Work? Hah, don't make me laugh!
And do you know what really boils my kettle? A guy who tells me I should live in The Real World and see what that's like. Well, let me tell you there's only one world, Buddy, and we're both in it together. This is as real as life gets.
The last two people who have made cutting observations about my profession have been (a) late night security guard and (b) building site labourer.
Oh, that's a handy number all right. Couple of hours work? Try getting up at 7am every morning for a 10 hour shift. Etc.
Why do I remain so polite to these guys? I find myself just shrugging and saying something like 'Well, I guess it takes all types…'
The fact is I've been a professional musician for over twenty years. Much of that time has been spent listening, learning and practising music in order to reach a standard that makes me employable. That rehearsal time is unpaid. Come to think of it, earning that master's degree actually cost me a fortune.
And because of the variety in my session work these days I still spend an inordinate amount of time transcribing songs, writing out band charts and learning to play new tunes.
There were years of uncertainty about having any income at all. Of course, much of the most rewarding work I do pays little (if anything at all) since the audience for jazz/contemporary is very limited to say the least. But I know that this is exactly what I signed up for when I began my music career all those years ago.
To the sage-like security guard and the analytical site labourer I should say something like this (with sincere apologies to any reader in those professions):
Tomorrow morning someone with no training whatsoever could walk in off the street and do your job, probably just as well as you and perhaps even better. My investment of time, energy and intelligence has rewarded me with a profession I love. On the other hand, you probably spent years flopped in front of Eastenders with a can of cider, griping about how easy everyone else's job is.
So, you tell me which one of us took the 'easy' route.