Quit Your Day Job: Jess Williamson
Heart-on-sleeve song siren paid her dues, all right – right down to the staples
As told to Doug Freeman, Fri., Aug. 10, 2018
In my early 20s, I had a job for a day and a half at an art gallery in New York City. I was basically the assistant's assistant, and they were super rude to me, snobby and stuck-up. The first day, they put this huge stack of packets in front of me and told me to take all of the staples out. So I did – just took all the staples out. The next day, I got there and there were more packets. They just laughed as they put this huge stack in front of me.
When they sent me to the post office, I went and dropped off the mail and never went back. It would have been one thing if they were nice, but they were just so rude. A huge part of why I wanted that job was to learn, because I was in art school at the time. But there I was, pulling staples out of packets.
I worked at a juice bar for a couple of months, and for the most part that was really good except that the manager was a bit older than me, and basically all the conversations were super sexual. It got really weird, and eventually I ended up getting fired. In retrospect, it was of course total sexual harassment in the workplace every single day, but I guess I learned a lot about juices and smoothies, so that was cool.
I've done countless catering jobs, and was in the service industry for so many years off and on. The funny thing is, I was working in bars and restaurants in Austin and doing catering gigs at the same time that I was playing lots of shows. I got to kind of feel like I was in disguise.
Like one time, I did a photo shoot with a photographer and two weeks later when I waited on him, he didn't recognize me. He was so nice when we worked together, but then I saw what he was like to people serving him.
Jess Williamson’s third full-length, Cosmic Wink, is out now.