My favorite job – Guest post by Jeffery Simpson July 26, 2008Posted by Raul in Blogathon 2008.
Tags: Add new tag, Blogathon Vancouver 2008
This post was contributed by Jeffery Simpson, who is one of the top contributors (if not THE top contributor) to Vancouver MetBlogs. He was kind enough to volunteer to write one of these posts, and he’s a prolific writer. You can read more of his stuff by clicking on the links at the end of this post
“A man makes a picture
A moving picture
Through the light projected
He can see himself up close
A man captures colour
A man likes to stare
He turns his money into light to look for her”
– “Lemon”, U2
My favorite job has always been the Paramount Theatre in Kelowna. I had just gotten back from a disastrous four months spent as an exchange student in France and needed to find something that kept me from returning to the grill at McDonald’s. McDonald’s had been a job that I had never been good at, always a few beats too slow and always a little too mindful of the tragic accidents depicted in the safety videos. A Big Mac never seemed worth the chance of losing a limb.
I started really enjoying my job there once I became an usher/projectionist. I liked the moderate amount of authority that the role provided, and the responsibility of having to not destroy a film print worth a few thousand of dollars. After I got it down I loved threading up a projector, because it’s not often in life I’ve had the chance to learn how to do something that such a small percentage of other people know how to do. I was good at it, though I did once melt about six minutes of Babe 2, and eventually I was even splicing the films together.
I started doing projection work at the tail end of the life of the union projectionist. With larger film platters the complicated task of seamlessly switching between reels on the fly turned into pushing one button and then sitting around for two hours. Theatre owners, which increasingly were large corporations, realized that they could pay a minimum wage idiot like me to do the same job as they had been paying a well paid union employee to do for years. When the union projectionists went on strike, I felt for them but the writing was already on the wall. My theatre was not unionized, but people who had been expecting to raise families on their careers were soon out of work.
It taught me that the job market was shifting, one day you’re a highly skilled employee and the next you’re being replaced by someone whose last job was mixing slivered onions with water for hamburgers. It’s a process I’m seeing repeated in my job at one of Canada’s largest cellular providers, as the job keeps shifting from a career in sales that was an actual career to a stop gap job for the people who couldn’t get jobs at Future Shop.
I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy a job more than the Paramount. I loved staff shows, where we’d run a new movie on Thursday night in a staff only party. I loved movies, and for years saw pretty much every film that showed in Kelowna.
I have to say, I hope the Paramount won’t always be my favorite job. I hope to find something that I love to do, but each year that I get older it seems less and less likely. Maybe work isn’t supposed to be fun, maybe it’s supposed to be hard and annoying.
Jeffery Simpson is a freelance writer, and has written for IGN.com, the Kelowna Daily Courier, eVent! magazine, agent magazine and blogs at Metroblogging Vancouver [mbv] as well as his own personal site That Ring of Confidence [jks].