DAY JOB MAGAZINE: Worker by trade

By Pablo Medel. November 6, 2012


It's always good news when a new publication is born. And if it’s like the biannual Day Job Magazine, even better. The New York-based designer Elliott Walker was sure about it: the innocent question 'What do you do?' kept his anonymous flight companion talking about his own job for two hours. That's where the idea came from. Why not write a magazine to know first-hand what people really do?

When the first issue reached my hands I remembered that story by the Mexican writer Juan José ArreolaCarta a un zapatero que compuso mal unos zapatos (Letter to a Shoemaker)–, in which the desperate buyer, in a moment of his sad plea, rebukes the artisan with the following: 'I am writing you simply to exhort you to love your work'. All we have to do is take a look at the shop assistants in a shopping centre, the mechanic taking as long as he can to finish off that cigarette, the teacher counting the days to go on holidays counting his days of holidays, any executive stretching out to infinite that business meal, the chemist with an unfriendly face, the musician whining because there is no audience, the rude barman whom you almost have to thank for having served you, late and with no care, the espresso you asked for.

There is no trade. But that does not mean that this is the only reality –thank goodness–; there are people who, lucky or not to have a job they love, do their work, for the relief of Arreola's character, with affection.

In this first issue, under the topic Manufacture, Walker displays a curious range of trades. Through interviews, articles and even short essays, we get to know the work of many different people such as the owner of a ladder warehouse in Soho or the day-to-day of a mechanic, several barber and beauty salon assistants in Brooklyn and diverse street vendors in Manhattan. But the journey goes beyond the Big Apple. We'll see two sides to the textile industry: the point of view of a Turkish designer and that of the managers of the Swedish fashion brand Our Legacy. In France we will enter Domaine Breton's wine cellars to see how their natural wine is born. In Beirut it will be the turn for calligrapher Samir Sayegh and his unconditional love for khatt, while Sweden will speak through an architect friar with a very interesting reflection on silence at work. But there is more: there are pages left for a visual ode to office tools that are falling into oblivion or a recipe book written ex profeso by a Williamsburg chef, Dennis Spina.

As you can imagine, the magazine has things to read… and variety: from the experiences of a butcher in the American Midwest to the meteoric rise of a human hot-dog who became the creator of the baseball stadium in Arkansas that bears his name. Although the highlight could be the interview, by Walker himself, with Milton Glaser –who once designed Dylan’s posters and logos as famous as the I Love NY one– and Steve Hindy –the master of gentrification who, in addition to his beer brewery, has turned his neighbourhood, Brooklyn, into a trendy area–.

And if that is not enough, the magazine ends with some very interesting articles on the life of a young artist, a creative writing teacher and his problems to evaluate or, among others, the diatribes of the fake Reverend Billy Talent and his eccentric travelling Church of Stop Shopping.

The only “but” is that the next issue will not come out until Spring, as Fante liked.

And let’s hope it finds us working. 

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