incubator where ideas can be respectfully examined and nurtured. I am always surprised
each semester when students feel comfortable exploring and sharing sometimes intimate
creative projects dealing with sexuality, identity issues, illness, etc. The classroom is a
place where I can make a difference as an educator in my ability to provide a safe haven for
respectful conversational exchange. In the article Whose Classroom Is It Anyway?
Improvisation as a Teaching Tool, the authors suggest that students in the digital
generation crave more social face-to-face interaction since they are already used to
meeting new people and experiencing greater diversity through the proliferation of social
media sites (Berk and Trieber, year, pp. 34-35).
Best Advice
“These kids need to invent something the next Google or iPhone app. There are just no
jobs in media. These managers are holding onto their seats at newspapers and they’re
just biting their nails every day just waiting for the pink slip. It’s just a matter of time. These
newspapers are just bleeding money. It’s sick. Profits are down eight percent and people
who are making six figures are the people that are doing to go first -- but the mailroom
clerk. . .” jimi then segues to the guy working in the mailroom. “There’s this joke I have
about black people who work in mailrooms or as custodians those are some of the most
secure jobs there are. Those people don’t have an education at all. But there’s always
going to be a floor that needs to be washed or mail that needs to be delivered. You know
the mailroom guy that you’re laughing at today with the headphones and ‘afro’ he’ll be
there years and years and years after you’re gone. He’ll be the one with the gold watch. I
know this for a fact. There’s this guy I used to work with at McDonald and Company about
ten years ago and when I was there he had been there for eight years. Now flash forward
ten or fifteen yeas later and he’s a VP because after awhile they have to give you another
title but he’s still in the mail room and he has been there fifteen or twenty years. People
are thinking that’s really sad or pathetic but at least he has a job. He knows he’s going to
be there.”
When asked about what kind of lessons he could offer an up-and-coming creative writer or
freelancer he said, “I would tell them to go work at Starbucks. I’m just lucky. I just happen
to know what I’m doing. I wouldn’t try to make a living freelancing. I wouldn’t encourage
anybody to make a living freelancing. I’d tell them to get a job at Starbucks. Write at night.
Write first thing in the morning. Make tea or a small mocha the rest of the day. I said,
“That’s harsh.” He responded as only jimi can, “There’s some PhD’s working there right
now that are really happy.”
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