Stephen Root in Office Space. A classic "I want to quit my day job" flick.
In the last of our series "Don't quit your day job", SCENE brings you a list of artists who have actually quit their day jobs.
SCENE asked Manitoba artists who have left day jobs behind to tell us about one memorable job they did to make ends meet before they hit the big time.
Van Morrison cleaned windows. Stephen King folded sheets in an industrial laundry. Canadian poet and novelist Elizabeth Smart worked as an advertising copywriter while raising four children as a single mother. And Kurt Vonnegut ran a Saab dealership in the 1960s.
Singer-songwriter Don Amero worked one day as a hole digger for the city of Winnipeg. "I basically had to dig a hole into clay in steel toes rubber boots and coveralls. I sweat so much that twice that day I had about a cup of sweat in each boot!"
Filmmaker and co-curator of the smash hit "My Winnipeg" in Paris Noam Gonick walked around downtown with a sandwich signboard strapped to his body advertising discount shoes for Big Four Sales. "I was 16 at the time, and it wasn't so bad. Most days I'd walk straight to Plug In, dump the sign on the gallery floor, and read books while lying on the library sofa."
Ellie Harvie, who played Morticia Addams on The New Addams Family had a total of 7 waitress jobs but "the worst job I ever had was working for Andy Betty's landscape company doing spring clean up in Winnipeg - a mountain of thawed dog poo".
Jordan Wheeler, writer on CBC's new drama Arctic Air, says his worst day job ever was selling Filter Queen vacuum cleaners. It was also his last day job.
Joan Thomas, author of Curiosity, was a Salisbury House waitress as a student.. By the time she started to write she had good professional jobs, such as high school teacher and curriculum writer. "They were just bad jobs for someone who wanted to write fiction because they sucked up all my time and creative energy."
Which brings us to one final thought on artists juggling day jobs:Not everyone thinks that the nine-to-five is a soul-sucking grind: Summer Pierre, author of The Artist in the Office - and writer/artist/musician/nanny/art store clerk/admin assistant -- thinks that the financial security, human contact and routine that come from a day job can make your art better, while your art just might make your "regular" work better, too.