William Shakespeare was an actor and theatre manager.
Charlotte Bronte was an underpaid and overworked governess.
Charles Dickens, as a child laborer, pasted labels on bottles of shoe polish. Later he clerked in a law office.
James Joyce, an accomplished tenor, paid the bills by singing.
Mark Twain was a typesetter and steamboat captain.
T.S. Eliot worked for Lloyd’s Bank of London.
William Faulkner delivered mail for the University of Mississippi.
William Carlos Williams was a doctor who made house calls.
Wallace Stevens sold insurance, eventually becoming a company vice president.
Ernest Hemingway drove an ambulance in World War I.
John Steinbeck was a tour guide and caretaker at a fish hatchery.
Raymond Carver worked as a janitor and delivery man.
Paula Treick DeBoard worked as a babysitter, clothes ironer, donut maker, fry girl, switchboard operator, banquet server, typist, in-home caregiver, donut wrapper, transcriptionist, paginator, pitter, ad copy editor, public relations flack, quasi marketing expert, teacher (substitute, summer school, night school, Saturday school, English), yearbook advisor, department chair, donut eater, ticket taker, essay rater, and well… the list will no doubt continue.
Right now it’s good for me to remember that everyone starts somewhere.