Last Day of Work


In a performance Janis Joplin did on the Dick Cavett show in June of 1970, she said – as Clark Piersen from the Full Tilt Boogie Band started tapping out the thumping intro bass line – that “this song is about rock and roll. And it goes like this!” And she started clapping her hands in-line with the beat, the crowd followed. She was as high as a kite or drunk, or both. It was sloppy but sweet.

Certainly, “Move Over” is about an indecisive lover, or, at least, a wishy-washy lover Joplin is sick of waiting around for. That girl didn’t have much time and I’m sure she wasn’t about to waste it on some game-playing boy. I suppose the song is about rock and roll in a way – as in the tumultuous love affair any professional has with their trade which is also their passion. I don’t know exactly how the metaphor works being pretty musically deficient but I assume that the relationship a musician has with music is as tantalizing and antagonizing as any one person can have with a reluctant lover. Teasing. Vulnerable. Befuddling. Et cetera.

For me, though, this song is about pushing aside something. Moving over sure, but moving on to0. Like Joplin’s clingy lover, the thing I’m pushing aside lingers, stealing my thoughts from time to time. I need to do something cleansing to rid myself of the leftover emotions and the nagging thoughts. Drinking helps. Partying. I would bet that Joplin would agree.

My last day of work was on Friday. I started writing this blog post that morning and was looking forward to after work drinks on the patio down by the water followed by my going away party. I usually play this Joplin track when I’m game to celebrate finishing something. I figured I would post this Friday night, the definitive drum beat as introduction to my last week in Vancouver. But the weekend got away from me a tad. I hope the effect still works.

As I said, my last day of employment in Vancouver was on Friday. I have worked a bunch of uninspiring jobs in this city since arriving Fall 2010. There was the winter long stint I did at a fast food restaurant. Then I managed a bar downtown for a month at the end of the Canucks ’11 Stanley Cup run. I worked two rush periods (fall and winter semesters) at the UBC Bookstore, running countless cartons of books down a backhall elevator for 7 hours a day. I tutored English for finals season, rode the train to Richmond more times than I would of preferred. Then I did some temp work – rolled fabric at a textile warehouse, administrative support for a bank, answered phones at a commercial kitchen supplier, and then as a personal assistant for an Engineering Firm – to pay the bills.

I never did get a sniff of what I wanted to do which was teach English at a College or work in sports communications. I had some promising interviews at some technical schools that evaporated due to funding and enrollment. And I got completely blown off by media directors for the BCHL, CIS, AHL, and the Vancouver Canadians baseball team. Oh well. This city is a tough place to establish yourself professionally if your personal network is thin, or you did most of your work in another city, or you are low on cash and need something quick. The rent is high and everything seems to cost a little more (i.e. booze!) that you have to work a day job to find time to do what you really enjoy. Hence this blog.

I met some great people a long the way though. There was kids putting themselves through theater school cleaning tables, entrepreneurs pouring beer at night to earn a little extra pocket money on the side, summer students looking for quick cash, career men and women who had put in 50 years at one company, others who were contemplating their options after seeing 25 years of work amount to little other than 4 weeks vacation (which they appreciate but could do without), and there were offices that were flat and boring, old and conservative, but also those that were new, boisterous, lively and perched atop skyscrapers downtown. There were nosy people and those who were more shy. There were beautiful women and a lot of poorly dressed men. And there were a lot of cool people from all over the country (Maple Ridge, Victoria, Prince George, Kamloops, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort MacMurray, Grande Prairie, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Dauphin, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Cape Breton, Halifax, St. John’s, and Whitehorse) and from all over the world (France, Germany, Singapore, Korea, United States, Mexico, Fiji, Australia, England, China, Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Italy) who I shared a pint with, a laugh, a dance, or a talk. Good people. I hope I see them again some time.

But it’s over. And today is about pushing aside two years of crummy career work (not the friendships but the work), and moving on to something great. This week is my last 7 days in Van-City. The truck leaves for Calgary Sunday morning at 7:00 am. I will settle in Kingston on August 20th.

So come and follow me eastwards, as I head to Queen’s University to start the PhD program and my career in Academia.



2 thoughts on “Last Day of Work

  1. You Betcha, she is. We’ll be in Calgary Sunday night, and Edmonton the following day. Leaving Edmonton Wednesday morning. Should land in Kingston that Saturday. In London either the 14th or 15th. Still haven’t decided on that one yet.


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