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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Goth jobs

Strictly speaking, a Goth can have any job that they like. I read somewhere recently that you never see Goth dentists, teachers or bus drivers - but actually, Goths hold down all of the above jobs and more. However, for some jobs it may be necessary to remove piercings, hide tattoos and dye hair a more natural colour than screaming scarlet.

Lacrimosa
Source: Deathwaves
There are some jobs which allow for more, uh, creativity with regards to appearance, and of course there are Goths who hold these sorts of jobs too. Because these Goths tend to be able to be more visually flamboyant, they are noticed more and these lines of work become, in the public's mind, stereotypically Goth jobs.

Yes, there are Goth lawyers, Goth policemen and Goth paramedics, but because they are not obvious and visible, they are overlooked by the public and it is assumed that Goths are all sales assistants in Hot Topic.

Or, of course, one of the following:

Body piercer or tattooist - if you love body mods and are skilled at drawing, this could be your niche; helping others discover the living artwork that they could become. For a fee, of course. On the other hand, I have never figured out why non-Goths assume that alternative-looking people must spend their time 'recruiting' others - has anyone else noticed this? I am not allowed near my young cousins in case I paint their nails black, and one friend's parents are convinced that my life's purpose is to empty a bottle of black dye over her lovely blonde hair. I often wonder if the assumption that anyone with a lot of body mods must modify others for a living is a sort of extension of this utterly daft stereotype.

Singer or musician - if you're a black-clad guy with long hair, chances are that people assume you're in a band. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if they stopped assuming you dropped out of education or work to get there and spend your spare time creating an unholy racket in your parents' basement or garage. There are, indeed, plenty of Goths with musical inclinations - for example our own Lily Peppermint, a classically-trained cellist (amongst other instruments), who is a world apart from the stereotype of unwashed, baggy-jeans-clad teens chanting 'HAIL SATAN' over the sound of a pounding guitar.

Model - all right, yes, a large percentage of Goths, especially the girls, have at some point tried their hand at alternative modelling, and I would suppose that almost all of us have photos of us languishing beside a gravestone hidden in a folder somewhere on our computers. But just because a girl is Goth does not mean she's a Goth model. If she happens to be a Goth model, that does not automatically mean that she will do partially-clad photoshoots. And even if she is a model who is happy and comfortable posing naked, that does not mean she is a Suicide Girl. Not every tattooed, pierced or Goth model is a Suicide Girl!

Film extra - when the movie world needs a bunch of seedy, unsettling or possibly vampiric club denizens, they generally look for Goths, punks, and other multi-pierced people to wander about or dance sexily in the background. Whilst in some cases this could be an example of obvious and slightly offensive stereotyping, I can't get overly irritated about it as you get to be in a film, however briefly, and you might even get paid for it. This could be one situation where stereotyping works in our favour.

Writer or poet - this is another stereotype rooted in truth; yes, many dreamy and creative members of the Goth scene do enjoy writing stories or poetry, but few of us do it by candlelight whilst weeping alone in a darkened room. And whilst Bad Goth Poetry is sadly a fact of life in dark culture, if you happen to have a talent for expressing yourself with words, you really could be the next Poppy Z. Brite or Storm Constantine.

Artist or photographer - as cheesy as artsy black and white shots of cemeteries in the rain are, at the end of the day there is a market. Yes, I for one would buy a big book of pretty cemetery snaps as a coffee table book. Many Goths are artistic by nature, though, which means that the world of Goth art is far from limited to bleak scenes in greyscale.

DJ - there's no shortage of Goth DJs, and no shortage of stereotypes about them either. For example, they are all elitist, pretentious twats who wear sunglasses indoors, and, OK, I did meet one DJ in Southampton who fitted this stereotype like a hand in a glove. However, I have also met some Goth club DJs who are the antithesis of this image. Thankfully.

Haunted tour guide - every quaint old town seems to have a haunted tour, and it certainly adds atmosphere if the tour guide wears a sweeping velvet cloak and skull-topped cane. Actually in York I didn't spot a single haunted tour guide who wasn't a Goth...

34 comments:

Die Puppe said...

I'm a nurse :)

~ Lady Anhedonia

Leena said...

I am a painter. Yeah I paint art but I am also house painter or what you can name it.. xD

linnea-maria said...

I'm a technical engineer.

GothPocket said...

I plan to be a teacher. History teaching! But I also want to act. And I've be writting since I was a kid so I'm totally gonna be a writer. And I'm gonna try to modelling in Febuary.

Under_The_Stairs said...

I...have no clue what I'm gonna be when I grow up.LOL.

Cassandra said...

I think you should add academic scientist to this list. Unless they're specifically supposed to be impressing someone, no one cares how they dress. In fact, I'm pretty sure one of my genetics professors was a goth.

Nightwind said...

I've grown quite solitary over the past few years and it helps that I'm a writer. I used to free-lance and it helped pay the bills until it recently dried up. Mostly though, I write short Gothic fiction and it satisfies my creative needs.

I've always had a problem with the need of the many to force conformity. Why is it that most people, although enjoying the fruits of creative people's efforts, such as art, music and literature, find it necessary to enforce their otherwise bland standards upon the artists? This truly baffles me and I can only conclude that it is borne of insecurity.

akumaxkami said...

I'm a university student/seamstress/writer.

Before that, I worked a night shift labor job. ^_^

InfiltratorN7 said...

Goth lecturer here. *raises hand* ...and before that a teaching assistant. No goth teachers? My sister has had several goth teachers over the years. I've had friends who've had goth lecturers and teachers too. Then of course there's Paul Hodkinson, a goth who's a lecturer of sociology and published a book on the goth subculture.

There was a news article which was posted several years ago which pointed out that goths tend to be well educated and could appear in all manner of jobs like doctor, teacher, lawyer. I'm glad not everyone falls for the stereotype that we're all drop-outs.

S.Raven said...

I'm a high-level security professional and a volunteer firefighter. I'm currently studying to be a computer repair technician, as well. There are far more goths in the professional ranks than the mainstream is aware of due to the fact that most us don't dress in our club gear when we report for work, therefore it tends to make goth spotting more difficult in the work place.

Tante Fledermaus said...

I'm a teacher, kindergarten through eighth grade. Outdoor science. I'm a tan goth. We're pretty rare.

I plan on wearing a shirt that says "TEACHER" to Bats Day at Disneyland this year, because of a few things I overheard last year. I think EVERYONE attending Bats Day should wear a shirt with their occupation on it. I think it'd be an eye-opening experience for the rest of the world.

The Black Rabbit said...

I'm a college student currently, but I plan on being a hospital pathologist (which may or may not be veering into cliche territory, I'm not sure). I'm also trying to be a writer, which would go a lot better if I could just focus enough to finish a story.

Bane said...

I think computer pro could be considered a stereotypical goth job in the States, at least on the west coast. From what I've read, companies like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft are havens for alternative types, with open-minded policies and no dress codes.

I'm the executive assistant for a CEO. My future goal is to be self-employed as a professional organizer.

Steff Metal said...

I'm a writer, and a very openly alternative one, at that (http://grymmandepic.com) I also have a "day" job, working at a non-profit making braille books for blind people (I'm blind myself). There's a very casual dress code and it's a very welcoming office - people are always asking me about my clothes and lifestyle.

The guy that took me for a York ghost tour was a retired Shakespearean actor. I don't think he was goth, but he was definitely hilariously morbid :)

Tenebris In Lux said...

Interesting article yet again Amy. Goths tend to be creative types indeed, usually with higher IQs. I believe any Goth of any race, gender, orientation, and/or religion can apply themselves to whatever job or education they wish. That's the beautiful thing about it.

The not-so-beautiful thing, however, is the discrimination. I sometimes feel like I have to be in advanced classes for people to take me seriously. I hold a lot: I'm a female, I look "weird," and the music I like sometimes challenges a person's ideal of a "good student." I know some teachers have doubted me, sadly.

Saphire Rainforest said...

I model for fun, I draw, watercolor paint, knit, sew, and open to learning many other creative things too. I'm also a college student studying fashion design. I think I was born to be an artist and inspire people.

Anonymous said...

An assumption that really bothers me is not so much the assumption that all goths are into artsy stuff (because this has some basis in truth) but the idea that if you're a Goth and you write or do poetry or art or photography, you *must* do GOTHIC art, GOTH poetry, or, if you're a musician and a goth, your music must be distinctly goth (or else YOU'RE probably not ):/. Annoying.

p.s. I am a writer and poet. lol, and my work would not fit in the 'goth novel/poetry' genre, so it's a personal pet peeve.

BellaDonna said...

I'm currently a financial aid analyst for a university, while looking for a job in a museum now that I have my Master's in anthropology. While I wouldn't want to go "completely" goth at work (at least not where I am now), I usually wear more or less subdued goth outfits, and have twice worn my Anarchy boots, getting compliments both times. :-) I think maybe when people already know you, it's easier to introduce them to your goth side.

kakuidori said...

i'm also geriatric nurse, am allowed to show all piercings, tattoos, nearly no rules for my makeup and well... clothes rule is: 'not ALL black' :-)

Ghoulina Bones said...

I think you could also add Taxidermist to that list.
And museum work.
Personally i'm an artist, and a student.
But i've been doing my damnedest to get an internship with a taxidermist.
I used to want to be a pathologist for years, like someone mentioned above.
Until I found out about all the schooling, and that you'd have to be a certified officer, and you'd be appearing in court rather regularly.
All of that was a turn off for me, a huge one.
I just wanted to be around dead people and learn about them.
I'm lucky though because i've found ways to incorporate that love into my art.
:)
I also think religious teaching, from a philosophical or sociology standpoint is a common interest for many Goths.

Mr Robert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Silver Snow said...

Being a haunted tour guide sounds so fun! I would absolutely love it! Or an artist or author. I love to draw and paint and I'm always writing a lot... :) But one day, I will definitely be a haunted tour guide, just so I can say I was. ;D

Xanthy said...

My brother studies Digital Arts and Entertainment (that's fancy for "making videogames") and at least one of his professors is a cybergoth.

Also, definitely the DJ thing. I know a few of them myself and they're all the opposite of that description ^^

SkeleDuck said...

I'm a domiciliary carer. =D
I don't know if my bosses have worked out that I'm goth-like yet.

Which is nice, really; the lip-spike, PVC jacket & chiffon dress doesn't affect their judgement of me, I hereby interpret.

Eurofighter said...

I'm a journalist specializing in international affairs and IT topics. :D

I used to work on TV and most people were just curious about my gothiness and even encouraged it by saying they like my look.

By the way the video editor who worked with me was also goth, and we really enjoyed working together - doing everything in time and in a way that satisfied our directors. :)

I'm an ethergoth/lolita/romantic goth, so didn't even see any obstacles for becoming a news anchor. nevertheless some girls suspected that the female boss won't hire me for a full-time job (I was kinda intern in the international department on one of the biggest channels in Ukraine)unless I give up being too goth. But the reason turned out to be far from my looks - everything is corrupt here and they already had another person in mind even though even the editors were sure I already worked there. :(

My current position of a freelance IT journalist for several companies gives space for creativity with outfits and I can even say it helps me to get on with people and gain new contacts.

My friend Mokona and I attended the Casual Connect gaming business conference as lolitas and gained lots of useful and interesting contacts just because we looked interesting. :))

Angel13 said...

I'm a cleaner and student(hopefully)in Animal Studies.

Nightwind said...

I don't ordinarily like to post more than once, but this topic has really gotten me thinking; especially about the giving of haunted tours.

Until earlier this year, I used to take care of an historic Civil War cemetery where I live. Although I no longer do the lawn care at this burial ground I still live on the property and still work in a smaller, but no less historic cemetery that lies on the other side of my driveway.

Lots of people visit here during the year and I occasionally get to give them sort of a tour complete with the local history and stories of the original settlers. Interestingly enough, there is a local legend of Ghost Hallow, right on this hill. A young newlywed's dress apparently caught fire back around the year 1850. She ran outside in a panic and burned to death. They say that you can still hear her screaming some nights--if you're in the hallow.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I have sort of fallen into that haunted tour niche. The only thing is, it's not a job. I just do it because people ask and I like talking about it.

Loreia Lunatic said...

I'm a boring office worker. I can wear black as much as I want for work, but of course I'm not going there in short PVC skirts, corsets and suchlike.

Caroline Carnivorous said...

I'm only 17, but I go to high school with hairdressing as major, but I really want to be a make-up artist. I already do the make-up for my boyfriend's band, and have just started as the make-up artist for a photographer. I've also done a few shoots, and quite enjoy it!

Maggie said...

I'm one of those people who have to remove piercings, cover tattoos and not go OTT with eyeliner - I work as a corporate receptionist. Still, despite the uniform and the requirements regarding my appearance, many people (who have never seen me off duty) told me that they "knew I was a bit of a goth". Oh well.
I'm planning to start my own business this year and if it does work out, I'd still be facing customers, but with no formal grooming regulations, I'd be free to wear my piercings and colour my hair the way I want to (not that I want to colour it anything else than black, mind you ;)).

Anonymous said...

I worked as a mail sorter up until last week and I'm a forensic science student. In fact, if my lecturers and the lab techs at my uni are anything to go by, then science is a really accepting area for those who are a bit on the eccentric side.

I also know a very surprising amount of goth computer programmers and IT technicians.

Goth Mary Poppins said...

Well, maybe it's obvious by my name: I'll be a teacher, but a special education teacher.

I'm also planning to study a therapy, wich helps to reduce stress through practicing fine arts.

I'd add sciences, or "working in a lab" stereotype, too.

Mysteria Violent said...

I think a goth can have ANY kind of job, because almost everywhere there exists a dresscode and every employer should follow it. Talking about policemen, nurses etc. you will never know that it's a goth because of a uniform.
I work as a photographer and I'm searching for one more job. I know for sure that I'll have to take off all my piercing because in Russia where I live people tend to think that goths are terrible, they eat children and so on...You are judged be your appearence not by your knowledge.

Vulcan_Butterfly said...

The comments for this post are very interesting. What an interesting variety of occupations people have. I happen to be a pharmacist and thus I am in the closet in the daytime. I used to work in a lab and I could wear whatever I wanted. Those were the days.....

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