Definitely Not Doing Social Work

10 Jul

You know, I wouldn’t trade in cartooning for any other profession in the world.  It’s ashamed that I’m not exactly thriving on what I do, however, at this moment in time, I’m doing what I love.  I think most smart and logical people would have thrown in the towel by now trying to make it drawing and coming up with funny material, but I still persist on.  I’ve given up a regular pay check, health benefits, stability and the biggest thing of all – people.

It’s the nature of this job itself.  Let me give a little insight.

Most folk picture me as a loner all by my lonesome in a studio just sitting on the couch with a drawing pad.  Probably in my boxers (or, some very imaginative people might go with briefs).  Well, it’s partially true.  Yes, there is me, by myself in a studio.  But, I don’t consider myself a loner.  However, it’s hard not to feel like one sometimes.  And usually it’s shorts instead of underwear as my style of choice.

How do I feel like a loner?  Gee, it is pretty obvious.

Most jobs I’ve had throughout my lifetime have been full of friendships and good people.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had many day jobs.  Like, way too many.  And all the griping and complaining about them, one good thing about when I was working a day job was the company.

The jobs themselves pretty well blew.  Restaurant management, car sales, retail, etc.  Yes, the jobs themselves (as gently as I can put it) sucked.  I was just a troll doing something for a much larger company.  Easily replaceable.  Now, that’s not to say I did a helluva a job.  I’m the most dedicated employee I’ve ever met.  And I have the same work ethic with my cartooning.  But, that’s besides the point.  The day jobs I had were shitty, but it was the people that made them often times a blast.  (And part of having a blast was always complaining or making fun of the actual job we were working.)

The percentage of jobs I’ve done I’ve made friends with practically everyone I worked with.  No joke.  There were only a couple where I didn’t click, or fit in very well. (To be specific, one job was at a rent to own place, the other was a tech support.  I got along with the people, but we really didn’t jive, you know.  Not like friends.)  For the most part though, I’ve had a pretty easy time fitting in, getting to know everyone around and getting along.

I’ve had the most fun and entertaining jobs at places like restaurants.  Dozens of co-workers and myself would all hangout.  At work and at home, we were all like a big family.  Work wasn’t like work.  Just hanging out with cool people and having fun.  And during all this, I just assumed having a blast at the time thinking that cartooning would naturally just occur later on successfully.  (Silly me.)

Well, it was fun.

Now, I realize now after over a year without a day job, there’s not as many people to hang out with and see.  Yes, I have friends, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not like when I’m out there around a lot of people.  People move away, I lose touch and eventually I find myself not knowing that many people.  I have quite a few acquaintances, but a lot of friendships have disappeared.  And it’s natural because none of us are around each other anymore.  Then there’s families that start up, kids, a new dog – whatever – and hanging out doesn’t happen.  Plus, we grow up.  I can’t do cartooning and stay out until 3 AM too easily anymore like my restaurant days.

So, sometimes I find myself longing for the fun I had when I would work 80 hours a week at day jobs.  But, here’s the Catch 22 – I can’t do both.  Pretty obvious again.

Cartooning takes a ton of time.  That’s why I complain about not making the money a lot.  A lot of people don’t realize the time, energy and effort it takes to create funny, topical, amusing, colored cartoons.  It takes a ton.  And a day job really interferes.  The quality of work drops for anyone that works a day job.  It’s just impossible to keep it up at the pace I do.  And you would laugh if you knew the money I was giving up for my current work.

I often wish I had the desire to just work a freakin’ day job and be content.  I could easily be a manager of a place.  I have the personality for it.  Trust me, I’ve done it before.  I could be making six figures right now.  I just know it.  But, in that same regards, I couldn’t now.  I’m too wrapped up in cartooning (I write slapping myself upside the head).

But, beyond  that….

Even a part time job is awful mixed with cartooning.  Sure, it’s possible, but I would have to drop out of projects I’m working on.  But I do wonder though about the projects.  “Are they worth it?”,  “Will they work” are several things I ask myself.  Trust me:  I’ve failed at much more than I’ve achieved.  I’ve spent hundreds of hours on work that ended up dry and not earning me a penny.  But, there is always that hope that if I just hang in there, there’s going to be those big projects that pay off.  And I’ve had a few that have.  So, basically I’m just constantly working on upping that number ( on projects that work).

To make amends with myself about my social ‘people’ situation, I try to get out on weekends.  And I typically do.  And I meet a lot of people.  However, more often the case, the people I end up meeting are fun and cool for that evening alone, and then there’s no lasting friendship afterwards or anything.  Obviously not like my working days when I had about a hundred friends and acquaintances over at my shack, er – house.

I am married.  That, of course, helps.  A constant companion.  And we like to go out together.  Still though, all the people I used to hang out with.  I can’t even think of where I’d meet people these days.  K-Mart?  It’s weird how I lose touch with that.  You start to think about that when working in a studio by yourself for awhile.

So then I think, “Aah, the working a job days“.

But, I wouldn’t go back to that.  I sacrifice some friendships, but I’m hoping someday that my endeavors will actually lead to more free time to do more in terms of socializing.  Join a soft ball league, go to art expos, maybe join a fan club at Dunkin’ Donuts – something with people.  Because yea, there’s not many people hanging out at my studio, which is my preference.  And right now, I don’t exactly have the time or energy to be joining anything.  Even going to the gym is a stretch, but I do fit it in (there’s a pat on the back).

So, trade up this cartooning profession for a more enjoyable time with people but a less rewarding career?  What would you do?  I know I’m staying on course.  Not going anywhere.  However, when I go to Applebee’s and see all those people hanging out counting tips, I sometimes long for the good ol’ days:  Hating my job but hanging out with awesome people (no, I never worked at Applebee’s, but places like that).

In the meantime, I’ll see you out and about on the weekend.  And no, I will not be bringing a drawing pad.

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5 Responses to “Definitely Not Doing Social Work”

  1. dennis July 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Writing a book is equally tedious and lonely. 100s of hours and nothing to show. Now I’m spending hours asking for (and sometimes paying for) permission to quote someone. All this and no guarantee that one person will ever read one word!

    Sooo–I feel your pain (although I do have a day job [which often is also a night job]).

    Great place to met people: church. Also volunteer work or around a hobby.

    • w101njf July 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Yea, that’s the nature of the beast. But, in the end, when you have that finished product, I’m guessing it will be well worth it – regardless of readers!

      And yes, church can be a good meeting place. I’m hoping my SPCA work leads to meeting some new people.

  2. bearmancartoons July 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Having a day job definitely helps…though unlike you I make no money off the cartooning. Are there other cartoonists/illustrators near you? Up here they have an illustrators lunch every Wednesday in a different restaurant. Those that can go do, and bring samples of what they are working on. Probably 3-4 of them that go pretty much every week and about 20-25 that rotate. Some are nationally known. Might be something to look into.

    • w101njf July 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      That’s the funny thing: I know NO cartoonist! I mean, I’ve met a few, but never hung out. I should check into that. I’ve “kinda” looked before (not too hard though) and didn’t run across anything. I’ll have to check again.

      • bearmancartoons July 11, 2012 at 5:45 am #

        Don’t limit yourself to cartoonists. Illustrators as well

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