Hello good people of Both Are True. Once more I am shocked to report that there are SO MANY NEW PEOPLE HERE which is great and also a little scary because like, what if I can't deliver and you all hate me and leave? Jk but fr.
Seriously tho I am very much wondering: who the hell are all you people?
And since that's a hard question to answer directly / head on / tete a tete, I figured I would ask something that would elicit some interesting dare I say illicit responses, hence my question:
Of all the jobs you have ever had, which has been your very favorite? Why did you love it and are you still doing it? If not why not? Honestly just write whatever you want this isn't graded (remove if I decide to grade people's responses).
Please respond by clicking on the button below, and I am especially looking at all of you who read this and (hopefully) love it but have been too shy to leave comments. Unless you really don’t want to leave a comment in which case ALL GOOD jesus Alex stop being so annoying.
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From my first job as a bagger at Shaws Supermarket in suburban Massachusetts to my second job as a cashier at Shaws supermarket in suburban Massachusetts all the way to my current multihyphenate work writing-acting-flailingaround, I've had a whole lot of jobs.
But my favorite isn’t even close - it was the year or maybe 9 months I worked at Spiritus Fermenti, a liquor store that was basically on Brown University’s campus in Providence, RI during the spring of my junior year and summer before senior year at Brown.
I mean think about it - we were selling alcohol to everyone which meant we knew where all the parties were going to be. It also meant that everyone who came through was happy and excited (usually, we had our share of already drunk sadbois too.) AND not to mention it let me hang out and talk to a lot of people for a short period of time which is my favorite way of hanging with people. Who needs a hour long coffee where you run out of stuff to say after five minutes when you can have a quick check in chat as your pal buys two handles of the plastic bottle bottom of the barrel Karkov Vodka.
And best of all I usually worked with Quinn, one of my best friends in the world and Nick, also a best friend who didn’t work there but just sort of hung out as if he did? Plus the many others who just would for some beer and stay for an hour to hang and help us handle the pre-close rush.
Work just meant hanging out for hours and talking and occasionally also restocking the shelves or refilling the beer cooler. We'd talk about the dumbest shit too, like the time we decided it was time for a new keyboard for typing. For example, why doesn't the word "on" have its own symbol. If @ gets one, on should have one, end of story.
I asked Quinn how he would describe the quality of my work while at Spiritus and he shared the following:
actually, spirited. final answer
I don't know half those words including puckish which I looked up and means "playful, especially in a mischievous way." Ok yes I will take it.
Note to self: be more puckish.
A big part of the awesomeness was our manager - Adam - was cool as fuck and our “how to be cool as fuck after graduating” role model. I looked back on Facebook and here are some messages exchanged between him and I on our public facing walls. For the whole world to see!
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I loved it all so much I decided to write a tv show about it. We called it Campus Liquors and convinced the literary arts department to let us do an independent study where we wrote a whole season of the show. And then we actually filmed a full episode. It was my first time realizing that I could just...do that. Write something, get a rag tag crew together, and just...film it? And it was my first time acting in something. Lotta firsts for things that have gone on to be pretty central to my life.
Making the show was insane. We had no money and everyone was also in college and thus flaky as fuck. Plus we could never shoot when the store was open so we'd get the crew together after hours starting at like 11pm on most days except Sunday when we could start at 7pm and we'd shoot for most of the night. The owners never found out (until now as I am sure they are avid Both Are True readers).
By the end we made something that I recall being actually at least somewhat proud of. I don't remember much from the show itself other than the fact that we made ALOT of Creed "With Arms Wide Open" jokes.
I do remember the premiere - we got 300 people in some auditorium and screened it and they laughed and thought it was great and I at least partially believed them because, just as this was my first experience making something, it was my first experience wholeheartedly doubting the creative work I'd just made.
But the job was so much more than just shooting Campus Liquors. We got to know a lot of the campus but also and more importantly we got to know a lot of the Providence locals. I always enjoyed those conversations so much more. They felt real, more connected to a place and a time, to a community, unlike the collective magical fantasy bubble of 'the college experience' we inhabited for four weird years.
People would come in with fake IDs all the time. We’d decide whether to sell to them based on how cool they were - if they acted like assholes, we’d turn em away. Fun fact I actually got caught using a fake ID as a freshman at Spiritus - there was an undercover cop and he busted me and I had to go to court. I remember bringing my “Intro to Neuroscience” textbook to court so the judge would think I was smart.
Sometimes I would even flirt with girls and say things like “hi” and they would say “hi” back which usually meant “i think we should just be friends.” Cool!
And omg also the store was right off Thayer Street which is a main drag in Providence full of sweet pizza shops, coffee shops, etc. This meant we became part of this barter economy with the other shops - we'd give them discounts on booze and they'd give us free slices of pizza. Easily the best part of this was the friendships we made with the Starbucks crew. We'd go in there every day and it felt like an episode of god damn Cheers. Everyone truly did know our names. And they would make us the strongest most absurd iced coffee with 6 shots and some syrup drinks that we would drink every single day.
In short, it was joyful, I didn't think about it when I went home, and I looked forward to going because I knew we'd have an insane weird good time.
It's interesting to think about how this was my favorite job and how far different it is from everything I've done and tried to pursue since, especially given how hell bent I am on succeeding in my career as a way to "be happy."
What if happiness is about not working so hard and not caring so much about your job? This is too obvious and simple and drenched in privilege to be at all revealing, but hey you know what they say about cliche? Right since you know it I don't have to say it.
My time at Spiritus ended in tragedy. I was fired by one of the owners - he accused me of stealing which I truly swear to my god and my readers (same thing really) that I never, ever did. But he wanted me gone because I was having too much fun, I think. Or also maybe because I wasn't working very hard. Either way, I may not be anything like the guy I am today were it not for that job. And well that, that's pretty puck. (Check to see if you can use the word this way).
Thinking “god I want to get stuff like this in my email inbox?” Me too bb, me too. Let’s add our emails and like see what happens lol
Ok now you go. What was your fav job? Why? Should you consider giving up your dumb career aspirations and go back to that job or something like it? Why not?
Okay this is a side note bc I am feeling salty about work overall BUT have you read Simu Liu’s memoir? It’s a great read about immigrating, family, and breaking into acting and filmmaking.
BIG PUCKISH ENERGY
fun jobs for me have included (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO):
1) dining services at my college (cashiering, making sandwiches, AND MORE)
2) summer camp counselor (teaching music and also standup workshops for teenagers)
3) princeton review promotions (flyering illegally, then stopping, then being let go)
4) barnes and noble (working in the cafe!)
5) linguistic annotation at a technology company (training robots to process language)
6) hosting a web series called "jargon" (training humans to process language)
7) voice-acting on an adventure audio series (training myself to process language)
8) podcasting in general (casting pods)
9) standup comedy (doing standup comedy/training audiences to process language)
10) making lists of fun jobs i've had (this one i do for free)
i still make lists, do standup, podcast, and SOMETIMES do some of the others. but i'm done with princeton review forever i bet. (i'm a kaplan man.)
thanks as always for sharing, my friend!
Maternal Child Health social worker in a downtown Brooklyn Hospital. Think AIDS, Crack, teen moms, NICU babies, DV. Get the picture? I loved this job so much I was there for 33 years!
And now I love making commercials. 💙
My favorite job was working at my college's international student center. As a broke college student, I couldn't afford to even go out of state, but my work brought the world to me. I met so many people from around the world, and there was always multiple languages being spoken at any given time. My boss was also very chill and super flexible with our schedule. Best part was no work during the weekend! I also got to do cool events. One time I went to a basketball game with a Japanese cohort and got to teach them about the sport. Super fun.