What I Do

Vincent Avatar

My goal after college was to sell the film rights and go out in a blaze of glory.Things didn’t happen that way…

I mean I would like to think I found minor (if ever so minor) success as a poet and writer in the 90’s back in New York after college. But in hindsight I spent more time drinking and smoking and trying to get laid than actually at my keyboard dishing out deep thoughts. I might still be stuck in that rut if a series of bad personal decisions hadn’t brought my life to a crossroads.

I had left a good job as a Program Associate at a not-for-profit that taught Constitutional Law through role-play. The kids would do the workbook exercises with their teacher and conclude with a Supreme Court trial, where they played judges, defendants, and plaintiffs. I was only there maybe a year, possibly two, when I made my first mistake – I chased a paycheck from the then New York City Board of Ed.

All through grad school, the job fairs, and the new teacher orientations, I was told that male teachers – especially those of “color” – were needed in the city system. I was lied to. And I was stupid. I quit my job before I found another. The director at the time even offered me a raise to stay. I was an idiot. The city didn’t need me and after two grueling years, I found myself “asked to resign” and working third shift in the publishing department of a brokerage firm. I screwed this up too.

I don’t remember how long I was there? It wasn’t long. I was answering phones in the publishing department of a brokerage firm. I was a glorified receptionist but the people were nice and the pay was good. I left because I wanted to pursue a “career.” I ended up in ad sales for one of those free community papers. Not the career I was hoping for. Not the career I kept.

I didn’t last a year at the newspaper. Having worked in ad sales, I have a newfound respect for salespeople – especially door-to-door salespeople. The degradation and rejection are at times unbearable. I was smart this time around. I waited until I had a job before quitting the sales job. I didn’t really quit though. They would have fired me sooner or later. The day I went in to give my two weeks notice, they had fired my boss. I gave my two weeks and was told not to bother showing up tomorrow. So I didn’t.

And that is how I ended up at my current job. As of today, I’ve been at this job for eight years going on nine. I am relatively happy where I am. It pays well, I like my coworkers, and I like the job itself. While there are still other things I would prefer to do to make my living, in terms of employment, this is as good as it has gotten for me so far.

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