the career path with only one set of foot prints?

there are people that go to college, earn a degree, actually fucking use it, and their degree plan is the first step to a focused, single-direction career…

…i’m not one of those people.

i had several plans i thought i’d enjoy, and tried them, and felt kinda unfulfilled. i dog on the ufc’s ex because he seems to be constantly searching for the version of himself that makes him happy, but i realized i’ve been the same way from time to time – i just didn’t drag a wife and kid through it, and while i wouldn’t call my current gig a “career” it’s fun, it pays the bills, and the “dough/bullshit” ratio (i.e. what i put up with versus what i get paid) works for me, which from where i sit is ultimately what separates the good jobs from the bad ones.

that being said, i do know ultimately the gig i wanna get…but we’ll get to that in a second.

my first job was being a pizza delivery guy, which doesn’t get it’s own slot here because i only made it two weeks and realized a “normal job” wasn’t my thing. that led to…

writing and drawing and shit – i’d always been a club hopping guy (well, not always, but since i was seventeen) and i tend to be social and chat with folks, which led to various gigs churning out club poster work (including working with frank kozik) and that parlayed into a gig designing ads for some small club and music publications and then they realized i could actually write really well (mark ‘lew’ lewman, andy jenkins, and their intern spike jonez (yes, THAT spike jonez) were my inspiration back then) so i started writing as well. i kept that up for free (to “build a portfolio” that never saw the light of day) through college, soon thereafter started kicking in on kramer’s site, and that led to us being here. moving on…

radio free campus – who wouldn’t wanna stab people for college credit? i found out we could do fencing for a p.e. credit, and on my first real semester of college (i fucked about from 1990-1991 flunking out twice due to lack of focus but started back “for real” in january of 1992) i was giving a girl a ride across town from fencing class when she asked to change the radio station in my car (which only had an am/fm radio) and she changed it to 89.9fm, the student station. i was hooked instantly. i went up and asked if i could do a show and was told “no” because i wasn’t a mass comm major. so i went and changed my major from graphic design (sparked from the aforementioned magazine and club gigs) to mass comm and went back. they still told me “no”, so i went back every day until they realized they could give a me a show and see me weekly or not and see me daily. this led to me ultimately teaching in the station and later the department, all while going to school, taking care of a cancer-ridden mom, writing, occasionally spinning at parties and clubs, and even working for a while at gemini tattoo on sixth street (because i met the owners criteria of being either gemini or named “mike”, since michael was my first name…it should be noted the shop was owned by a biker who was off his rails on crystal). damn, i could multi-task back then – what happened to me? oh yeah, the whole “post-graduation radio gig gets nixed weeks after your mom dies” thing, which led to depression coped with by several bad relationships and…

be careful what you wish for…no, seriously – when i was in junior high, and a good chunk of high school, i could think of no better gig than working at sundance records in san marcos. it was, in my opinion, the best independent record store EVER and was so because of the attitude, the atmosphere, and the staff – and i wanted to be part of it all. i got my wish after a few weeks of drug and alcohol FREE sabbatical (i didn’t start drinking till i was twenty-eight) post 101X and mom death when i was record shopping and the owner came up and offered me a job. that was how it worked there – they HAD applications, but if you filled one out you probably never got hired; they were a last resort. the owner usually knew the regulars he liked enough to work for him, and if you happened in and he found out you weren’t working anywhere, he offered you a gig, which is how i got mine. i had a bank balance in the five figure range – i didn’t NEED the money. but seeing as how i had just kicked tanya out, and so in ninety days had lost my mom, my career, and my relationship anything that got me out of the house was a good thing…so i did this, which was supposed to be a summer job that ended up lasting for four years. while there i also did another year and some change in nationally-syndicated radio, spun at clubs for the last times (so far – ya never know) and even, once again, got semi-dragged back into the tattoo industry doing radio spots and the infamous sixth street carnival barker recordings for some biker sheisters that owned a few shops around town. but sundance WAS a star tickets outlet, which led to…

showtime! (sorta) – it should briefly be noted that my first “real” job was the pizza gig, but while i mowed lawns before that (does that count?) i guess my first real job in entertainment was ticket scalping, through the guy i bought my first music concert tickets from (depeche mode & omd in 1988). he would sell to me at a discount, and then i was allowed to mark up to his price (but not over) and keep the profit. i made a couple hundred bucks this way, and he never made me front – he hand wrote me a list of what he had for some shows, high school classmates would give me cash, i would deliver the tickets the next day. no computers – everything on paper. that changed dramatically when the guys from star chatted me up at sundance i came to work for them. at first the hr guy wouldn’t call me back, so when bob (the vp) came back in the store and asked why i hadn’t sent my resum√© and i told him i had, he leaned on him and i got a call that monday. i was showed three ads he was gonna place, and asked which ones he SHOULDN’T because i was taking that job. i took two of the three (box office manager and venue & outlet i.t. tech) and there we were. a fun gig until a poor decision to move to colorado (a recurring theme in my world) caused the place to start to fold, and being the one i.t. guy NOT part of the bosses very inner circle, i was out and then…

one of these things is not like the other – i worked at dell. what’s sad is before my current gig, this was my longest job and they didn’t even like me. they didn’t. at all. i was “a loose cannon”. but they couldn’t argue with my numbers, which buys you all kinds of set asides in the corporate world – “yeah, he’s loud and obnoxious but look at his numbers!”. they got me as i was finally starting to transition out of my depression and become myself again. it was the least “me” job of everything i’ve done, but it got me BACK into the tattoo industry via harold’s shop (that actually started during the “showtime!” era above, but more so here) and caused me to get shit-canned when the economy turned, go through a six month reset, and end up blowing shit up (put intended) for…

atomic time – for seven years i’ve worked for atomic with no real job title or description. i see something that needs to be done, and i do it. i seriously almost got business cards made that just said – “ATOMIC TATTOO – SEAN – I MAKE SHIT HAPPEN” because that’s about the extent of it. but my real calling? three simple letters…

god – when you think about it, it’s a pretty sweet gig. if good shit happens (team wins, album sells well, grandma survives the surgery) you get praised – and if it shit goes poorly (floods, grandma dies from surgery, team blows fourth quarter three pointer) it’s all just looked at as part of your “grand plan” or you working “in mysterious ways”.

the only down side is the pay – because most clergy take money in your name but keep it for themselves. that’s why the lord doesn’t own any G6’s…but televangelists do. but would you need money? wouldn’t people just give you shit ’cause you’re god? i need to look into this more…

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