Before you read: Please do not re-post this or any part of it to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.
Yes, folks, things are changing in Chateau Art By-Products. I might as well talk about it because only 10 people read this Blog (thanks Mike, Mike, and, uh, Mike) so it is not going to be spread too far.
As of probably mid-March, I will be leaving my job at Trader Joe's, where I have worked the last 11 years. I am being laid off, although that doesn't quite describe the process. I am leaving for health reasons, namely a badly strained back and injured shoulder which actually are caused by working there. I can recover from these problems and go back to work but then would face re-injuring myself in the same conditions which caused them in the first place.
Also, Trader Joe's has decided to enforce their rule that a "crew member" must lift heavy loads (for instance, a case of wine which weighs about 40 pounds). I am not strong enough to do this and risk hurting my back if I try. Also, the arrangement in the tiny windowless closet where the art is being done causes much more physical (and mental) stress on me.
I was hired in 2003 to do art for my Trader Joe's store but they are slowly phasing out the artists. When I was hired it was for art only but now they want the artists to do the same things as other crew members, creating only simple signage. In the last year, I have done very little art at TJ's.
So I want to leave on a morally neutral (and true) reason, that I'm not physically up to the job any more.
I am putting things into order financially so that I can buy myself at least some time (maybe for the rest of the year?) to do art full time as I explore developing new works and commissions, marketing, selling, and finishing old projects.
There is also the matter of my mother, who recently endured a hospital stay for heart problems. She is 93, lives alone in snowbound Massachusetts with minimal help, and conditions could change any day.
I dread having to tell the management and crew people at Trader Joe's that I won't be coming back as a crew member. I have good relationships with almost everybody there. I could come back visiting as a customer but it wouldn't be the same.
I will be looking for another part time job I could do, but my preferences at work make it harder to find what I want. Flexible schedule (evening shift), using skills I have, no heavy lifting, maybe such a job is a dreamy myth. I am not at this point willing to attempt to "go back to school" to learn some useful skill. What "useful skill" would that be? I am now making judgements on just what I can and cannot do and where to put my limited financial, physical, and time resources.
I am reading books on "career development" and looking at "career" websites but they all seem like greeting cards to me. A couple make sense. One internet thing I am doing, with much difficulty, is creating an updated web site for myself and my art, using the pre-fab site elements from "Weebly." But "Weebly" is much harder than they make it look. I tear at my hair at 3 AM just trying to make Weebly work.
Well that's enough for now. I feel like the distressed little industrialoid at the top of the page, filled with water and feeling cold and anxious. I will continue to put up images and text on this Blog for your entertainment. Thank you for your support.
"Distressed Industrialoid" is brown ink on sketchbook page, 3" x 2 3/4", February 18, 2015.