In 1991 Hal Hartley made a great short film called, "Theory of Achievement". It's about young artists and writers trying to figure out who they are.
It takes place in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY just before it became the hipster art capital it is today.
The film has the characters asking themselves who they are and how do they justify their definition.
Are you what you do? Are you what you say you do? Are you are what you are? Are you what you want to be?
I say it's what you put in the "occupation" box on your taxes.
I consistently fill that little box with the word, "artist".
I have however had numerous jobs.
Here is a list of all the jobs I've held, at least the ones I could remember:
dog sitter (scary)
face painter (wish those kids would wipe the cotton candy off first)
camp counselor (taught me among other things that teenagers can handle more responsibility than you think)
waitress (hard work and dirty)
art history slide library assistant (remember slides? remember typewriters?)
general store clerk (early hours, great way to meet the whole community)
cottage cleaner (I was too slow to make good money)
dishwasher (one of the best jobs I've ever had)
newspaper layout (learned to use a proportion wheel)
bartender (if you put in enough alcohol people won't complain)
carnival ride operator (the explanation is too long for these parenthesis)
art supply store clerk (did it for the discount)
doll buyer (got to go to the Toy Fair in NYC)
painted furniture artist (learned how to paint with paint markers)
chambermaid (worst job)
bookstore clerk (did it for the discount)
florist phone operator (similar experience to Bob Cratchit's employment)
frame shop clerk (I recommend acid free mats that go with the picture not the couch)
home design store manager (pretty place to work)
mother (lifetime appointment)
corporate treasurer (current position)
I am sure there are some that I am forgetting. I've learned a lot about life and people from these jobs that took me from a tent in the woods to a New York penthouse to a trailer in a hurricane. But if you ask me the inescapable question, "What do you do?", I will say, "I'm an artist".
I didn't post a link to a YouTube clip for the movie. I could only find one. I recommend buying the DVD, "Surviving Desire" which has the short, "Theory of Achievement" included. It's worth adding to your hip collection.