Sunday, May 10, 2009

Humbling Oneself


Starting tomorrow, I'm going to work at Artisan. This is probably a bad idea. I've been around the family business my entire life, and I've never seen anything but stress come from the place. I suppose it's still in business, that certainly says something. But I don't know if it should be...

"The Shop." My granddad started the business about 60 years ago. He was going to school at the Art Institute of Chicago and wanted to work in a sign shop part time. Since he couldn't find anything but union jobs, he took matters into his own hands. He continued going to school during the day, and worked independently in the evenings. Eventually, this kid's sign-work caught on, and eventually grew into one of the biggest industrial sign shops in Chicago.

Today, his daughter (my mom) runs the company. She took over just a couple years ago, and it's still too early to tell if Artisan will grow or wilt as a result. They're at least 20 years overdue for a facelift, but maybe my mom can make it happen. One step she recently took towards growth was asking me to come work for Artisan as a salesman. Again, this may have been a good move, but I don't trust myself these days either. This could be the beginning of the end for Artisan.

But I'll try my best. I'll go out and sell some signs. A job is a job, as they say. Whatever it takes to get rid of credit card debt.

And at the very least, I'm sure this job will make for some interesting new stories. A writer doesn't really have a "career" in sign-making, he just works briefly at sign shops for the sake of new material.

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