When I was 25 I was a little entitled snot. I thought, rolling straight out of high school to college and then to grad school, that being an artist would be just as easy for me. Oh sure I understood that there might be a learning curve, just as there was one in college and grad school, but I expected that after a few years of working at it that things would naturally go my way. I also decided that relationships were more important to work on than jobs or a career, so important life decisions related to my art were much delayed while I focused on love. My career to date has been largely a reflection of how life does not go according to plan. I’d like to think, now that I’m 38 that I’m a bit wiser and less conceited.
A friend recently told me about how he had to let another friend go from work. The employer friend confided that the employee friend was not producing quality work, (he’s in the furniture business). The employee friend was naturally devastated, I saw him last at my last First Friday at the Banana Factory. He’s an otherwise gorgeous boy, smart, a recently graduate from a prestigious liberal arts college and a natural and gifted artist. He’s surely going to land on his feet somewhere. Well anyway, I got to thinking a lot about that guy lately. He’s at around the age I was when I graduated Michigan with my MFA and then decided to go to NYC to be a famous artist. I think he’s also similarly lost in a mid-20’s ennui, looking for himself and looking for a way to make life match his expectations. It’s so important to go though this period, unfortunately for late bloomers like myself, that journey of self discovery took a little while. I pray in my non-religious completely secular way for my 20-something friend though.
It really makes me mad that our colleges don’t prepare students for the realities of work and instead produce smart, thoughtful young men and women who abhor hard physical labor. Were producing a generation of intellects who are forced to work minimum wage jobs, or as in my case teach college course for $3000 per course partially because of our pride.
See a photo montage of the $15 per hour/15K per course movement at Huffington Post here.