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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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What Do You Do For A Living?


I realized today that you know a lot about me.  A whole lot about me, to be truthful!  But I know very little about you.  And what’s more, for whatever reason, we never really talk about what we do all day.


So what do you do?  Do you stay at home most of the day?  Do you spend most of your day at work?  If you go to work, what is it that you do for a living?


What I Do


What I do is rapidly changing and becoming something new…


Working as a filmmaker in Los Angeles sounds glamourous to most people – I’ve met and worked with many stars, I’ve been a part of at least 50 different films and television shows.  But film work is very life-consuming. I worked 6 to 7 days a week, 16-18 hours a day! It’s too much. And talk about resources – whew – that’s another conversation, but the amount of resources my job consumed was not in line with my growing belief that we should live and tread lightly.


So I took a year off. We moved to the country. I spent my days pondering the simplest of things, the most basic elements of life: I learned to grow food, cook, bake, and make things, and to conserve our several precious resources. Matt and I thought we might stay in the country for the rest of our lives! But as many of you know, that didn’t work out for a number of reasons. At the same time, our year in the country was very useful in giving us life perspective and re-evaluate what we wanted to do next.  


When I first moved to Seattle last May, I was unemployed. I needed a new career, one that held true to my ideals more, one that would allow me to help others live sustainably. I began writing this blog, and found you all.  I truly love writing. I wish I could make a living at it!  Boy do I.  But it doesn’t seem to work that way, unfortunately, so I’ve been searching for the next best thing….


Do you remember when we had the local Bloggers Meetup in the summer? There I met Gabriel and Jill, who have since become good friends. Not long after I met him, Gabriel asked me to go into business with him.  He was starting a company by pulling together a group of people from different backgrounds, who all wanted to change the world in big ways.  Wow, huh? Talk about being at the right place at the right time!


It took a while to bring the group together, and then meet regularly while most of us still had full-time jobs.  But five months later, we are writing proposals, we are meeting all sorts of potential clients, and we are refining our world changing devices.


The company is called Re-Vision Labs, and we are working on community building, on making community building really work. That means taking the system that we’ve known for so long – the one that has led us to the environmental, agricultural, and societal destruction we currently face – and turning it on its end.  We are redefining community!


Here I am using my degree in Cultural Anthropology, experience in strategic planning for city and state community development programs, many years working with children, my design and art background (and degree), and my film experience – all for good, old-fashioned community building, from the ground up.  It goes without saying that the community building we have discussed here at One Green Generation has most definitely informed my work already.  Thank you all for that!


As it unfolds, I will keep you apprised – we’re set to launch at the end of February.


Ok, now you know about what I do.  Please – tell me what you do all day!  I would really, truly love to know.  As would others here, I’m very sure. Thank you!!


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45 comments to What Do You Do For A Living?

  • Rob

    Well you probably already know I am employed as a Maintenance Plumber by the boeing company. Before that I was a Utility Maintenance Person(general labororer) and before that I was a Janitor at Boeing. I worked in Market Reasearch for awhile, using some of my college education, but really didn’t like to work in an office. So I went back to manual labor. I was a janitor for the auburn school district for 5 years, quit that to go to college.
    I was interested in acting, but had no interest in auditioning. Now as I get toward my 50′s and retirement age I would really like to own a bookstore. Or maybe I will pursue acting as a paying job once those little pension checks start coming.

  • We both work at a J-O-B. Jason a more “normal” J-O-B with more “normal” hours. I have a less traditional J-O-B with terrible hours. There, that’s the nasty part of it.

    The rest of the day, Jason keeps very busy doing a lot of the traditional homemaker stuff. He does the majority of the cooking during the week along with making bread… which he has become quite the artist at… He is also the primary source of care for our Shibaboyz.

    Jason also spins (drop spindle), sews and really enjoys his photography. He’s the maker in the house along those lines.

    Getting home late at night, I give the Shibaboyz their last run around of the night. They truly are our joy. I am a maker in that I cook on the weekends and I am a rabid knitter. If Jason doesn’t sew it, I knit it and vice versa.

    When we have time together… we GARDEN!! WOOHOO!! We also are on the volunteer board for a couple of community organizations focused on community gardening and fundraising. Did I mention we garden?? Veggies… we definitely veggie garden… and the Shibaboyz… gardening and Shibas… That pretty much sums us up.

    *sheesh* What a windbag, huh? hehehehe…

  • I’m a computer engineer. I’m the lego man at the top of your post. I work in a carpeted box all day, then come home to my wife and three beautiful daughters and wish I had more time to spend outside in the garden!

  • Di

    I’m the office manager for a publishing field office. Single mom with one daughter at home – my son is finishing up his student teaching in another city.

    I quilt and in the summer work on my vegetable garden. I can and freeze what I grow (if it makes it, lol) and basically do all the stuff that one has to do in their house.

  • I’m pretty much a stay at home mum to my 3 boys, who are all at school now, I have a little side hobby of growing seasonal vegie seedlings in biodegradable pots that I sell at a couple of local markets. I originally did a degree in interior design, but life took me down a completely different path – namely a husband and babies! Husband has the normal job of keeping the bills paid, while I ‘housekeep’ ( very traditional and retro ,we are!) I am also the treasurer of our community garden, and do all the cooking, sewing, knitting and reading I can fit in around the garden and my gorgeous boys busy social lives. It might not sound terribly exciting, but there is plenty of time for lots of fun and I love what I do now, I think I’m very lucky to be living the good life!

  • I’m a student! Which is awesome except for the whole loan thing. Which is part of the reason I ended up in London … my year’s tuition here is 2/3 what it would have been at Georgetown, and that was with a scholarship to Georgetown!!

    So all in all I won’t end up with too much money in student loans. Of course I’ll be finishing school at a bad time job-wise, but I’m hoping I’ll still be employable.

    Other than being a student, I’m very slowly getting a freelance writing ‘career’ off the ground. I’m making about as much money from writing as I ever made from acting, which is to say, not very much at all, but hey, you got to start somewhere!!

  • I have many things that occupy my time. I have 2 wonderful boys that I stay at home with in the morning(they are both in school in the afternoon). I have a wonderful husband that is fortunate enough to be one of the tele-commuting computer hoards(how’s that for a small footprint?). My money-making job is to be the Massage Therapist in the village that we live in.
    I occupy the rest of my time cooking, and learning how to knit, sew, crochet, veggie garden, and spin(had my first lesson on Saturday).
    I’ve always said that I was born in the wrong era. I think I would have done quite well as a high-class woman of the 1800′s. For now I will have to settle as the “New-Age Hippie Freak” that my friends and family love.

  • I am church music director, which is a flextime sort of job. I also am still working as a school crossing guard at the grade school down the street every morning, which I started doing while my children (now grown) attended there. I am able to spend a fair amount of time at home, gardening, reading, etc. When my children were at home, I was a traditional mom and homemaker, despite my degree in music. It just seemed to work better for us that way.

  • Well, I’m just about to go off to my day job so this will be short. I’ve been a therapist at our local rural community mental health center for the past 20 years. 20 years?!!! My girls were raised in this small town and Jerry and I have been able to do “homesteading” on the side. In fact, he’s just told me that one of our ewes gave birth to triplets this morning so I better get out there. I hope we don’t have a bottle baby on our hands:)

  • I’m a childcare teacher/supervisor. I work mostly with one year old children, but I”m also in charge of the Infant/Toddler program at my center. I love, love, love my job most days. It’s not what I went to college for (that would be elementary ed), rather what I did for work when I was in college, but I’m happy that it’s where I’ve ended up. One aspect I love about what I do is the community piece of it.

    My day is pretty much spent at work or getting to work on the bus or by walking. I use my bus time to knit.

    Congratulations on where your work plans are going Melinda. It sounds very exciting!

  • Like Darren I work “with computers” I’m the IT director for a religious non-profit. I have a wife who is a teacher and two beautiful (soon to be officially) adopted children.

  • I work 35-40 hours/week as a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) at a small animal clinic. I usually explain my position as the equivalent of an RN for animals. I have an associate degree and had to pass a state and national licensing exam. My husband has an associate degree in agriculture and he works 40+ hours/week driving a road grader at the local Road Commision.

    Outside of our paying jobs we farm around 150 acres. My husband manages the cash crops while I focus on the livestock, and of course we help each other as needed. We both dream of being able to farm full-time someday and I am determined to be able to stay home when we have children, hopefully not for a few years. From talking with other farmers in our area it seems that the only way to farm full-time is to carry huge lines of credit which is something I despise. I hope we can work together to find a better way.

    In our “free time” we are still fixing up the farm, the yard, and the house. We are always building something, tearing something down, or repairing something. I bake, knit, read, and garden. He fixes tractors, maintains our vehicles, reads, and helps our neighbors quite a bit.

  • I am a career Naval Officer and while I like my job and sometimes love it, for most of my career the work week involves being on a floating metal box for months away from home and working 20 hour days…7 days a week.

    This tour, I’m the OIC of a little command that does very good work. And I have a garden..:)

  • I have some friends that make films for a living. At the moment, they can only get a gig doing commercials and every once in a while documentaries when they look hard for funding. Hopefully your new venture works out.

    I sell beer for a living. I travel across an entire county slinging a certain brand. No matter how the economy goes, my job is secure.

  • Thomas Jefferson

    Another “ex-filmy” here. I did the L.A. tango many years ago. Got burnt out by having no life, no relationship and little time to myself. I basically lived on the set. Moved to Austin, got a 9 to 5′er real life job, found a wonderful lady, bought a house and am in the process of turning it to a garden/wildlife perserve in the middle of the suburbs. :)
    I have a small blog regarding the backyard and front yard make over.
    my motto is, “no mowing, just growing!” Yes, you may steal/use that. LOL

    (I still make small films on the side, still in my blood)

    Cheers.

  • I’m an Aussie living in London with my fiance and our two cats. Mark works for a major football (soccer) club in the sponsorship team.

    I’ve had a rag bag career and have never really settled at anything. We’ve just decided to use a bit of our wedding fund to let me write and work on my websites for a couple of months, which is sooooo exciting.

    I’ve wanted to have my own business since I was 9, and my mum bought me a typewriter for my birthday.

    I live in a small flat with a dark concrete garden, but I’m growing lettuce and dreaming of when we can move to Australia or somewhere warm in the States and live in an eco village.

  • I’m a sahm of 5 kids. I take care of the kidlets, including homeschooling them. I garden 12 months a year, if only in my head during the soggy winter months. I take care of the farm critters including chasing the camel out of the tomatoes. I bake bread almost daily because I’m obssesed with good bread. I do laundry from sun up to sun down. I am a wife to my best friend of 25 years. I kiss owies, wipe noses, change diapers, sing lullabies, and give hugs. I teach the little ones at church as well as run a mother’s group from my home. I give garden tours to school children in hopes they will know where their food comes from. I can and dehydrate everything. I sell organic eggs. I also sell little girls clothing on etsy, just enough to support my out of control fabric habit.

    I also pray and vote…and absolutely with complete abandon love my life!

    LOL….sorry you asked? Kim

  • I am a stay-at-home mom, volunteer, and activist. In addition to taking care of my boys (3 and 1) I volunteer for the Young Women’s Leadership Council of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project, my local Relay for Life (cancer advocacy, research, and support), and our little civic theater.

    That sounds like a great opportunity and a truly fulfilling job. Best of luck!

  • I do historic costuming, and am lucky enough to work from home. We built a studio on our property last year, so I’m no longer taking up space in the house. Being home all day also means I garden, bake bread, watch the chickens, and do other things around the house.

    Holly is between “real” jobs at the moment, but is Market Manager for the new farmers’ market where we live, and is on the board of several local community groups. Now we just need to find a way for her to stay involved and close to home, and still get paid.

  • Sally

    I’m a vegan gluten free baker!
    After 8 soul sucking years working for the USDA (dept of agri-business) as an agricultural customs officer I’m finally quitting in two weeks! Then I’m going to chef school to figure out how to make a living doing what I love! My dream is to cook at an elementary school that serves real food from its own garden and works with local farmers.
    Good Luck with your new endeavors Melinda!

  • My husband and I both work from home and are co-founding a green living website that includes an international marketplace of carbon offset retailers. In our ‘off time’ we attempt not to kill each other and keep our homelife as normal as possible for our 3 children. Easier said than done when you live and work in the same space as your spouse.

    The site is behind schedule (of course) but we are hoping to launch at the end of the month as well. You can take a sneak-peek at http://www.kuzuka.com.

    Best of luck with Re-Vision Labs!!!

  • deb

    Full time wife and mom, part time library clerk, master gardener volunteer, home gardener, quilter, baker, cook, daughter, sister, friend, and blogger. Somehow this list seems shorter than the amount of time it takes to get it all done.

  • What a great question! I’ve always wondered who all these people are at this blog. I’m a student majoring in German Studies and no idea what I’m going to do with that yet. I love learning and I love the language and for me right now that’s all. I also read a lot and take a lot of walks. Other than that, who knows? I could use a means of earning income though. Time to learn to work with people and Do Something.

  • I’m an archivist in a university library. At present I’m the techie that does most of this: Local and Regional Documents Archive as well as running a work study crew that maintains the Government Documents stacks. Before that I converted a set of card-based indexes into online ones: Oregon Newspapers Index. And before that’s I was one of Shakespeare’s editors (among others): Renascence Editions.

    Hey, it’s a living!

    My partner-in-life, who is much more interesting, works p/t in a city library and does gigs as a singer/storyteller/puppeteer. Now that’s combining your avocation and your vocation…

  • What a good idea! I was wondering what people do in the real world.
    I’m a high school science teacher and have been for 6 years. I started in Biology, but now I teach Environmental Science and Botany. I run the greenhouse at my school, and I’m constantly dirty! I spent this afternoon setting up a lab for tomorrow that my students will use to test the toxicity of road salt on the freshwater crustacean Daphnia. I believe in place-based, experiential learning, focused on reading, writing, inquiry, and field work. I’m getting a second MS in Environmental Education, so I’m a part-time student. In the spring, summer and fall, I work part-time at my family’s farm, where I bake pies, wait on customers, stock produce, make ice creams, and anything else that needs to be done.

    My husband Ed is a stairbuilder. He works for wealthy folks in CT and NY building hand-carved spiral and elliptical stair railings. I’m very impressed because he’s so artistic, and I am so not artistic. He also works with his brother in an aquaculture business, raising clams and oysters, so he’s out on the ocean a lot of the time that I’m at the farm. He also likes to build early American-style furniture, and has built most of our furniture.

    During our spare time, we spend a lot of time at home or with our families. We built our house a couple years ago and are still working on it, right now working on the pantry cabinets. We’re very much home bodies except for visiting and helping our families. We spent Sunday at Ed’s parents’ house, tapping trees for maple syrup and splitting wood, for example.

  • Wonderful hearing about your history(:
    I’m a Photographer here in Washington State. I get to meet amazing people and attempt to capture who they are in an image. I just finished working with Vegan Lunchbox Author Jennifer McCann on her new cookbook. It’s going to be amazing(:

    Although I don’t live in Seattle, I would love to help out with your group in some way.

    Cheers!

    Michelle

  • Currently, I’m a kept woman. My husband is a facilities engineer at a Lake Tahoe casino. I work on-call as a tourism guide, but the economy has my calls down to practically nothing for the past year. I put myself through school working as a waitress, and have a B.S. in Human Ecology. I worked for 5 years as an Office Manager and Human Resources Generalist, and lost my job when the company changed hands. I’ve worked a few temp jobs, but haven’t found anything permanent.

    Luckily, when I was working full-time I made a house payment every month in addition to the one Aries made. Part of his payments took care of the interest and insurance; all of my payments went towards the principle. Having the house paid off allows me the luxury to stay home without financial stress, so I play in the garden, take care of our home, and volunteer in my community.

  • SusanB

    I’m a plaintiff’s employment and civil rights attorney. I like fighting the good fight. And I like film — my goal my freshman year of college was to see a movie every night (preVHS).
    In previous periods, I have been a student of theoretical math and history of science, a seasonal food processing plant worker, a chemical technician, a corporate attorney involved in nuclear licensing, a state employee involved in utility regulation, an academic involved in energy efficiency and environmental impact, and a unpublished writer of science fiction. When I was in college, I covered my meals by cooking for people.
    In my “free” time, now I consume DVDs, garden, cook, play music with my partner, and wish I had time to paint.

  • In my day job I am an Occupational Therapist working at a University hospital. I am the primary therapist for our medical/psychiatry unit so life at work is NEVER dull. My hubby is currently unemployed. He was working for a local publishing firm and was ‘downsized’ at the end of the year. He has been able to pick up a few freelance editing projects but otherwise his job prospects aren’t good right now. That’s one of the reasons we are ramping up garden production this year- we have no idea when he will be able to find work so aim to be as self sufficient as possible.
    In my spare time (Ha Ha!) I tend the garden (when it’s not snow covered) keep house, quilt, struggle to learn to knit, and help parent our three children (8, 11 and 14).

  • I’m mostly a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, but I also do the office-y kind of stuff for the welding and fabrication company that my husband and I own.

  • Katie

    I work in the electricity industry in California. Like you, this is not where I want to be from an environmental and life perspective. I kind of just fell into it during college.

    I am working at becoming a professional (ie. paid) photographer, but until I can pay the bills on the art alone, I work in the gross polluting electricity business.

    Soon enough!

  • Kath

    How very interesting to see what all these frugal types do in the real world! I’m in the Australian mining industry and have worked as a Mining / Geotechnical Engineer for the last 10 years, though if my financial situation allowed I would quit tomorrow to do what I dream of doing – become a mum, pursue self sufficiency and volunteer my time to worthy causes!

  • I forgot to mention I was also a CNA – Certified Nursing Assistant for awhile during my college- I worked in a nursing home. very Depressing. I was also hired by my family to give care to my grandpa before he died. Also very depressing. And a rotten way to make a living.

  • becky

    i am a former elem ed teacher. i took a leave 2 years ago to backpack thru eastern europe for a month with my youngest daughter on her way to denmark for a semester abroad. this fun trip was followed by helping my 85 year old mom go thru hip replacement surgery. (she was awesome btw, totally amazing all the health professionals who worked with her). her recovery was much shorter than anyone expected leaving me free for the remaining 6 months of that year to seriously green our lifestyle. when decision time came, my husband (a high school teacher) and i didn’t want to end our saner lifestyle, so i resigned. that fall my husband developed guillain barre syndrome. he too has made great progress forward. we are both grateful that i was free to help him thru this health issue. i’m hoping to find a part-time job soon. meanwhile, i’m greatly enjoying this gift of time to spend with family and friends (furry and fur-less), bake, cook, garden and read.

  • I’m currently a school bus driver. I was an accountant at UNH for a few years but the birth of a 3rd child put me over the top for daycare expenses and I actually bring home more diving a bus with no daycare than I did with 2 kids in daycare at UNH. I’ll be doing this for a few more years I think. Lately the time between runs has been filled with covering other drivers runs as we’re down 3 out of 7 since Christmas. But I expect that will have resolved itself by spring thaw so I can get my market garden going. I am trying to get a spot in the local farmer’s market but as I currently only have wool products to sell (I have sheep) I am unable to get a spot for the winter markets. I’m hoping to have veggies to sell by may (I live in NH – we still have snow in April most years) – we’ll see how it goes. If all goes well, perhaps I’ll continue this routine even after the little one starts school.

  • I’m an architect with a specialty in hospital planning and design. I work normal hours when work is slow, and insane hours when work is busy. Lately things have been busy, and I’ve been allowing work to dictate the rest of my life (including my physical location). I hope there will soon be a time when I can change that around – if it doesn’t come around on its own, I’ll have to push back on “the powers that be” in the office before long.

    When I’m not working, I spend time with my husband (he’s in IT and works remarkably regular hours) and my dog (full-time spaz). I love to garden when I have the chance, so it’s lucky for me that the recent very busy spell I had at work happened during the winter.

    Oh, and if any other readers didn’t already know, I’m Melinda’s younger sister…

  • I am totally fascinated – wow, what an interesting group we all are! Please, continue!!

  • debra

    during the day i’m a homeschooling mom to the 3 fine members of “my staff.” once the sun goes down i head out the door to what the world considers my “real” job as a hospice nurse.

  • Meg

    I am a writer, web editor and blog teacher.

  • I work in Health Research. I spend my days reading academic journals, writing reports, running analysis (usually resulting in me cursing at my computer as I need a new one) and a multitude of other small tasks involved with research. I enjoy my job very much as it’s always something I’ve wanted to do. I have a background in Sociology and my best grades were in Statistics. In fact, my eyes light up when people starting talking stats or SPSS (a computer program)…I know, I am geeky.

    In my spare time I write, I’ve stopped the blogging to go back to journaling. I’m keeping a running tally of the events of 2009, both at the local, national and international level. Despite being rather dire I’ve found the task rather interesting.

    I also write poetry, knit and volunteer for a variety of community activities.

    I find reading blogs and comment sections for the local newspaper very fascinating and often think that if I were to redo university I would go for Anthropology or Cultural Anthropology.

  • I’m on the biology faculty at a small university. My specialty is plant ecology, and I do research on tallgrass prairie restoration, among other things. My days are spent teaching, supervising graduate students, writing, reviewing papers, and in the warm months, doing field work.

    I absolutely love both plants and animals, and am happiest when I am outside. Gardening is entirely fun to me…I can’t get enough of it. I also grow native plants in our yard, with the goal of maximizing the number of species (both plant and animal) using our yard.

  • I teach 7th and 8th grade science. It really is fun, usually people look at me with horror when I tell them what I do..and yes there are some horrible days. Lab equipment and hormones don’t always mix well but they are usually quite hilarious! I taught high school science for two years and didn’t really like it…….the motivated kids were great, but the unmotivated kids, well it was hard for me. For some reason unmotivated kids in junior high seem less difficult, I have no idea why?
    the best job I ever had was working for an outdoor environmental ed. school outside of Portland, OR. I LOVED everything about it. I got to be outside all day, teaching science. The only problem: it paid horribly, and you had to live there during the week…..it tends to get old…I still think about that job often!

  • [...] if you haven’t yet, check out all the amazing things we do, and please let us know what you [...]

  • Hmmm… what DO I do?

    The job that takes the most importance in my mind is being wife to my husband and Mom to my three kids (nearly 12, 15, and 16). We live on half an acre within a stone’s throw of Portland, OR and are big time into organic gardening. We’ve got a lot of health and environmental allergies and sensitivities in our family – so we avoid chemicals – in food and life in general – a LOT. We have 15 crazy backyard chickens, 2 cats (one has his own blog! – http://www.calebthefatcat.blogspot.com), and one Australian Shepherd – who is a wonder chicken dog!

    I also work as the Patient Support Coordinator for the bariatric surgeon I had weight loss surgery with nearly 7 years ago. That means I’m available 24/7 to patients. I field a lot of questions via email, phone, and some in person. I lead several support groups. And I travel internationally a LOT – typically three trips to Spain a year.

    I’ve recently been part of an effort to teach people in our community how to knit – we had 35 people show up this week to a class, and we’re all knitting hats for a ministry that works with the homeless.

    I knit, crochet, cook, bake, preserve, and just generally have a lot of fun living my amazing life.

  • [...] In 2008, I put my heart and soul into a business I truly believed in.  (Here you can read about how this blog directly instigated that.) [...]

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