Friday 5: We Can Work It Out

  1. What’s a real-world lesson you learned from your first job? That sometimes, you can’t catch a break. My dad worked as a chef through most of my childhood, letting it go after he got hurt in Iraq and got shrapnel in his hand, which caused a few problems with it, like constant pain. But when I was about 10, he worked at a small restaurant near where we lived, and he got me in washing dishes. Now, looking back on it, I’m not sure how they worked this out–at the time, of course, being a kid, I thought it was all legit, but I’ve since learned some little tidbits like the money I was paid actually came from my dad. But it was kind of sweet that my parents dressed it up as this real, adult thing. Some nights were slow, others weren’t, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to finish up a load of dishes only to have my dad to have another round for me to wash. Sometimes when you want to sit down and take a break, you just have to power through, but the end will come.
  2. What was pleasantly unexpected about your current (or most recent) job? I work for a closed-captioning company, and I knew when I got the job that the company got some pretty cool work, but I didn’t know just how cool some of it would be. I mean, talk about spoilers–I’ve found out about, say, character deaths a month in advance and got to watch while my loved ones squirmed watching it on air.
  3. What are some identifying tools of your trade? My company has credits that sometimes but not always are part of the captions that air. Other than that…nothing, really.
  4. What’s something a job required that you thought was far outside your skillset? Honestly, whenever I’m asked to do anything beyond my basic job duties, I feel like it’s out of my skill set, and it’s 100% just a lack of confidence. Obviously, my superiors feel like I’m capable, or they wouldn’t ask, yet every single time it happens, I feel a little overwhelmed and in over my head and wonder why they’re asking me and not someone with more seniority–and there are definitely people who have been working there longer. The big one was when I was assigned back-up duty to captioning commercials, which have a fast turnaround time and operate a little differently than typical programming.
  5. Robert Frost wrote, “My object in living is to unite / My avocation and my vocation / as my two eyes make one in sight.”  To what degree have you united your vocation (your job) and your avocation (your hobby)? When I went to college, I started out aiming for computer science–you know, to be practical. Except I wasn’t do well in the classes, and it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. After seeing a moviefilm with a newspaper-writing protagonist, I decided I wanted to change my major and pursue the writing thing, much to the dismay of basically everyone, but I said fuck it, I need to go into a field that makes me happy, not follow a paycheck and hate waking up and going to work every day, because it won’t be worth it. And lo and behold, I found a job that preferred an English degree. Sure, it’s not my dream job and the pay isn’t great, but I am using my degree and most days, I like my job. On the side, I do freelance work, mostly music news and reviews. While I did some stints writing for free, all of the work I do now is paid, and it’s a nice little chunk of supplementary income every month. Although I am looking for other opportunities, I’m still able to say that I have an English degree that hasn’t been wasted and I’m constantly working to follow my dream, making a gradual progress day by day.

As always, from Friday 5.


5 thoughts on “Friday 5: We Can Work It Out

  1. Everyone really opened up on this one. And, it’s great to read about lives, and how we all got from “here” to “there”. You followed your dream and that’s pretty rare these days. Good for you!

  2. Fascinating. I’ve always really admired closed-caption writers. On live shows they are simply amazing, and having to get scripted stuff across to people quickly on those shows is not so easy either! THANK YOU!!

  3. Are the boring shows easier or more difficult to caption than the ones you find interesting? I could see it going either way.

    1. For me, they’re harder because I have a hard time focusing. The really scary thing is I can totally space out and still do my job no problem. But it makes the time drag, and of course if I’m tired, I come close to dozing off sometimes.

      I think the hardest thing about the good shows is keeping my mouth shut about what happens, even just in terms of keeping track of what’s aired and what hasn’t and making sure I don’t accidentally give something away.

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