Is the secret to happiness and working to have many jobs? (Unless you’re one of the lucky 1% who don’t have to have any job.)
Grants, NM: Restaurant Owner, Property Owner, Wrestling Coach, Assistant Football Coach
Larry owns El Cafecito, which I find in my “road trip america” book, off of historical Route 66 in Grants, NM. While enjoying my solo Valentine’s dinner and winding down with a game of “Ka-Glom!” on my Blackberry, Larry asks me how I can type so fast. “Oh, I’m not that cool … I’m not texting …” And we launch into a conversation on family, work ethics and our generation gap. On top of owning and managing this restaurant, which just doubled in size this year, he plans to double it into the next lot next year and owns 20+ properties, coaches high school wrestling and is the assistant football coach. (We swap some wrestling stories, since I grew up in a town with Olympian Brad Vering and was a wrestling cheerleader. Shhh…) The school wants him to be the head football coach, but he runs through his daily schedule and there just isn’t the time. Did I mention that he’s been married for 30+ years and has 3 gorgeous kids and 1 grandchild?
He worked in the mines for 19 years before they closed down and he decided to open up shop. Since then, he’s enjoyed the variety of multiple jobs and only wants to give his kids something he didn’t have – a good head start. (We then explore our generation gap, the waning work ethic and concerns we have for my generation, which I plan to dissect later.)
Santa Fe, NM: Musician, Guitar Instructor, Flight Instructor, Personal Trainer
Bob plays his guitar at the Santa Fe Baking Company and Cafe every Saturday. For the short while I’m enjoying a Southwestern sandwich special, I hear the Beatles, Dylan, Clapton and other classics. His voice is soothing and he keeps the mood light with mock growls and accents. As he wraps up, he announces that also teaches lessons. That would be fun, I think, to take lessons as I travel. I accidentally almost unplug his shelves of amps and equipment and he throws a joke my way that opens a new conversation. “Any chance I can get a lesson from you today? I’m only in town for a day.” He must not hear me all the way, as he says “Sure, I’ll get you a card before I leave and you can give me a call.”
Oddly enough, he’s also a flight instructor and a personal trainer. “You’re my new hero” I blurt out. Seriously, I’ve wanted to fly forever and dream of being fit someday. “That’s the way I like it. If you have many jobs, you never have to work a day in your life.” When he focused on being a musician for a living, he didn’t have as much fun. He started playing venues he didn’t like, just for the money and finally decided to go back to having it as a hobby instead of a career. And now that he has diversity again, he doesn’t have to “work” and has fun for a living.
Me: On a Break …
Larry and Bob spark admiration and reflection, which conjures hint of a spice nearly forgotten: variety. Remember 9-10 years ago? Bartending, waitressing, web design and the online daily paper jobs along with photography, drawing and other studio classes … I had fun and community and a little paycheck. A new question pops up: can one have variety and pay the bills?
How do you keep variety in your life? When are you (or were you) most satisfied in how you “make a living?”