Modern Day Factotum (1 Viewer)


Founding member
The reality of all of this is, unless you are particularly lucky, you have to weight your options. Freedom versus job-work.

The lucky are born into money, or born into a talent that can carry them through without a "normal" job.

For the rest of us there is poverty or work. Many people here seem to have done both. I have experience in both myself, and work - in my experience - is preferable to poverty. Of course it depends on the work.

This is the main focus of all of Bukowski's writing. Think about it. You can boil it down to this: we have a right not to work. Rejecting work is not a sign of weakness. But - and he mentioned this too - if you choose that path you choose a life of relative poverty, and if you can deal with that, cool. Freedom awaits you.

But I have personally known multi-multi-millionaires who were not free. In fact, they were the farthest from free that you could be. Every minute of every day was already planned before they went to sleep the night before (if they went to sleep the night before). Wealthy, yes! Free, I think not. I would not trade places with them, despite their seeming advantages in life and society.

The truth and the balance lies somewhere in between.

Father Luke

Founding member
did someone say factotum?

Here's my list, soon to be dwarfed by Father Luke and his 32 jobs in a year. . .

I started thinking that this deserved some sort of a
reply, so I sat down at work tonight and began a list.

Off the top of my head:

Worked on a fruit ranch
Took inventory
Worked on a Suicide Hot line
Drove a limo
Political activist
Body Guard for Ralph Nader (one weekend - but hey)

Construction worker
Baby-O-Grams (Delivered telegrams dressed as a baby)
Worked in a Slaughterhouse
Truck Driver
Sold my plasma
Restaurant Co-owner
Tractor driver
Bus boy
Tour guide
Assistant teacher at local Jr. College
Sold seeds door to door
Licensed massage therapist
Bicycle Messenger
California Conservation Corp
Ice Cream Man
Licensed Mediator
Bakery worker
Storage Facility worker
Sold lemonade as a kid (that count?)
Worked in a donut shop
Security guard
Sold flowers on street corners
Serbian Orthodox Priest /Monk
Did stand-up Comedy
Tech Support
Web Designer
Worked for I.B.M. (in a labor position)
Fast food restaurants (try and name one I haven't worked at)
Manager for Crown Books
Delivered newspapers (Adult job - not as a kid)
Studied Court Reporting - could type about 80 wpm (?) at one time
Filling station - Gas Station
Roofing tear off
Drove a taxi
Stage hand
House Sitter
Pet walker
Chicken hatcher
Bird Sitter
Worked with the developmentally disabled
- Downs Syndrome
- Autistic
- Cerebral Palsy
- etc.
Drove an Airport Shuttle
Sold cars
Mowed Lawns
Pizza - made, delivered
Washed windows
Set up eBay auctions for people
Tree trimmer
Scorekeeper for Baseball games
Editor of a 'zine'
Swept up hair at a barber shop
Worked in a machine shop
Worked at a liquor store
Professional thief
pet sitter
Pool cleaner
Television writer
Waste management employee for Airlines
Packed butter into wrappers, and boxes
Tile setter
Graphic Designer
Glass worker
Production Potter
Cabinet maker apprentice
Santa at Christmas
Put Carnival rides together
Licensed Insurance Agent
Sold Car wax
Passed out flyers
Collected signatures for petitions
Worked cash registers
Car wash
Song writer
Sold guns/drugs/the company of women
Sold myself, too
Camp Counselor
Data entry
Got paid to have my teeth cleaned by students
Painted numbers on curbs in front of houses
Collected cans/bottles
Kept bees
Raised worms
Irrigated Farms
Silk Screened shirts
Wrote Software

Christmas Trees
Prearranged funerals
Garbage bags
Solar heaters
Tickets for football games
Tickets for magic shows
Tickets for basketball games
Cell phones
Contractor supplies
Photo Sessions for Dept Stores
Photo Sessions for Photographers
Advertising for magazines
Advertising for radio
Light bulbs
Coupon Books
Chimney Sweeping
Lawn Aeration
Trade School Educational Courses
Took surveys

Sold on the phone longer than I can remember,
and it was in this occupation I gathered the thirty two w-2 forms.

I would literally go to work one day, and the place
would be chained up, and no sign of life, with me
shading my eyes looking in through the dark windows.

Anyway. There's more, but my head is full.

- -
Father Luke


"The law is wrong; I am right"
Incredible list! I never would have thought it possible for one person to have had that many different jobs. You must have broken some kinda reckord there, Father Luke. I think you're eligible for Guinness World Reckords...:D
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Founding member
This has to be the worst job that has ever been created by mortal men. At least before the pneumatic nail gun was invented (and it hadn't been when I did it).

I did roofing in Los Angeles in the dead of summer in huge new developments ("Oh, you're finished with this one? There's 249 more to your left, keep moving."). But the worst is commercial (flat) roofing with hot tar. In the dead of summer.

Instead of sending criminals to prison, they should just make them roofers.
Sold on the phone longer than I can remember,
and it was in this occupation I gathered the thirty two w-2 forms.

I would literally go to work one day, and the place
would be chained up, and no sign of life, with me
shading my eyes looking in through the dark windows.

Dan Fante wrote a great book (Mooch?) about his time as a telemarketer. It is well worth the read.
Goddamn, you guys have got me beat all to hell:

Bartender (two years)
Bar manager (one year)
Stage manager (five years)
Script reader for various production companies in L.A.
Low-budget film screenwriter and script doctor
Ad copywriter for Voyages Catalog Group (now-defunct)
Assistant archivist for Roy Orbison Records (ongoing)
Adult film and video screenwriter (more years than I should've)
Editor-in-chief of New Rave (one year)
Editor-in-chief of Dirty (also one year)
Investigative reporter for Hustler (never again, damnit!)
Feature documentary writer and producer (no money in that shit)
Book Reviewer (San Diego Tribune and, more recently, Pop Matters)
Trade magazine journalist (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ)

I don't think I've done a day of physical labor in my life.


Founding member
I don't think I've done a day of physical labor in my life.
I have heard tales of that type. I have never met one in the flesh.

Oh, fuck it, that's not true. I work in the internet business. If you gave most of these guys a shovel, they would just stare at it until they figured out some way to use it to open soda cans.
Back in 1995, I had a job that robbed me of my life. I had just finished graduate school, and was absolutely raped of my soul doing this job. Mercifully, I got fired because the company went from ~20 employees to ~6 employees; mainly because management was incapable of lining up work. Shit rolls down hill. Learn how to duck...

Hang in there, HC, it has taken me ~16 years to find a job that I love. You'll find it.

the only good poet

One retreat after another without peace.
people pass, smile
and greet the worker:
they love to see a man work.
their day is brightened by the fact
they aren't down there -
nor ever would they be -
employed in what is below
the majority.
they care little -
there isn't the urge
let alone the capacity
(forget the opportunity)
to employ one's brains
in some financially
lucrative endeavour.


Sad Flower in the Sand
If you can do it, moving sometimes freshens things up... I moved across the country from Springfield MA to Portland OR and haven't regretted a minute. It gave me a completely different perspective on things.

Weather's different, people are different, hell... I'm pretty sure I'm different. Though not certain if that relates at all to having a first born son at home... But... Yeah the 8-12 hour days of working suck at times... THe trouble is finding something you love. Or working toward something you love.

I work in a book store... I don't hate it most days, in fact its often quite fun. But I don't want to be here forever either. I want to be stewing the brains of college students in lowdown filthy literature by the time I'm 30. So its a goal. Sometimes work sucks, especially when (as a manager) I realize I could be making the same money (or better) working in an office in a tie every day.

But when I come home, kiss my wife and son hello, pop in some music and read a good book (not to mention popping on here to check up on you people)... I feel better. I've spent the better part of today, my day off, on the verge of tears because of how beautiful my son looks now that he's smiling at me.

There's tons of crap all around the apartment that need cleaning, we're a little low on food, and our cash supply is slowly dwindling since my wife's not working... But we're miles ahead of where we were a year ago in Massachusetts.

I see that you're still young (as if I, three years your senior am not, eh?). You've got time to blossom. Just 4 years ago, I was fresh out of a relationship with a psychotic woman, depressed about my major, depressed about living at home, depressed at working the same damn summer job... And then I met my wife, finished school, moved in with her, and then moved out here... Things can change quickly. Try something different. Variety is the spice of life and all that.

That's a rambling post... I'm sure there's got to be SOME valuable info in there someplace. Maybe I can glean it after letting it gel awhile... I'll be back to chop it up later, I think.


Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Founding member
never met a job that I liked, but at least I got paid...

-land surveyors assistant
-house painter
-road crew (tarring)
-greenhouse worker
-sold hardware
-sold toys
-sold big ticket items (furniture, appliances, etc)
-sold mens clothing
-big ticket inventory clerk (worst job ever, 4 loooooong years)
-I was one of those guys that offers spritzes of perfume to women in dept. stores -("Would you care to try....") waaaay overpaid.
-actor (no, not amateur porn)
-visual merchandiser
-interior design
-sold overpriced tickets on luxury cars for our local symphony

I think that's it. some ran concurrently. some only lasted a day. or an hour.
but, like I said, at least I got paid.

Founding member
i wanna play too. here's my list. and i only listed work i was paid for:

pattern maker's assistant
child model
professional picketer for larry flynt
drug dealer
t-shirt shop worker
house cleaner
hair model
hostess at numero uno pizza
waitress/food prep at cafe
t-shirt shop manager
business/commercial cleaner
telemarketer for exterior siding
bank teller
pharmacy worker
drug rehabilitation counselor
commercial printing grunt
promotional bulk mailing for computer programming company
grading and marking manager
data entry for commercial gallery
data entry for computer programming company
art shipping & receiving
artist's assistant for commercial design firm
sign painter
restoration/renovation (of houses & volkswagons)
general construction
recording studio custodian
flower delivery chick
flea market junk dealer
production assistant
messenger service dispatcher
art department assistant (mostly for food commercials)
mailroom worker for dental consulting firm
accountant for flower store business
recording artist
art gallery owner/operator
freelance art writer
freelance webmaster
graphic designer
professional working artist & kept woman


Founding member
I wasn't going to do this because I thought I'd only had a few jobs, but Carol made me do it, and when you sit and list them all out, it adds up. Crazy.

They are fairly chronological. Or as close to chronological as I can remember.

- Lookout on non-union construction sites using pirate union-workers
- Door-to-door candle sales
- Printer for an insurance company
- Sorted and delivered mail internally for an insurance company
- Ran an envelope stuffing machine for insurance company billing mailings (same company, I had a lot of different jobs there)
- Guitar player in punk bands (lots of money to be made there, let me tell you!)
- Building demolition (seems like a logical next step from punk)
- Cut backing boards (thick cardboard) for posters (so they could be shrink wrapped flat and sold as "art", rather than rolled and sold as crap)
- Copy and printing delivery in Century City
- Bindery worker (cutters, folders, collators, drilling (punching), binding, padding, you name a big, dangerous printing-related machine, I've run it)
- House painter, interior and exterior (cutter, the shittiest job on the crew)
- Collected unwanted bicycles for an organization that sent them to Central America to be fixed up and used as transportation
- Roofing, mostly on new construction (easier) with some existing commercial mixed in (harder)
- Live sound engineer (from clubs to outdoor venues up to 50,000 seats)
- Studio recording engineer, mixer, producer
- Guitar player in Reggae band
- Guitar player in a Reggae band in a movie (we only pretended to play, but the pay was real)
- Aged and stenciled original designs on wardrobe items for movies
- Daily cleaning of wardrobe items for various movies (see item #5 here - now that's Hollywood glamor for you)
- Wrangled extras for concert scenes in a movie
- Tech support for HTML software
- Tech support for web hosting company
- Support manager for four different web hosting companies
- Web site and database design
- Operations manager for two web hosting companies


stop the penistry
this is hilarious!
my list is nowhere near as cool or as long, for three reasons: i hate change, i'm a slow learner, and i'm not as OLD as some of you ;)

(in chronological order)

checkout girl
delivering/selling muffins/scones to big corporate buildings in the CBD
home help to grumpy old bitch with a degenerative spine disorder
teacher aide/cook at an under-5 childcare centre (hardest job EVER)
waitress (8 freakin' years now)
assistant drug dealer (more on the harvesting side rather than customer service, and i was WAY underpaid. also: trimming buds is sticky, messy, back breaking work, especially when you're doing it for some finnicky fuckhead, and i don't even like smoking pot)
truck counter at a landfill
student (yep, got paid a weekly allowance once i turned 24, but still have a huge student loan
shoe store assistant

Founding member
...and i'm not as OLD as some of you ;)

OLD is the new YOUNG.

...I forgot that MJP and I also ran an art gallery in 2002. Very little money, but it certainly was one of the most ambitious headaches of all time. Never again. ...Well, then again, maybe. I'll do it differently next time. Maybe only online.

Which reminds me of the all-encompassing, online zine we founded and ran from 99-2005-ish, called picklebird. We made money off the advertising, but not very much there either. Another headache.

I'm now in the process of resetting up as an archive of all the art and books we possess. It will be a giant database that I will make MJP set up for absolutely no pay. (I'm a bitch like that.) But in the long run, it's going to be a good way of documenting our Buk collection and tracking the information of the value of our art and manuscripts. In the meantime, I'm showing off some bits and pieces on the picklebird blog.

Okay, 'nuff shameless promotion. :D


Founding member
I like that. tracking "the value of our art and manuscripts." Makes us sound like wealthy industrialists!

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
I have experience as:
Paper boy
Bakery Clean up Doughnut frier
Bottle sorter
box boy
apprentice grocery clerk
factory set up
motor home assembly
-final finish
mobile home production line assembly
tops-roof assembly
-utility man
mobile service repair
Bar and restaurant supply sales pickles mayonnaise salad dresing etc.
Drug sales
Car salesman
-Chrysler Plymouth
-Mercedes Benz
-Cadillac Buick Oldsmobile GMC Saturn
(hell everything but Ford)
Used Car Salesman and Sales Manager
Finance Manager- who else do you hate? it was me.
Fleet Manager Internet Sales Manager
Mortgage Loan Officer
Park Model and Used RV Sales
This is the condensed list but nothing like Father Luke who may win the contest.
If I had it to do over again...I'd do it again with a great deal of enthusiasm.


Founding member
We are art collectors on a small scale. We get a lot of art in trade, we luck into a lot of it's just a matter of some of our friends becoming world-famous and we're set. ;)

But seriously, there isn't one piece of art in the house that we picked up thinking, "Let's get this, it will be really valuable someday!" It's all just stuff that we like. That is the value of it, to me. I get to look at it instead of an empty wall or a KISS poster.

Even books - the only thing I can say that I bought cheap knowing I would sell for more later were Bukowski poem manuscripts. That worked out quite well for a lot of people, I think. But I'm keeping the ones I still have, so we're back to just having things around because we like them.


I think that I think too much
Founding member
I was going to list all of the jobs that I've had in the last 45 yrs. or so.. but as I was going over them in my head it just got too damn depressing, and besides I'm not that good with all of these damn keys. but yeah, I can count about 25 with out thinking real hard. and one of them I stuck at for 25 yrs. where the hell did all that money go? I think that I'll go get a drink now....god, I'm so tired......


Founding member
where the hell did all that money go?
Isn't it a bitch when social security or whoever sends you that green paper ever year with your lifetime earnings and "contributions" to social security listed? I added up the money I've made once and it was a large know, if you got it at one time. Over a quarter of a million dollars. But a pittance on average. That was a few years ago. Wonder where I'm at now.

Such a bad deal, trading that money for your life.

And that 3 or 4 hundred thousand wouldn't even buy the house I rent. It'd be a 50% down payment. What the fuck.
Michael, after paying into the system for decades I've been on Social Security Disability for 8 years now. They give me Medicare with no co-payment for my meds, which is good, but I only earn, after my medical deductible, $860 a month and I'm only allowed to earn around $600 per month on top of that. Not much of a living and sometimes leads one to -- cough, cough -- earn a little money -- look the other way -- under the table.

Father Luke

Founding member
According to the government statistics provided for
me in my social security lifetime earnings sheet, I
have lived on ten dollars a day for the last thirty
two years.

Let me break that down for you:

120,000 - Total lifetime earnings since age 16
3,750 - average earnings per year
10.27 to live on each day

Let's say there have been some lean times.

I've learned how to be frugal.
Well, Roni, I'm not a gambler, never have been, and I do my drinking at home, so Vegas isn't much of a temptation for me; add into the equation that the Vegas Strip is a 20 minute drive from my house. I may as well be living in Podunk, Ohio.

well, last November I was invited to a wedding in Vegas, spent a weekend there, and though I hadn't expected this: I liked it a lot.

Especially that you get ALL DRINKS FREE while you gamble (no matter how Save you play)!

You can sit down at a Roulette-table, play only Dozens or Rows, bet only 5 bucks every time (even 1 buck allowed at some casinos but I didn't come down THAT low), flirt with some girls ( - sometimes), win&lose, get up more or less even. Maybe you've lost (=paid) up to 20 bucks, but had 5 Margueritas and two hours of fun in the meantime.

I know of much worse ways to spend your money.


lothario speedwagon
here's mine- i'm expecting it to be pretty short.

caddy (f/t every summer for 7 years)
caretaker for an autistic kid (p/t for a year)
assistant debate coach (p/t for 4 years)
guitar center salesman (f/t for 3 months)
graduate student/teaching assistant (f/t for 2 years)
bike shop salesman (f/t for 18 months)
operations manager for small software company (f/t for 2 years)
project manager for medical kit company (f/t for 8 months... so far)
okay here's my list
I am sure I have forgotten something I always do.

babysitter, it's a litigate job, i made money
janitor for theatre
usher (theatre)
prop mistress (theatre)
sound designer (theatre)
light technician (theatre)
drug dealer, back in the days of the 5$ lids, i was in high school what can i say.
Front of house sound mixer - the tubes
monitor mixer - the tubes
roadie, guitar tech, keyboard tech, drum tech - the tubes
road manager - the tubes
studio recording engineer
assistant recording engineer
bike messenger, on scooter
dog groomer
small boat - 18' to 43' - cleaner/maintence
hardware store employee
tele-marketer - 3 days
sold pots and pans - 2 days
tower video employee in hollywood, it was great negotiating with movie stars about late fees because they were to fucked up to return their video, actually pretty fun job
audio technician - SF state univ
home care provider
Lecture/ Audio instructor, still do this part time
managed italian food booth - renaissance faire novato ca
food booth employee
musician, had my band strangegirl, but i did make some income
singer , i am currently doing this right now
Sound editor (film) - current
Sound Designer (Film) - current

that's it.

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Wow! I forgot about my 11 months in the Air Force.
Defensive fire control systems operator on B52s. Honorable discharge thanks to my x wife. The fancy job title means gunner.
hey strangegirl, what years did you work and tower?

I am rattling my brain because it has been awhile.
I believe it was 1987. The first 6 months or so.
Wow that was a while ago.
Sometimes I forget how old i am.
I guess that's a good thing.:)

Oh and i forgot I was a wiring tech for 7 months too.
Not in LA.

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