September 4, 2018
Geoffrey Owens, talented actor and Yale grad: you have my respect and admiration. This August, in between teaching, writing, starting my new design biz (Pen Jar Productions), I too worked in the service industry, running the door at The Rectory Cafe, a beautiful restaurant on Ward’s Island. Part of my job included sweeping the entire patio and filling water bottles before the first ferry load of guests arrived.
As always happens, I sat many of my former students (some from last term!), editors and work colleagues and even a few university classmates (“Alison, is that you?!” they gulped/winced).
I’ll do whatever it takes to be in charge of my work life and creative interests. I’m not in to putting things off, and for this the service industry is brilliant and flexible.
If status and fancy titles (that reflect your education) are important to you, then I don’t recommend playing your cards this way. As I said to one of my summer students who caught me leaning into my mop, “I may look fancy, but I don’t act fancy.”
I appreciated Owens’s response to the social media take on his fate:
“[This sheds light on] what it means to work and the dignity of it. There is no job that is better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper.” Owens, who wore his Trader Joe’s name badge during the interview, said. “But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable, and if we have a rethinking about that because of what has happened to me, that would be great.”