Other thoughts: The
a day's work
mere two months from graduation, and I really don' t think I should have
to get a job.
like me should be supported completely by the government, or at least
by some high-minded philanthropy. We should be given a lot of money, put
up in tract housing somewhere sunny, and allowed to spend a lot of our
time basking together in hot tubs. For artists are a precious institution,
and we are delicate, and the idea of actually having to earn our track
housing and hot tub basking is inherently terrifying to us.
there is no government sensible enough nor is there a philanthropy kind
enough to be willing to support me, artist or not, for the rest of my
life. A few weeks ago, I thought I' d found a loophole. I thought I was
going to win the Publisher' s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. Every week a
different large-stuffed envelope came, each filled with twenty or so time-sensitive
return cards. I signed an affidavit attesting to my willingness to be
shown live on television. I telephoned a toll-free number to state, clearly
and slowly, where I would be on prize day. I marked little boxes signifying
my desire to either receive my money through yearly cashier' s checks
or yearly direct deposits into my bank. I even, and this shames me most,
ordered a magazine. Come prize day, at the pre-announced time, I had cleaned
the living room, put on my favorite jeans and my second-favorite T-shirt,
invited friends over, and turned on the porch light, only to watch as
the Publisher' s Clearinghouse Prize Patrol showed footage of an apartment
complex startlingly dissimilar to my own, then knocked interminably upon
the door of one K.J., who didn' t even have the decency to be home, and
probably hadn' t even bothered to phone the toll-free number or sign the
affidavit. Again, I was left portless.
have a pretty weird idea as to what I should do. They tell me that most
college students, artists or not, generally get jobs immediately upon
their graduation. Occasionally they take a cruise around Europe first,
but I' ve already done that, though I did miss a few of the more major
sights through haggling for bread in the steerage section of various cities.
Occasionally they have a honeymoon first, but that would involve a marriage,
which would involve some sort of insanity on my part, which I haven' t
sunk down to yet. Mostly, though, they just get jobs.
to me to be a very ominous undertaking. College students, my peers, can'
t actually all be doing this. First of all, there just aren' t many cool
jobs around. Being an astronaut would be cool, and I have been to Space
Camp a few times, so I' m experienced, but I' d have to weigh 40 pounds
less, be about four inches taller, and ditch the Coke bottle glasses that
I' m very fond of wearing because they allow me to see. Being a garbage
person would also be a little cool, in a sick sort of way, but I have
a big aversion to coveralls.
all, I have a problem with the operating hours of most jobs. I require
a lot of sleep, a lot of lounging time, and more than a lot of trashy
novel-reading time. My parents call this laziness; I' m more prone to
refer to it as personal upkeep. College provides me with more than enough
personal upkeep time, especially in my senior year, when I have no class
that meets before 11 a.m., and no class that keeps me after 4:40 p.m.
The dress code is generally lax, the professors are generally generous
and lenient with things like deadlines and requirements, and the company
of my peer group is, while not generally uplifting, at least usually amusing.
I' ve mastered every possible aspect of undergraduate college life, and
rather like the breezy feeling on my face as I slide through this, my
last semester. What will become of all my trashy novels when I enter the
work force, chained by the wrist to some hugely monotonous industrial
machine at which I am required to arrive promptly at 8 a.m.? My very soul
will wither, I suspect.
of all, I' m not sure that I want to be chained to just one industrial
machine for all of my life. My parents, of course, were perfect. My Papa
started out at a young age picking cotton for a nickel a day, but after
a war and a marriage settled down to a nice steady job, where he stayed
for 45 years. Same with Mama, though she went to high school rather than
pick cotton, and worked for the war rather than going to war. They didn'
t bother finding dream jobs. This was relatively soon after the Depression,
so they just found jobs, period, and then stuck to them with incredible
loyalty and very few promotions. I get the feeling that they, though outwardly
supporting whatever fool idea might come into my head, inwardly scoff
at my plan to do something, and only do something, I really love.
was primarily what you did to avoid starvation and to buy nice holiday
presents for the kids. Now, that sort of goal would be seen as highly
destructive to the psyche and the soul. One needs to be happy at work,
because it has become the way and means to personal fulfillment.
I' m not
looking for that, exactly, as I' m not exactly looking for the steady
yet unsatisfying career that sustained my parents. Instead, I want a combination,
a fulfilling job combined with an outside life, for which I haven't yet
found an example.
I' d like
to be successful and have a large family and, let us not forget, not have
to work very hard, but the tradition so far has been either/or. So of
course I feel trepidation about leaving college, where I' m successful
both in class and out. And I' m not a bit hopeful.
s Clearinghouse let me down.
And my parents
have made it perfectly clear that going home to sit on their couch and
watch cable television for months on end is simply out of the question.
Julie Finn ' 98, available for any cushy writing position you may have,
is an English senior from Fort Smith, Ark.