Qualifications or Bust: Part 1

3 Dec

My timing in life is impeccable.

So, after wanting to become a cartoonist my whole life, I grow up and become one, and then at that exact moment, newspapers are doing lousy and comics are not being sold to papers.  That is my story at this time.  I compare it to growing up wanting to become a steam train engineer and then along comes diesel.

Above:  My cartooning syndication before….

Above:…the Internet

Basically, I’ve had a banner year!  My comics have made their way to the comics pages in the newspaper and have been picked up for digital syndication through Universal.  I’ve appeared in MAD Magazine and have generated interest with other publications as well as having custom work done for clients.  However, in this lousy economy and digital transition period, it’s not enough.  The income level is the only thing that hasn’t been banner.  What a shame.

That’s pretty typical amongst a career in the arts.  Like being a car salesman, you have to expect slow months.

Above:  Car salesman probably having a decent month as long as these suckers order the TrueCoat

But, who would’ve thought that the cartooning industry for newspapers would dry up?  Let alone newspapers drying up as well.  Impeccable timing indeed.

So, anyhow, that is my life.  When I’m actually at a time and a place where I’m labeled somewhat ‘professional’ and ‘made it’ – there’s not much in store for me regarding not having to resort to a soup kitchen at the moment with my career.  Optimistic about the future?  Yes.  But, at this point in time, I don’t see too much making a change very quickly here.  I’m kind of riding out the storm.  I’m in a perfect position (trust me, I’m not going anywhere), but everything else is a little beyond my control at this point.  Yes, I’ll be working on new clients, publications, etc.  However, I’ve always wanted syndication because of the consistency of the work and the consistency of a paycheck.  I’m getting paid by Universal, but my syndication contract isn’t used to marketing to newspapers right now because newspapers ain’t buying.  So, my profits are online.  Newspapers?  They’re not buying anything.  They’re working on just staying open at the moment.  I really hope that changes, but….

So, where does that leave me?

I’ve been working on (gulp) yes – a day job.  While I keep on keeping on, I’m trying to find a fitting job to help bring some Benjamin’s in (or Lincoln’s, Madison’s – heck, I don’t care).

My whole life I’ve had day jobs.  My last one was about six months ago.  And from that point, once again, I’ve tried to go at it alone without one.  It’s tough, and I’ve done ‘so-so’, but I need to bring in a little bit more bread.  If I don’t, I don’t see myself ever able to afford that stinking I-Pad that everyone is talking about.  Or a dog.  You know, I’d like a dog at some point (my current dog, Ursa, actually lives with my mother right now in Ohio, so I’m not able to see her much).

It’s funny because along with having day jobs my whole life, I’ve NEVER had one that’s even closely related to my field of cartooning.

Here’s a rundown of some of the day jobs I’ve had thus far in my lifetime:

–  Busboy

–  Cook

–  Pizza Hut Manager

–  Delivery Driver

–  Barbwire Fence Builder

–  Landscape

–  Repo Man

–  Shipping and Receiving guy at Sears

–  Bally Fitness (morning guy) front desk person

–  Host

–  Car Salesman

–  Electronics Salesman

–  Personal Assistant to an owner of woman clothing stores

–  Tech Support for MP3 players, remote control helicopters, digital key chains and more worthless items

–  Customer service for a newspaper

And more…

Now, I’ve kind of done this on purpose (not relating my day job to cartooning).  That way I would be miserable at my day job and push me to become a cartoonist quicker.  And you know what?  It worked!  I actually became a cartoonist!  But…um, I’m not making a big wad of cash yet.  (Sigh)

I’m made to be on my own.  I’ve often worked two of these jobs at one time.  And I’ve now learned from experience, I’m definitely a free soul.  I don’t like being told what to do or this or that.  But one thing about me:  I’m a model employee.  Any job, company, etc. is lucky to have me.  And I’m not trying to sound cocky – it’s true.  I’m an excellent employee.  I’ve always have made friends at every job I’ve had and have given jobs 100%.  I mean, it’s not the employers fault that I’m miserable.  I don’t show it at work or anything.  I do my job, and then get back on the drawing board.  All with a big, gleaming smile.

For example, the morning guy at Bally Fitness required me to be there at 5:45, five days a week.  If I wasn’t there on time, it wouldn’t open.  I was the guy with the keys.  The only opener.  And you know what?  I never once was late.  I never even called in sick – even if I felt bad.  And this was in Ohio during my early twenties when I’m out almost every night with friends, staying out until 3 AM and being irresponsible.  And in college.  But responsible I was with this job.  Along with that, I knew everyone that walked through that doors name (well, in the mornings at least), knew the equipment, could sell memberships and probably run the place.  I was dependable and good.  (At the end, I was let go because my position was weeded out.  The way it went down was – well – ugly.  But, I’ll discuss that another day.  And just for your FYI – this Bally’s location was closed down for good two years ago.)

Above:  A place where dawns were a constant with Nate

(Note:  This is NOT the actual Bally’s that Nate worked at.  It’s just a picture of a Bally’s for entertainment and shock value. )

With that being said, recently, I’ve tried going for day jobs that I WOULD be very well suited for.  And they won’t give me the time of day.  Not because the jobs aren’t available (they are), just because….well, I don’t know.  They’re missing out.

I’ve recently applied for stuff I’d be good at.  There was an online coupon company (like Groupon, or Living Social…I won’t name them) that was looking for a writer to come up with unique writings for their site.

ME:  “I’m perfect for that!  And, you know, I might actually enjoy it.”

Really, I think I could ace this job.  I’m no Dr. Seuss but I can create some unique writings for the site.  I studied it, and honestly, it reminded me of writing for MAD.  A bit of sarcasm yet truth to the wording.  Easy for me.  (You might not think the same after reading some of these God-awful post that I try to piece together here on Nates Ramblings, but I can assure you, it’s up my alley. Probably.)

So, I applied.  Yes, they were hiring – locally –  and I applied.  Not only that, I put in a good example of how I write and so-forth.  Excellent application, I might add.

No call back about it.

I touched base again.


“Listen, coupon site, I’ve been an intern at MAD Magazine!  Creative writing is something I can do.  Who else are you going to hire?” I yelled to this piece of lint that was the only thing to yell at at the time.

Still, nothing.

I tried something more simple:  A book store (that was hiring).  A BOOK STORE.  I put in three applications.  And guess what?  Nothing.

When I went to the book store later on to see who was hired, it was a bunch of pot heads that looked half asleep, standing in the corner all chatting with themselves.  “Them?  Over ME?  What the….I mean, I would actually be sober for this job!”

And here, I have down about publications I’ve been in and how I write a comic everyday and…..STILL…. they didn’t even try to interview me.  When I asked a person at the actual store about it, the only response was, “Well, you have to do it all online.”

“Yes,”  I said.  “but I wanted to talk to someone in person so you can kind of see how I might be a nice addition to this place.”

“Uh..sorry, man.  You have to go online.  There’s really no one here to talk to you about that.”

And this was a job that probably paid just a hair above minimum wage.
I’ve tried numerous other “creative” positions that I think I could actually enjoy and be good at as I continue on with my cartooning.  And it seems like the more creative and suited I’d be for something, the more I get ignored.

Saying all of this, I hope I don’t come across as conceded or arrogant.  Trust me – I’m not.  I’m being very honest about my work habits here and how I honestly think I’d be GOOD at some of these jobs.  I have the same work mentality with my cartooning.  And I get how competitive it is right now with the economic downturn, but still, I’m kind of surprised how I won’t even get the time of day.  I’ve been to places where my comic is in the newspaper RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM – and they still won’t consider me for a creative position involving coming up with ‘unique ideas’.


This is another reason I can’t wait to just be a full time cartoonist.  You heard me right – FULL TIME.  Again, call me crazy, but I’m very optimistic about my future.  And there are full time cartoonist out there at this very moment.  My ordeal is that I can’t do too much about newspapers not picking up anything.  Jim Davis right now would have the same outcome if  say Garfield was just picked up a couple of months ago for syndication.  As good as his work is, I think we’d be in the same boat.  (And no, I’m not comparing my Break of Day being superior or anything to Garfield, but just saying….)

So this is part one of a series.  It’s got to be a Part One because I can’t really finish the outcome of this until something happens.  Maybe by the time I would get an interview, I WILL be making it okay financially cartooning and all is well and I might not need anything else.

In the meantime though, I’m thinking about just putting down a bunch of false information on any applications… something like this:


Name:  Why do you ask?

Contact Information:  1-800-Ask Gary

What position are you interested in:  Anything involving medical equipment or Colonel Sanders talons

What skills and qualifications do you have?  Picking a scab, licking feet and tickling Elmo

Where were you previously employed?  7-11.  I was in charge of the grape Slushy machine and changing the toilet paper in the woman’s restroom

May we contact your previous employer?  I love you

References:  Cap’n Crunch and that cat that made a cameo appearance in Alf awhile back


And watch.  I bet I’d get hired.

Be sure to subscribe to the blog for further updates by typing your email in the upper-right of this screen!  And subscribe to my syndicated cartoon Break of Day HERE!


9 Responses to “Qualifications or Bust: Part 1”

  1. eorchard December 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Boy, does this resonate. I’m lucky my family’s letting me finish this graphic novel but I’m looking at a day job somewhere down the line. But the same sort of trajectory, big name clients, some awards and a soup kitchen. Yeesh! Here’s hoping the storm lets up soon.

    • w101njf December 3, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

      Welcome aboard! Yea, I think the future will be good, but at this very moment – eh. It’s good – and bad – all in the same storm.

  2. gardenfreshtomatoes December 4, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    Best of luck, kiddo…When I was a retail manager, I would have given anything to find people who would actually SHOW UP. On time, too? You’d have been a favorite…
    Here’s the Old Lady’s suggestion of the day – find a locally-owned business. They don’t do that on-line application thing (Whose stupid idea was that, anyway? I want to see the person when they turn in the application, so I know whether or not to waste time interviewing them.) Then dazzle them when you drop off the ap.
    Showering first helps, too…

    • Nate Fakes December 4, 2011 at 8:52 am #

      I have to SHOWER first! Oh no! Well, okay….I could probably do that. Thank you though for the input. There are some local places around here, so I’m slowly seeping my way into places – hopefully to some avail.

  3. bearman December 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I am finding that employers aren’t responding to people these days because they are “over qualified” Overqualified means you are going to leave in a few months once you find something better or complain that you need more money and responsibility.

    BTW…MR WRITER…it is BUSBOY not BUSS BOY. Do you need me to spell check the resume too.haha

    • Nate Fakes December 5, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      It’s typing errors that the pros made, I thought. Maybe my spell checker is broken, or my brain is.

  4. Miss Demure Restraint December 7, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    I feel your pain. I have a custom cover letter to go with that application! Each day I’m a step closer to sending it to someone. Let me know if the application works for you and maybe I’ll send my letter. I just don’t believe employers actually have any humor in them.

    Great post.

    • Nate Fakes December 7, 2011 at 6:04 am #

      I figure I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ll let you know!


  1. The Week of Cartoons November 28th thru December 4th « Nate's Ramblings - December 5, 2011

    […] Ramblings Nate Fakes' Blog « Qualifications or Bust: Part 1 The Week of Cartoons November 28th thru December 4th December 5, 2011 Along with a week […]

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