND keeping doing the other gigs that seem to keep falling in my lap. wouldn’t it be a nice problem to have to be really super busy and have MORE money than i knew what to do with for a change?
that’s what i’ll be envisioning for now – more than enough. more than enough work. more than enough money. more than enough love. no more scarcity for me, thanks. it’s all about abundance now.
i think this is a great idea for you, mags! sarah and i were just talking about my stuggles to find my niche in a conventional job market when that is not how i am built. let me know if you come across a decent used couch and or coffee table-ish item. good luck in this and if we hear of anything on this or the roomie front i will let you know.