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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

A One Day Career

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Thursday February 7th, 2013 – St. Charles, IL

   The process of being an entertainer is a lot more complex than anyone thinks. Had I known I’d have to work this hard on so many levels I may not have jumped in with both feet and thrown all caution to the wind. There are zero guarantees of a payoff, and circumstances change constantly.

   There is less work involved managing a fast food restaurant or driving a forklift, even though it isn’t nearly as exciting and doesn’t have a potential payoff at the end. There is a steady paycheck involved, and this far into the game that sounds REALLY good right now. Too bad I missed that.

   My grandfather made me promise him on his death bed I would get a civil service job to insure a steady income. He had one for more than thirty years (and absolutely hated it) as did my father and uncle (who also hated theirs.) I loved my grandfather and respected his wisdom, but I knew I didn’t want to settle for a life of misery like they all had. Still, I was always a man of my word.

   I promised him I’d get that civil service job, but my heart was never in it. I ended up having to take an exam, and actually placed quite highly on the list. I eventually got called for the position of ‘Clerk Typist 1’ for the City of Milwaukee. It was third shift at a police station of all places.

   The pay at the time was $14,000 a year, and I remember that sounding pretty good. I was about 19, and it would have included benefits and been steady cash flow. It could have been the start of a respectable career, and I could be thinking about retirement now with a nice wad stashed away.

   Unfortunately, that just wasn’t me. I ended up lasting ONE DAY. I knew within in the first few minutes I wasn’t going to last, and when all was said and done the only thing I ever typed during my tenure as a ‘Clerk Typist 1’ was my resignation. The cop in charge thought I was completely insane, and told me exactly that as I turned in my exit notice. I nodded, smiled and walked out.

   I had fulfilled my promise to Gramps and did indeed get myself a civil service job. But I could see the results of what a lifetime of empty existence looked like with Gramps, my father and my uncle and I wasn’t going to be like that. I made up my mind I was going to chase that big dream.

   Well, if nothing else I got my wish. I wasn’t like any of them, but now here I sit all these years later with absolutely no financial security whatsoever living hand to mouth like a glorified hobo. I was too busy chasing those dreams and recovering from disasters to put together a savings plan.

   I’m not making excuses, but I sure did make a lot of dumb mistakes that are biting me squarely in the meatiest part of my rump right now and it hurts. Too bad for me, as I was sole chooser and have nobody to blame but myself. I hope I chose the correct path, but sometimes I still wonder.

   I’m too far into it now to turn back, so all I can do is plow forward and make the best of what’s happening now. That’s a mammoth undertaking, as there’s a lot going on. I have fun things right around the corner like ‘Schlitz Happened!’, but I also have to pay my bills this month. That takes planning on several levels, and my days are consumed morning to night trying to sort it all out.

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