I work hard for the money, so you better treat me. Right?

Can we take some time here to reflect on some of the weird shit that people in this fine city have paid me to do since I arrived? Keep in mind that my background is spread over the media industry. Since I left university (and before I arrived in Toronto), my jobs had been producing early morning talkback radio, editing and producing radio commercials, uploading and checking logs for nationwide broadcast, television media ingest (more uploading, dubbing, etc. I got paid to watch a lot of porn. No joke) and digitising an old National Radio reel to reel collection for a university archive. These are things I was qualified to do (I’m good at watching porn, guys), things I was paid to do and things I excelled at. Life was good, but I wanted more, so I left. I think back home there comes a time where most young people have a shit or get off the pot style epiphany. If the pond seems too small, maybe it’s time to look overseas instead. If your growth is being stifled, maybe you just need more room, greater challenges in order to fulfil your potential…

In saying that, my first paid job was to teach children gymnastics. My production skills did little to prepare me for teaching skills to customers’ progeny. First I had to learn some gymnastics, then I had to learn how to teach it. Next, children taught me how to react to them. I never seriously injured a child, which I count myself hashtagblessed for. Because otherwise it would’ve been a hashtagbloodymess. Even in a room coated with soft foam, gymnastics is plenty dangerous. Childslaughter on my record would’ve seriously dampened my career development, though some of the little shits sorely tempted me at times. I jest, mostly, I actually grew pretty fond of a bunch. In the end though, I don’t think I was quite right to be around children. Fortunately I was set to move on a different path…

PSYCHE! I fed kids in schools. It was actually a superb program designed to educate kids on what they were eating and why. The food was delicious and fresh, plus the leftovers stocked my fridge/freezer in lieu of the dismal income I made (I may have barely made rent at this point). Most of the staff were of a similar age, or else had children enrolled in the program, so they were pleasant as hell to share a shift with. I subbed all over the city, saw a bunch of areas, became aware of just how easy it was to get inside a public school. Scary. Being around kids, seeing how fragile so many of them are, you get why parents are so protective, why they fear people doing weird things to their kids…

Then again, some of us kids do weird things to ourselves willingly. There was the experiment chapter of my existence. I was paid small sums of money to take various medicines and substances (through CAMH, a pretty legit organisation) and have my brain activity measured. I did a heap of tests as a baseline tester. For instance, if they were testing for how a certain drug affected those with schizophrenia, I’d be the baseline tester as someone who didn’t have it. I got strangely apathetic to wearing an EEG cap and having TMS coursing through my skull. I did it for long enough that I got a reputation as a good tester. I got calls from a number of different studies looking for patients. Apparently my brain had a very high response to stimulation, meaning it gave a clear signal from very low pulses. I just liked being told I was special in some way. I don’t even remember half the studies I did now (hopefully a side effect of doing so many, not the drugs themselves), but it got to the point where I started to be able to understand the results I was seeing onscreen. So many studies…

Not all were for CAMH though. I did a baseline head trauma study which was basically a series of word games and puzzles (so the kind of stuff I’d do for fun). I did this brain scan study where a bunch of us got paid to wear headsets and watch shitty advertising. I did focus groups, stuff like healthy eating and youth representation of mental illness. I basically sold myself and my opinions, pretty much sold out…

After selling out, I cashed in on my heritage by attaining my current barista job at a New Zealand cafe and bakery. Having had no previous barista experience, I basically rode in on the accent and I’ve couched myself there for the past two months. I’ve been enjoying the customer service aspect leagues more than I thought I would. Something about selling a product you actively enjoy and endorse sticks well with me. I’ve noticed my accent become thicker while I’ve been working there and if any Kiwis come in I automatically start saying “bro” and “mate” a lot more. I still feel like I’m capable of a lot more, but I don’t regret taking the job. Failing anything, at least it got me away from that gymnastics gig. As long as I’m heading diagonally instead of horizontally. There’s a whole world of potential out there…

Like the Global TV job I just landed today. C’mon guys, you saw that one coming, right? It may have taken a year, but I’m back on track.


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