Going Everywhere - Going Nowhere

I left graduate school with an M.A. in Creative Writing, thereby more or less guaranteeing my unemployability.  Drifting aimlessly like flotsam and jetsam, I realized I had to do something.  So I got what I consider to be the ultimate existential job - cab driver.  I worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week - bone-weary at the end of every shift.  I drove through the most dangerous neighborhoods in Philadelphia, sticking out like a sore, white thumb.  Amazingly, I lasted a year.  It did have its benefits, especially for an aspiring writer.  For one, it was a passport into the dense complexities of real life, real people playing out everyday dramas.  For another, it taught me how to write dialogue.  Cab drivers, like other service people, are invisible - so I overheard every type of conversation imaginable.  I understood how people actually speak, and dialogue is perhaps the writer's toughest challenge.  So it did pay off, but not in tips.  How I managed to avoid being robbed I'll never know, one of our drivers was murdered.
ElLagarto ElLagarto
56-60, M
5 Responses Jul 10, 2007

Best dead end jobs I've had: loading and housing tobacco. Pays great for menial. Don't try cutting the stuff, they pay by the stalk, not the hour, and the ex-cons all work the fields like machines. They're the scary ones too, not like your uncle who got nailed with a dime bag. You're better off in the barn.<br />
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Waiting tables at a busy lunch place. You're so swamped you don't have time to think, and then you're free for the rest of the day.<br />
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Worst dead-end jobs I've had: Stuffing bank statements in envelopes as a temp.<br />
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And washing dishes in a tiny restaurant. There are no people to commune with, real or otherwise, and even someone in their early twenties winds up with serious back pain.<br />
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And El is exactly right about travel. Go get a new job till you sock away the dough to get the hell out of town. I met Aussies when I was backpacking in England who picked over abandoned opal mines in the Outback, and traveled on their finds for months at a time.

As far as I know - you're single - yes? - no family. My advice would be - travel while you can. I don't think the jobs matter that much. Menial jobs are great, you stay fit, the people are fascincating, you earn enough to keep going, and you can move on whenever you want. The main thing is to get out of your comfort zone, your friends, meet the real people, get a different perspective on life. And don't study them like a scientist for God's sake, drink with them, do what they do. They'll be interested in you because you're something diverting and different - and you'll be interested in them because they will teach you what life is actually all about. You're in NZ aren't you? That's a big country. Then there's always Australia. Any moron can write - what you need is something worth writing ABOUT. Good luck Bro.

Cab driver...I like the sound of that one, only I hate driving. As an aspiring writer myself, I would say Telemarketing is good as a brief experience, but I am getting real sick of it...other then the bonus of coming on here...hmmm, then again, I am whingeing a lot lately, maybe I should just kick some sense into myself and persevere.<br />
Can you recommend any other jobs?

Well thanks - jewel! Some would say adventurer, others might say thrill-seeking, self-destructive maniac! I've had my share of odd jobs, the wildest was fighting forest fires in Alaska for the BLM - yikes! You're right about the fares, too, some of them were very demanding, some were criminals, some were just bent, etc.

I have to respect a cab driver's job! Learning all those streets, city layout, and buisnesses. And don't you love those demanding patrons that say " You have 10 minutes to get me out of this traffic jam and to the airport 12 miles away!"? KUDOS to you, L.! I think you're quite the Adventurist! =}