Shannon Cochrane


June 23 - 25, 1999

Attention Manager/Owner,

I am a working artist.

My first job was in a bakery. I worked the counter at The Hot Oven Bakery in The Cloverdale Mall. I sliced bread and bagged cinnamon buns. Sometimes while we were closing on a Friday night we would order Chinese food to the shop, and eat it in the back on the baker's bread loader with the young boys who worked in the hardware store. I used to baby-sit when I was young, a typical rite of passage for young girls entering the work force, but my first real job was in a bakery. Thirteen years ago, a baker's dozen.

Since then I have been a waitress three times, a bartender, a shift manager in a café, and I have sold tickets and popcorn at a repertory cinema where the owner would sometimes let me clean film during the screenings. I have worked the phones for charity, sold matching salt and pepper shakers, filed work permits, drafted fences, made coffee, peddled shoes and folded jeans. For every generation there is a gap. While I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, I went grocery shopping for rich people, made fruit salad for entrepreneurs and cleaned dead people's houses. I have scooped ice cream, mopped floors and made window displays. While I was in Vancouver over this past winter (not a real winter, just a west coast version), I was once again employed by a bakery.

I have no computer skills -- just bits and pieces I have picked up along the way, no business or design training, no bachelor's of higher learning. I went to art college. I don't have a career per se and being an artist may be work, but being a performance artist sure ain't a job. But I can make change faster than anyone you will ever meet, I can anticipate your needs while dining out better than even you can, and I can service more people while standing behind a counter in the course of a single day than I care to mention. It is not what you think. I'm just a working artist.

Some performance artists, like myself, are odd job experts. I think the performance worker is the jack-of-all-trades of the art world. My performance for the TIME TIME TIME series came to me in a daydream I was having while I was on the job. Natural I guess, since making art is mostly like daydreaming at work anyway. Durational performances are even more like work. Sometimes the longer something takes you, and the harder it is, the better it must be. But sometimes your life's work is bagging cinnamon buns. I should just do what I do best. Go to work.

This summer, I celebrate an anniversary. 13 Years in the Service Industry.

From June 23rd to the 25th, I will complete a project that I only recently realized has been in the works for 13 years. Compacted into three short days I will recreate my career in the service industry in the name of art. Well ... if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Sort of like a day-old bun. Day one, cold calling. Day two, interviewing. Day three, training and first shifts.

On June 23rd, you will be able to find me pounding the pavement armed with my résumé. I will complete an 8-hour work day attempting to deliver my résumé to every business that crosses my path. No stone will remain unturned. Bars, restaurants, offices, clothing shops, galleries. I work my way from Bloor West Village to the Annex, Yorkville to the Eaton Center, Kensington Market to Queen West. Finally I work my way through Parkdale and up Roncesvalles to finish.

On June 24th, I will wait with my phone by my side for any interest that comes my way. I will spend the day making follow-up calls and scheduling interviews.

I never quit a job until I have another, so potential employers should keep in mind that I am only available after I have completed my shifts on the 25th. My last day.

On June 25th, I will go to work as I have for 13 years. Only this time, you will be able to see examples of ALL my work, scattered along Queen Street West. I will be employed for 13 1/2 hours, working at 8 different establishments, one- to two-hour shifts each. I am the girl serving drinks at the bar, greeting customers at the door, offering advice about home furnishings, dusting the shelves, selling books, the employee who makes your cappuccino. I am energetic, responsible and prompt. I am a hardworking and loyal employee.

Thanks to Paul Couillard and TIME TIME TIME for employing Get Trained: Celebrating 13 Years in the Service Industry.

This time I may work for free, but I am not making art for minimum wage.

To receive a "Get Trained" package, including the complete itinerary for the June 25th performance, a detailed copy of my résumé, my c.v., and letters of reference, please e-mail me at get_trained@hotmail.com or leave your name and address at (416) 821-4674 and I'll deliver it to you while on my rounds on June 23rd.

See you at work.