Skip to main content

I need a new job to go with my new life.

Field Notes In/On Transition

I need a new job.

 I am left standing at the crossroads as much or more than anyone I know. 

Working poor is the only life I have ever known. For about a year when I lived in Japan, the last year I was there, I felt like I was earning enough to live on, and I came back to Canada flush: around 10k in the bank and $1000 in my pocket (everyone carries that kind of cash in Japan, or at least they did when I was there) with plans to finish paying off my debts, after finding some job that paid me at least okay, and using my savings to pay the final 18 months or so I had left to pay off my consolidated debts.  

Of course that didn’t happen. I spent 3 months applying for every job that seemed remotely like something I could do. Bupkiss. I had 3 interviews, two of which were so stupid that I’m glad I never got the jobs, that apparently, I was ‘overqualified for.’  The last was for the job I have, which doesn’t cover the bills anymore. (same wages, bills are wayyy more) I have been living a couple hundred dollars a month over my budget for a couple of years. I don’t want my debt to get higher, but I feel like my time in retail has to end soon. I will never make even close to what I get now, at a retail store anywhere else. 

And what does working in a dvd rental shop prepare you to do other than work in a dvd rental shop. I have no idea, yet. I’m too numb. I spent the night and most of this morning sobbing, crying and feeling sorry for myself. I still feel like shit.

So I need to figure out how to get a new job, while in transition... a term by the way I’m kind of not as down with as I could/should be, as it kind of infers that bottom surgery is the only path I could be on. That is another thing I can’t afford, it’s not even on my ‘list’ for strict economic reasons. I also feel like I have already transitioned. Most of my ID says so.  But aren’t we all transitioning, in a broader sense (aware of the pun, yes) all the time anyway, from one part of life to another. 

I had a lot of plans to become a self publisher of my poetry.  I am may be a poet, but I have no hustle in my soul. Also I have been a film maker (I have over 90 videos on youtube) I have published three books, though the last is unofficial, as there is no interest in it from anyone, so I haven't bothered isbn-ing it. Those who bought it, never mention it. And not enough people have bought a copy online for my printer to even cut me some money.

I am not an entrepreneur, or even someone who has enough self confidence to even have a clue what I bring to the table, other than the ability to have a really good conversation, or to write. The only thing I actually give a fuck about doing though, is writing. 

Lately, I have been writing bits and pieces of fiction for various tabletop RPGs I am part of (see my blog RPG/FIC to the right.) As well as pretty regular movie reviews on my formerly moribund movie review blog. Of course this blog is still most important to me. It’s where I figure things out, by writing them down, thinking about them, sobbing over them,or laughing, and getting it down in the way I want to tell my story. But all this writing is simply scratching at the surface. I plan to start working a bit harder on my editing of my novel, and publishing that as an ebook within a year from now, unless of course I end up homeless and computer-less. I feel like this is a distinct possibility. 

I have no idea who would give me money to write for them, 'anything', I am pretty certain I could write anything I was asked to. But I am a hopeless freelancer, another term I hate, as so many people take the ‘free’ part too seriously. I tried my hand at freelance graphic design in the late 90’s. People just don’t want to pay you. Takes forever to get billed. I gave up. I had no hustle, no game.

So Josie, what is your impossible ideal?

Well, writing novels, every day sitting down in the morning and just writing the next one, no edits, just dreaming with my fingers. In the afternoon, editing the book that I am editing, always have two on the go, one in first draft, another in editing mode. Afternoons are for editing, business stuff. Evenings are for reading, socializing (which is research) and sleeping, not necessarily in that order.

Pretty fancy, eh. you can see in people’s eyes, them saying... No one deserves that kind of life, people often ‘tsk’ (not always consciously, but you can see it) when you tell them a dream like that. Short of that, the most satisfying job I ever had, was a subcontracting from a friend, as a writer of ESL lessons for an online site belonging to the company I worked for in Japan, way back when.

A few years after I came back, a friend of mine needed to subcontract out this job, as he had sold his novel for a huge advance (true story). The job was challenging and fun, and paid pretty well, but I only got to do it for 6 or 8 weeks or so. Someone else had the contact after the one I was working, before I even started. 

My workflow was as follows: find a fun news story, maybe one that has a couple of good vocabulary to learn, and interesting, of course. Very much human interest stories as they say. When you find a good piece, rewrite it for ESL students (as a former teacher this wasn’t very difficult for me, and in fact good writing exercise. Once the piece was ready, sent for edits, edited, ready for the web, then I would record two versions of the story, one slowly, as if in a class, the second at ‘normal’ speed, to get how it really will sound, as well as an easier to breakdown slow version. I had to edit all the vocal tracks for popping ‘p’s etc. 

For me, this was the one ‘job’ that I’ve had in my whole life, that I really wanted to do. Like every other job I’ve had, I kind of fell into it. I was really disappointed to have to give it up.

I got a nice TV that still works well after like 6 years or more with that money, and a few other things I needed for my apartment. 

How am I going to get to a place where I feel like I can afford to keep going? I don’t really know, other than I am being open and honest, and trying hard not to just give up. What I need now is any kind of gig to supplement any dwindling hours I have left at the store. I can’t be there all day every day anymore. I have never wanted to be in retail, yet it’s most of what I have done since this century began. It's incredibly draining to me, and has killed most of my interest in social activities. I have a few things I like to do with others, a few times a week. The rest of the time I want no human contact (other than facebook, sigh) at all. When the phone rings, I jump. Somedays you feel like you are answering the phone more than customers, almost. 

Spending all day talking about movies has diminished my need to watch movies, over the years as well. I used to watch at least one movie and or a few tv shows every day. Now, not so much. Except actually, lately I have decided, that since movie reviewing, discussing is one of my few skills, that would start watching more films, and reviewing them on my blog.  I somehow feel like this is an important step as a writer, to write more diverse things, fiction, no fiction, reviews, whatever I ‘need’ to write.

I know I am going to get lots of good advice from people as I let them know that I am looking to change this part of my life. i just hope I can follow some of it, and find something to do that I want to do. Is that really so wrong, to want to do something that makes you feel like you are contributing to the world. Being an hourly low wage earner in a retail environment, even the coolest store in the world, is still a store. I am still a prole, who feels like she has no rights, no options, no skills, no confidence, and is somehow being selfish, wanting to do something that feels right.

As a Trans woman this is going to be even tougher. There are lots of folks who say they aren’t transphobic, but will they hire me to write them a brochure, or work in their office? 



  1. i hope these links will help. i hate that it's so hard for anyone to find employment they truly enjoy doing anymore. most of the links i'm sending are related to the writing field, i hope these help. :)

    i wished i could do more, however your skills that you have from over-seas and local are in demand. i wish you the best darlin'.

  2. Thanks so much for your help, erin. I really appreciate it.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Last indolent Spinster Almost Daily Report from DOXA 2018

My last laconic lazy one take video chatting about the last couple days of the festival DOXA 2018

The Indolent Spinster Almost Daily Report #1 (from DOXA)

I am trying a new thing. As I have a pass to DOXA the documentary film festival that i worked at last year and the year before, as well as having been on the screening committee this year and last... I thought I would do what i failed to do last year which was make a video blog report as often as i could, talking about the films i see, and my experience of the festival.


here's the DOXA link. the film is playing again (and already sold out, but you can go early and get in the 'rush 'line) Tuesday the 8th

here's my kind of dopey after the film thoughts.

Indolent spinster weekly Report #6

This week's Indolent spinster Report has been hijacked by a poem i wrote 23 years ago, inspired by the Late great gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, my friend Andrew Davidson, and a third writer, Hugh MacLennan, who you may also have heard of, who inspired me, andrew and Gord very much with his definition of Courage.

photo of Gord from CBC

COURAGE {for andrew, gord, & hugh.}
lonelier than never                  within  my neck     my throat       choke words             hard             suicidally so.
I am weary bleary and toothless.
In every mirror          I see hopeless                soft fat breath.   
And wetness.
Then      somehow thick white blood re:routes                   an                   other path into my chest    and the shit melts in   closely shaved rhythms                     or smiles                     songs slither    as delicate     as though    I had swallowed a rose.
My breath is filled               with words and fear                              and                            …