The BIGGEST MERCH SALE I HAVE EVER DONE is happening RIGHT NOW in the HE STORE and ends on 9/21/13!!! $10 Books! $9 Shirts! Other things! Different Prices!
This is essentially the first comic of the
rebooted redirectionalized (no WAY this is a real word) HijiNKS ENSUE. The storyline before this serves as a sort of bridge between the pop culture based, continuity free strips and the new stuff. It’s not going to be all parenting stuff from here on out. That’s just how I’m choosing to start this phase of my work, because that (being a parent) was the entire reason I started the comic and eventually started The Experiment. It seems fitting that this new chapter in The Experiment begins with comics about the impetus for The Experiment itself and a discussion of one of the ideals I brought up in my original Experiment writings.
There is this pervasive idea that “artist” is not a job. A concept that in order to be an artist or a musician or an independent anything, you must ALSO have a “respectable” day job. The short version of my thesis on the subject is that art, music, comedy, drama enrich the lives of essentially every person who lives on this planet, yet most of those people would consider those professions as fake or unattainable “you’re deluding yourself” dreams. Well, that is until those careers are practiced at their absolute apex. No one scoffs at the career path of an international pop star or an Oscar winner. Yet they seem to forget that everyone they admire in entertainment started as a “deluded dreamer.” Further more, they don’t seem to realize that intense satisfaction, personal worth, accomplishment and even financial gain can be made from just doing the thing (usually the art) that you want to do for a considerably smaller audience. I, and thousands like me, are proof that this idea is outdated and irrelevant, to say the least. Yesterday my kid said she can’t decide is she wants to be “a veterinarian or a famous artist.” She pointed out that a vet gets to be around cute animals all day (plus one in the vet column), but she already knows from me selling prints of her artwork at conventions (for which she gets all of the money) that drawing something once and getting paid for it over and over is NOT too shabby of a gig. There are far worse ways to make a living.
My daughter has actually had a pretty good handle on what I do for a living for a couple of years now. She once said, “You draw pictures for your friends and if they like them, they pay you for them.” That’s not SUPER far off from entirely accurate. She also understands that I don’t to go to work away from home every day, but in exchange I have to leave for a convention 3-4 days a month. I’ve convinced her this is a more than fair trade and a small price to pay. When a stranger asks me what I do, and I don’t want to get into specifics I’ll usually say I’m a cartoonist. They’ll ask what cartoons I draw (they almost ALWAYS assume “cartoonist means “animator”), and I’ll say I do my own cartoons online. This typically ends the conversation because that sounds like I’m saying, “I don’t have a job but I fuck around on the Internet a lot.” If I just want to shut the conversation down and, say, finish my haircut in silent peace I will say I am “an illustrator.” NO ONE has a follow up question for that one. Not entirely sure why, either.
COMMENTERS: Have you ever had a hard time explaining what it is you do, or what your spouse, parents or kids do?
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I work in capacity planning and performance monitoring and management of IT systems. I have a hell of a time explaining my job to people…assuming I can even keep them awake long enough to get through the explanation. My son has come to work with me a couple of times, and I still don’t think he could tell anyone what I do.What? That first sentence didn’t explain it all?
I used to performance test web applications to ensure that they can handle the expected user loads that they will experience in our production environment and also making sure that we have the system capacity on the floor to take on the new application and user loads. Lately I’ve been working more on implementing tools to monitor application performance in our test and production environments. Asleep yet?That sounds exactly like what my buddy does. He has stopped explaining it to people. Now he just says “I work on the parts of cell phone games you don’t really see.”I saw this, read your follow up, and can totally relate. My wife, as it were, has the “real” job working in an office, whereas I’m an actor. I’m doing everything I can to make what I do my source of income, but people always ask me, “When are you going to get a job?” As if the acting thing is not work in itself between the auditions and classes, and doing small parts for little to no pay isn’t work, I find it hard to explain. However, I do think I might need some type of work to keep myself busy or at least to support the career path I’m carving for myself.
Stagegeek · 92 weeks agoI can certainly relate. I went to school for theatre, and haven’t done a bit of it since, working jobs to keep my head above water which did not allow the time free to act. I have now started a regular 9-5, and have started auditioning again (just this week, the Broadway Bound show “National Passtime” at Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre). My wife is an artist/creative guru. She has not held a regular 9-5 type job for 3 years now, and does her best to help out around the house as much as she can. Unfortunately, we have yet to find the market for her brand of art, which she describes as “Vividly Cheerful Abstract Art”, which can all be found available for purchase at ww.spkcreative.com.
Rich · 92 weeks agoI (hope I) speak for everyone when I say I will continue not to use an adblocker as long as you continue not to sell space to ads that want blocking (noisy one, autoplayers, malware installers, etc). Keep up the good work (and the reasonably palatable ads) and we’ll keep up the page views. :)b
JoJo · 92 weeks agoi agree with the good fellow up there. i always disable adblock for the webcomics i read. as for my job, since i juggle myself between 2 or 3 jobs regularly, i say that “i do things, fix problems, know people”spouse? parents? i have a hard time explaining to my boss what it is i do. sometimes, i wonder myself.Bonus fun points: You can have this exact same conversation with your offspring and your parents without changing any of the dialog!
Crotalus · 92 weeks agoTrue… but only the offspring are capable of that devastatingly vicious bitchslap to the ego.I was gonna say… Im sure for a lot of people the ego hit would be WORSE coming from their parents. My mom has little to no idea what I actually do. She knows I draw comics and put them on the internet but I think the comprehension stops there.My wife brings home the bacon in this partnership. Up until recently when my youngest daughter started kindergarten I was a full-time stay at home dad… I’m not really sure where I was going with that considering I don’t *do* anything (like art or music or whatever it is that Wil does) other than be the awesomest domestic goddess I can be so my minister wife doesn’t come home to a pig sty and beat me with her big book of God things. That thing is huge and hurty.tends to puzzle me a bit, about the “don’t come home to a pigsty”, and when others mention childcaring with regards to laundry and cooking. Do they assume that single people doing other jobs don’t have to look after their domicile or prepare their own food?. (I know there’s more to home management than just that, but those don’t go away just because you work 10-15 hrs in a “real” job)it’s part of the benefit of a relationship in general. If two people are working, both have to share that workload but also share in the extra money that comes in. IF one person is working the other can dedicate time to making sure the home is in great shape. Either way, it lightens the load on both. Single people just have that extra chore. They’re poorer and/or there home requires the extra work,Being a grad student who studies animation history and theory makes me automatically the “cool uncle” when it comes to discussing My Little Pony, but it was still hard for my niece to grasp. One day, to keep her distracted from a recent death in the family, I asked her about her schoolwork. Then told her about mine.
“You know, I go too school too.”
“Yup! I study cartoons!”
She thought about this fact for a moment, then looked up, almost embarrassed she had to explain this fact to her poor uncle.
“You know you can just watch those at home, right?”
Leshka · 92 weeks agoTitle: Word Processing Supervisor. Unfortunately, I don’t have a staff anymore, and I do all the work myself. What is it I do, you ask? Depends on the day. I usually say “I do the stuff no one else wants to do” but there are many jobs like that.
I went to pastry school (and huuuuge debt) just so I could say a profession in 2 words: pastry chef. Course that doesn’t pay the bills, so incomprehensible job, here I come…
dan · 92 weeks agoMy father in law plays violin for one of the top symphonies in the USA. When I told my mom the was a violinist for the symphony she said the same as in the strip..but what is his real job?
Granted, I grew up in a city with a symphony that was just okay and was basically volunteer with stipend pay, so those musicians did have other jobs.Fix computers is what I tell people, unless I am feeling particularly snarky, then I say I am a professional nerd 🙂 In reality it is just the mundane SQA.I’m a technical writer. When people ask what that means, I usually tell them that I write all the user manuals that no one ever reads.I’m a stay at home parent which is barely one step removed from being a pan handler in terms of respectability. Easy to explain, but nobody sticks around for the explanation because they assume they know what I’m going to say before I say it.
Chelsea · 92 weeks agoI’ve been going around and around with my husband on a similar topic. I’m currently a technical writer, but I’m trying very hard to quit that and be a full-time novelist. Husband is very supportive about the plan, but doesn’t get why I don’t want to tell every Larry, Moe, and Curly I meet that I’m writing a book. Honestly, I just don’t want to deal with the “delusional dreamer” side-eye. I figure having actual, hard-earned money to show for my work (even if it’s not very much) makes it look more legitimate from the outside.As an actor I suffer the other version of this where everyone is an “expert” in my field because they watch TV and did drama in high school.
Not the easiest conversations to keep civil after a while…
DuckAmuck · 92 weeks agoI constantly have a hard time explaining what I do. I’m a graphic designer. (yes, but what do you DO? You design graphics? –No, I design graphically.)
I don’t create advertising for a major national company – but I adjust those advertisements to specs given by individual company reps for their own personal advertising.
Sound fun? No? Tedious and stupid? Yeah, that’s about right…
Paul · 92 weeks agoDisc Jockey. No… not on the radio…. No…. not at a concert…. no…. not at a club…. yeah…. parties…. right…. I PARTY for a living…. right…. there is never any “real” workj…. Seriously, this IS my full time gig….. it IS putting my daughter through college, feeds my 17 year old son, supports all our media habits, pays the mortgage and taxes. Sure, my wife has a Masters degree. Who do you think supported us while she did here time and now that she’s overqualified for any paying job in this town. Yep, I also get to volunteer at school during the day. DJ SuperDad
ken · 92 weeks agoNo one has a follow up to illustrator because most don’t know what that means but don’t want to admit itMy kids haven’t asked me this question yet. They seem to appreciate my job as an artist, especially since it means I’m home for them after school. Whenever I start to stress about not pulling my financial weight in the family, my wife reminds me of how much we’d have to pay for babysitting for all the time I am with the kids.
Tony · 92 weeks agoHopefully by the time I have kids, I’ll actually have to explain what I’m doing, not what I went to school to learn to do but now just get really annoyed trying to do in my free time and don’t know if I even want to do anymore. That, or hopefully I’ll have gotten good enough to get paid to draw pictures like I think I rather would, but can’t be sure of until I can kinda form any sort of consistent artistic habit.
But with everyone else, I just point to Pixar movies and say “Kinda like that.” If pressed, I can go into the differences between real-time rendering and prerendered films and all the constraints that adds, and the differences between environment and character art, and textures and rigs and particle effects, and whichever discipline I’m trying to get passable at at any given time, and the fact that the general perception in the industry is that no one wants to play a game about a talking airplane when they could be playing the next Call of Duty or Madden and how that affects the aesthetics, and suddenly the Pixar analogy is completely borked so I always pray that I won’t actually be asked to elaborate.I had a new one the other day. I’m a Systems Admin in IT, but I usually just say “IT” and if someone asks me for specifics, I oblige. I said my usual “I’m in IT,” and the guy looked at me blankly and said, “What’s that?”
In all my years of doing this (15+) I’ve never had that response. I take for granted that everyone has had to deal with the IT department at some time. Apparently not this guy, for better or for worse. 🙂I’m a props artisan, and few people, even those in theater with me know what that is. I build stuff, buy stuff, and decorate sets. I’m not married, and I don’t have kids, but parts of my family and many of my friends always ask when I’m going to get a real job, as if the 50-70 hours a week I put in don’t actually count.
The best part is buying fabric and the lady at the counter asks what you’re making… sometimes I just can’t bring myself to tell the truth (like a raw chicken) and will just say I’m making something for a play. Then they assume I work at a school…That is an AWESOME job. When I was a kid I was obsessed with shows like Movie Magic. I wanted to be a prop builder or a model maker or a stop motion animator.That would be my dream job! Now if only I had an once of artistic talent…Aside from my day job of Personal/Executive assistant which is hard enough to explain because I do WAY more than either of those titles by themselves call for let alone combined I teach and coach Ballroom Dance.
I am one of 6 people on the planet certified by ALL the the organizations which govern ballroom dance and only one of 4 people who teach all styles and coach professional level couples…….try explaining that to the general populace…..usually it goes
“I teach dance”
“Like jazz and hip hop (FML) and stuff?”
“OMG like you can tango and stuff”
“OMG I totally want to learn for my cousin/brother/sisters/friends wedding”
“No”I was a bit of an EA for a few years. I basically ran errands for a rich dude that used to be my boss at a dotcom startup. It was exceedingly weird.Weird is right. Theres all the office stuff….answering phones, emails, business travel and the like. Still a number of things other EA’s dont do and wouldnt do especially for the money I make. The real insanity comes in when you take into account that I pay all his household bills, handle all his personal properties and vehicles, buy his clothes, wine, gifts, book all his vacations, doctors…..I mean everything….I even order the coffee for his house……AND I do the same thing for his father, wife and 4 ADULT children.
Had to walk out of a restaurant last night to pick up a call about the new cooling unit for the new wine cellar (the 3rd one) and was able to pay for it over the phone because I use his credit card so much I have the number memorized.I’m an operating department practitioner. I am not a nurse, anaesthetist or a baby surgeon. I have the patient care skills and specialist technical knowledge to work in an operating theatre, anaesthetics or recovery.
No-one asks me what my day was like anymore. All my funny work stories involve blood. Or a sigmoid colon called Henry.Downside of vet is same as downsides for IT fixing. You only see the sick and the injured, you want to help all of them, it’s never as glamorous as it’s sounds and failure is unpleasant.
Did IT, and also security work, for many years. Kids didn’t ask much because I never got to see them that much (server downtime is often best scheduled after hours). They do remember the times (as does my ex) of having to wait outside in the car for hours on end when we got an on-call emergency on way to beach or on way back from holiday, and others were busy.
Now I’m doing FX trading for kicks, and dairy farming. No kid questions as partner took them, she didn’t like being away from her city friends, having to travel, or having a partner smell bad all the time. And I’d still never get to see the kids anyway because farmings 10-12hr days, 7 days a week. But at least I don’t have to constant put up with mismatched poorly de3signed tech, or playing constant catchup with the late$t relea$e or patche$.My dad’s an astrophysicist/nuclear physicist. I haven’t a clue what he actually DOES because all the interesting stuff’s classified. He’s semi-retired and currently seeing what papers he didn’t have time to finish that are still publishable, so maybe I can finally read some of his stuff.
Emily · 92 weeks agoAfter my dad the computer wizard passed away my mom had a discussion with the manager from his job. Apparently they couldn’t replace him because they weren’t sure what is was that he did, just that everything stopped working after he went into the hospital.
For me I’m transitioning from deli clerk back to my chosen field of childcare, so the responses are switching from “that’s the best you can come up with?” to “you’re crazy to enjoy watching kids for a living!”
KGHorn · 92 weeks agoI’m a musician. My favorite was trying to explain what I do to my completely type A+, logical engineering brother and his engineering wife.
Them: “So, you’re majoring in horn performance?”
Them: “So, what do you do with that?”
Me: “The ultimate goal is to play my horn really well and people will pay me to do it.”
Them: “Wait, people pay you to make music? That can’t actually be a job.”
Me: “Well, there’s the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and even some smaller, local orchestras and all of those musicians get paid to play.”
Them: “But they must have jobs they do, right?”
Me: “No, that IS their job.”
Them: “Really? Are you sure? They just get paid to play in an orchestra?”
Me: “Yes, it’s a full-time job.”
Them: “Oh…….are you really sure about that?”
Gretchen · 92 weeks agoI’m an author who still has to make ends meet with a day job (senior technical writer at a biometric security firm…which is every bit as boring as it sounds). I’ve been very lucky to have a supportive husband, family, and even co-workers, but every now and then I’ll get strange questions or condescending remarks. “Why are you writing stories, you already have a real job?” “Do you know how unlikely it is to get published? Probably not worth the effort.” Or my personal favorite, “I’m totally writing a book too! Well, I mean, I have the idea for a book. You know what, you could write it for me, then when it’s a best seller I’ll give you a cut of the profit.”
Neph Sy · 92 weeks agoMy job isn’t hard to explain, but people don’t understand how I can support myself with it. I am an artist, but for the last ten years the focus has been jewelry, as a craftsperson.
“Where do you buy……” – I make it all
“Do you have a store?” No.
Or if I’m at a craft show – You’re in it right now.
“So what stores can I buy your jewelry at” – None
Or if I’m at a craft show – This is the store
“Can you fix this ….(piece of junk jewelry that is not made by me)” – No
“Can you engrave/size my ring/repair (an expensive piece of jewelry not made by me)” – No
I do tire of people thinking that I am a repair shop, must have my own physical store or be selling in stores across the country to be able to support myself. They just don’t get that there are many business models out there. Just like Joel, I’m home working most days, but go out of town to craft shows 1-3 times a month. I can really relate to “the experiment”, and the roller-coaster ride that is being self employed.
At this point my family is pretty much used to the idea that this is my job, but they still keep offering me money. Since I live frugally, it looks to them as if I’m in debt, and poor, but that is not the case. Seriously my parents try to pay me for picking them up at the airport, or mowing their lawn, because “we would of paid someone else to do it”!It’s funny how people would never ask an artist who paints to restore someone else’s painting, but become a jewelry artist and everyone thinks you’re a repair shop. One of the quirks of a medium that has a lot of baggage attached to it by the nature of the materials involved.For my old job, I used to just say “I work in biotech” and hoped it would end there. But people would reply, “so you work for a drug company?” And I would reply, “no, I work for the people who make instruments that the drug companies use”. Which would lead to them asking, “so, you’re an engineer?” and I would be like, “no, I work with the chemicals that go through the instruments that the drug companies use” and by that time their eyes would start to glaze over and I’d be like “fuck it”.I’ve got a lot of friends at Intel. Some of them run the machines that make the chips, some of them fix stuff that those other people break, but anyone I mention it to assumes they sit in a workroom designing computer chips instead of the reality of “stare at this monitor and do something if this light comes on.” I suppose I should take it as a compliment, I look like someone who has smart friends.
…not to say my friends are stupid, particularly if they read this. There’s just a lot more going on at those companies than the big sexy TV depiction.
MrPlow99 · 92 weeks agoI’m a software engineer. I generally find that the only people who ask for more details about what I do are the ones who would understand my answer anyway.Reminds me of the many MANY times my dad would get my major wrong when he talks about me to people. He says Computer Science, when I actually studied (and got my B.S. in) Computer Engineering. One time he dropped an f-bomb after I corrected him (not for the first time).
uwg · 92 weeks agoYou’ve probably heard some version of this joke:
The teacher is asking the kids what their parents do for a living. After a bunch of the usual responses, Little Johnny says, “My daddy plays piano in a whorehouse.” The teacher, flustered, quickly changes the subject. Later she makes a call to Johnny’s father and asks, “What’s this I hear about you playing piano in a whorehouse?” Johnny’s father replies, “Oh, that. Actually I’m a corporate attorney, but you can’t tell that to a 6-year-old kid.”
meagankn · 91 weeks agoThis is exactly what I face as an actor pretty much constantly. Along with being consistently asked to work for free. I once tried to make the analogy that you would never approach a chef that you have no previous personal relationship with to cater your wedding for free. No amount of “it will look great on your resume” or “it’s a wonderful learning experience” will get them to say yes. Somehow with the arts it is completely different. And it sometimes sucks. So glad you’re doing this and doing so well at it! And I’m excited to see where the new style will lead!
Deadboy · 8 weeks agoI’ve got a slightly different problem. I’m 30 and a punk (big Mohawk, leather jacket, piercings etc), so most people who met me end up asking – “when are you going to grow up and get a job?”
– “I have a job. I work in IT. In an office.”
– “What looking like that?” 0_0
– “Yes, because I’m good at what I do and what I do and my boss isn’t prejadisted.”