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So there I was, sitting in a room, being interviewed for a job – for the first time in more than 35 years.

The man interviewing me probably hadn’t been born when I had my last job interview.

 

 So why was I there?

I’m stubborn.  I’m also incredibly fortunate that my wife has a well-paid job and is able to work from home.  I haven’t worked since March.  She hasn’t stopped working since March! Thank goodness. She’s been paying the bills, and I’ve been doing the home-schooling and other family chores, as well as trying to keep my business afloat.

Obviously, with my lack of income, we’ve needed to tighten the reins on our spending.  And in September our daughter will be going back to school. But unless something miraculous happens, Magic Peter won’t be going back to work as a children’s entertainer – at least not on a basis regular enough to pay the bills.

Let’s go back nearly six years

Since I got back into entertainment nearly six years ago, one of the questions that comes up again and again is: “So what’s your real job?”

In the early days my answer was, “I’m a freelance copy editor.”

Sadly, over recent years, much of that industry has been off-shored, and a significant amount of  copy-editing work is done out in India or the Far East now.  Fortunately for me, as that work dwindled, Magic Peter’s business really took off, and so for the past three years, when people asked me, “What’s your real job?” my answer was “This one. I’m a children’s entertainer.”

I had only one job, and it was making children and families laugh and smile.

And it really was the best job in the world.  I looked forward to going to work every single day.

And then along came Covid. 

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And all the fun stopped

I’m very fortunate.  Many of my colleagues in this business are either the sole or the major bread-winner in their households, and they’ve needed to find new ways of paying the bills at the same time as home-schooling their children and trying to keep their businesses afloat.  I really do tip my hat to them; they’ve done some amazing things in the most challenging circumstances.

So, with my daughter back at school in September and the bills still arriving each month, there I was being interviewed about a job.

For the first time in 35 years.

But don’t think for one minute that this is the end of Magic Peter.  Far from it.  The job is working evening shifts so that I can fit my bookings around it as the entertainment business struggles back to its feet. It’s not a job I ever considered before, but then I never considered that the entertainment industry would shut down – full stop – as it did this year.  But it’s a job that will help my wife pay the bills and allow Magic Peter to begin on the long road of rebuilding his business.

And if I’m not offered this particular job, there are plenty of other similar jobs I have applied for and can apply for. But I wonder …

If I’m lucky enough to be offered this job …

When I’m out delivering groceries to people’s homes …

I wonder if anyone will ask me: “So what’s your real job?”

“I’m a children’s entertainer.”

And I always will be.

I hope I see you soon at one of my shows – or on your doorstep!