Tag Archives: alternative work

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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