Category Archives: Profiles

Natalia of All Trades


Job title(s) Babysitter, Teaching Assistant, Pet Sitter, Freelance Graphic Design, Photography

Location: Montreal, Quebec

Average yearly earnings: 10K (my partner and I have a combined income, which is how I live off this)
How many hours a month you work: 80 hours a month (approx. 20/week)

Benefits of the work you do: I have lots of free time for personal projects, and I never feel compelled to leave my house if I don’t absolutely have to. There’s also huge job satisfaction and I can work things around my Masters degree.

The crummy side of the work you do: Not a lot of pay, and there’s often a huge gap between jobs, so it sometimes gets boring, but luckily I’m an avid hobbyist, so I try to fill the time making things for my apartment (much to the endless surprise of my husband)

How did you get hooked up with your current revenue streams: For babysitting and pet sitting, craigslist. For the teaching assistant, the chair of my department at my Grad School asked if I was interested, and I definitely was. For the freelance graphic design and the photography, it’s mostly word of mouth/referrals from friends.

What you see yourself doing in five years: I absolutely have no idea. I’m trying to expand my photography business, so hopefully I can make that more viable. I am a big fan of direct consumer/business interaction, and of going to smaller, individual owned businesses for your goods and services, as corporate culture breeds dishonesty and global problems. (I say this with a slight sense of Irony as my husband works for the biggest bank in Canada. However, he wants to give that up and open a microbrewery once he has his student loans paid off, so he shares my issues with corporate life.)

Funniest work related story: This story is about how I decided to stop working for companies, not so much for a work story in my own work (as those are mostly boring and uninteresting as it’s me sitting at home in my sweatpants at a computer).

I was a cashier at a pharmacy, and there were lots of… less than savory individuals who would come into where I worked. We had these bus pass machines to renew monthly bus passes, and at the end of the month we’d have ridiculously long lines of people wanting to fill them up, and the machines were always acting up. This was also Halloween, and I was dressed up as a tree (this isn’t relevant to the story, it just adds a bit of color, haha)

A gentleman came up to the cash, to fill up his pass, and the machine refused to read the chip in his card. I was struggling with it, trying to move it in a way that it would work, and people in the line were getting annoyed. A man further back in line yelled “Hey! Hurry up! Tell this guy to get lost!” I very politely replied (as I was being paid to be polite) “I’m sorry sir, he waited in line too, there’s a problem with the machine, I am going as quickly as I can.” To whit the man sneered and said, extremely pointedly, “Goddamned dirty Mexican.” At me. This was confusing for a few reasons- 1) He was in public and who says racial slurs in the middle of a metropolis like Montreal? In addition, neither me nor the man whose bus pass wouldn’t work was Mexican, or looked remotely Hispanic. I had to then politely serve the man who had just incorrectly racially profiled me and acted nasty about it. If I hadn’t been polite, I would have been the one in trouble.

After standing all day serving (for the most part) extremely rude people who treat you like dirt, this seemed like the most insulting thing that could possibly happen. I only managed to keep working for a company for another few months before giving it up (hopefully) for good.

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Man of Music

trevor levenium MT

Job title(s): Music Editor of ION Magazine, freelance writer, DJ, promoter, songwriter/band leader, branding and project management at 604 Records/Light Organ Records.

Location: Vancouver, BC

Average yearly earnings: 50-100k

How many hours a month you work: 230 (ed. for you 9 to 5’ers, that comes out to be around 11 hours a day with two day weekends “off”)

Benefits of the work you do: Travel is most certainly one of the finest benefits, because I’m the kind of person who can enjoy visiting Berlin as much as I do rural Quebec, especially when music is involved. Also, I get most every album about three to four months before it’s released, and that gives me a type of weasel-y, snobby satisfaction. It may sound hokey, but I find benefit in just assisting in anything music related; even deskwork that involves filling out spreadsheets about record budgets gets me going the same way that performing on stage or taking band photos do.

The crummy side of the work you do: It’s a frustrating industry, whether it’s because album sales are bleak, or some drunk floozie is throwing shit at me for not playing Tracy Chapman when I’m DJing. People define themselves with music, almost like wearing jewelry but they still feel like they should get what they want, when they want it, and for free. I don’t disagree, but making a living off it can be tough, hence the amount of hours I work and involvement in various sides of it.

How did you get hooked up with your current revenue streams: With the rock journalism, I just started pitching ideas to people and eventually they began to get published. I guess it kind of snowballed from there. DJing just happened because I like music, I hang out in bars all the goddamn time, and I can count to four. Band stuff I do because I’m deluded and think it’s appropriate to play guitar on stage and release records and think people will care. Working at a label just kind of came about after I gained a reputation as a guy who will work his butt off for bands.

Why you don’t work a “9 to 5”: Because sleeping until you wake up is the only thing in life worth living for.

What you see yourself doing in five years: Probably doing a little less performing (as a DJ) and doing more backend in the music industry. Hopefully I’ll become a better writer and have more work doing that too.

Funniest work related story: When I was 21 I was still trying to gain some momentum DJing, and I needed a gig real bad, so I took a job as the DJ and MC at a dirty strip club, doing the day shift. Now the day shift isn’t really the starting roster of dancers or patrons, so picture five or six taxi drivers and/or construction workers drinking bottled beer, ignoring a dancer on stage, just trying to burn away an afternoon. It was always a slow time of day, so generally the dancers would let me choose the songs for them. I always enjoyed playing “Ass ‘n’ Titties” by DJ Assault. Eventually I just started drinking most of the day away and my MCing would become a little blue. I’d announce things like “It’s hot outside but it’s hotter in here! Put your hands together for Dakota!” or “Sit your ass in the meat seats, we’ve got Tatiana for you!” Around that time I had to be told that terms like “meat seats” weren’t really appropriate and were demeaning, which came as a bit of a shock to a twenty one year old from rural Ontario who probably didn’t know how to even buy condoms yet without blushing. I quit when I realized they were moving hard drugs out of the basement and that I wasn’t getting paid on time.

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