Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: Career Songs

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Remarkably few of us have careers. We have jobs, but not careers.

I’ve always envied those people who knew from a young age that they were destined for something practical or marketable–the kids who aspired to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and architects. I went to high school with a kid named Stanley whose heart was set on a career in meteorology. Good on ya, Stanley.

But artists–and by artists I mean writers, visual artists, actors, dancers, musicians, basket weavers, etc.–most of us are dissuaded from our inborn career paths as soon as we hit high school, if not earlier. We’re dreamers at best and delusional at worst. “What makes you think you can do that? Time to put away childish things and get about your father’s business.”

Perhaps my favorite example came from a creative writing professor I had one quarter in college. He liked my work enough that he kept nagging me to submit pieces to the university’s literary magazine (which I never did, but that’s another story), so I assumed he was an advocate, and sure enough one afternoon after class he asked me to take a walk with him. While we strolled beneath the trees lining the quad, he asked, “So what do you want to do? What are your career plans?”

“Well, I’d like to be a writer,” I said.

“Oh God, don’t do that. Only one percent ever make it,” he said. “You need to think about a real career.”

Really, Mr. Encouragement? Way to pop my fucking bubble. When the guy who teaches writing says “don’t bother” and you already have the self esteem of mosquito; well, fuck it, time to go find a job.

Anyway, career songs:

“Career of Evil,” Blue Oyster Cult.

“Career Opportunities,” The Clash.

“A New Career in a New Town,” David Bowie.

“The Rewards of a Career In Music,” Frank Zappa.

“Careering,” Public Image Ltd.

“You Run Your Mouth (and I’ll Run My Business),” Louis Jordan.

“Big Boss Man,” Elvis Presley.

“You’re the Boss,” Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Career songs: What did I miss? I’m listening.

1 reply »

  1. I really can’t come up with any about careers, but here’s a few about regular ol’ jobs…

    “Takin’ Care of Business” – BTO
    “Blue Collar Man” – Styx
    “Sixteen Tons” – Tennessee Ernie Ford
    “She Works Hard for the Money” – Donna Summer
    “9 to 5” – Dolly Parton
    “Drive My Car” – The Beatles
    “Six Days on the Road” – Dave Dudley
    “The Factory” – Warren Zevon
    “Car Wash” – Rose Royce
    “Working Man Blues” – Merle Haggard


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