my real job

while listening to the taika waititi’s episode of thirst aid kit, nicole and bim played a clip of an interview waititi did. here’s an excerpt rom his tedtalk:

“i mean, all i’ve got, guys, is creativity. that’s-that’s my job. at the moment, i happen to be a filmmaker but it’s not my job. my job is to express myself and to share my ideas and my point of view. it happens to be that i’m using filmmaking right now.”


this short clip, aired during the episode, struck a particular chord with me. i’m questioning and have questioned the things i hold dear to my heart, specifically as it relates to my career and, more broadly, where i’m going with my life. at the same time, i’ve begun to push back on this idea of my career = my raison d’etre. my identity.

what i like most about this profound statement from waititi is that it decouples who i am from what i do. he has distilled who he is in that statement. his “job” is expressing himself and sharing his ideas and point of view. filmmaking is just one of many avenues that he has chosen to do his “job.”

i began to think on what is “my job” what do i uniquely bring to every experience regardless of the format, manner, or style?

to question, to critique

this immediately came to the forefront of my mind. i am naturally curious about people and the world around me. the way it pops up most consistently in my life is asking questions. even as a shy kid that was loathe to speak in class, the questions would fill my mind. 

a companion to questioning is critique especially if the answers don’t necessarily line up with what i’m hearing, seeing, or experiencing. it is as natural as breathing.

to tell stories

while the word “creative” has entered into the lexicon, i am reluctant to label myself as such because, to be frank, i don’t consider myself creative. imaginative, yes. creative? no. how i internalize this is imagination does not necessarily translate to action whereas creativity or being creative does. the interior workings of my mind and the things it conjures up has been the most pleasant, restful space.

seriously, when i occasionally suffer from bouts of insomnia or need to self-soothe, even as an adult, i retreat to the imaginary world of my making. there are many, many characters and worlds that exist in various states of development. 

when i was younger, i would write stories that i would guard very close to my heart. why? because once i shared them, told someone about them, the act of telling it was expressed and i no longer had the desire to write the story, another form of telling. 

through the years, many friends, writing pals, and colleagues have been on the receiving end of me “telling stories.” and while the encouragement to write is appreciated, i’ve done the work. i told the story. i told a story that captivated them for five, 10, 20 minutes and they are a different person because of it. 

why do i need to write it after that?

circling back to the other half of the waititi’s statement, filmmaking is the medium he has chosen to do his job. he makes clear that it isn’t the only method by which he can do this work. this, in turn, made me reflect on my career path thus far.

in archives, i have intertwined my “job.” archival collections, the preservation and access of records, inherently will challenge assumptions. records will raise questions but records also tell a story. it tells the story of an organization, a person, an activist group, etc.

see where this is going? by understanding what my real job is i can see how archives is but one avenue that i can express this work. and if there should come a time in the future where i no longer do it, i still have my job to fall back on. 

something to think about.