Think you know everything about that dream job you’re working so hard toward? Think again. Four working professionals discuss late starts, the music business, and what it’s like to be buried under a pile of blood and innards.
Name: Ana Milicevic
Job: IT Specialist
Home: New York, N.Y.
Milicevic maintains the technological aspects for UNICEF, the children’s charity division of the United Nations, dealing with everything from website problems to in-house data processing software.
Before coming to the U.S. in June 2001, Milicevic studied computer science at the American University in Bulgaria. “It’s the best school of its kind in Europe,” she said. “It was all state of the art and the classes were taught by people who knew about the new technology. We weren’t working with 50-year-old computers. That’s what really made the difference.”
Now, the New Jersey resident, 27, looks forward to staying at UNICEF long-term and assisting with an upcoming program to educate third-world children on the existence of AIDS.
“It’s an important topic,” said Milicevic. “I feel lucky to be a part of it.”
Name: Jon Caliguri
Job: Guitarist, lead singer for Midnight Castrati
Home: Los Angeles, Calif.
When Jon Caliguri, Jon DeBaun and Brian Granillo graduated from high school in Camarillo, Calif., they went their separate ways, and the garage band that they had formed as a hobby dissolved.
Now, six years later, the band is back together, the folk-rock songs have been retooled, and the group, called Midnight Castrati, is getting gigs and gaining attention in Los Angeles.
Caliguri, a 2000 graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor’s degree in theatre, works during the school year as a substitute elementary school teacher. He’s able to support himself but still craves the satisfaction that comes from making money from his passion.
“We haven’t gotten to the point where [venues] pay us a set amount of money to come play,” said Caliguri. “If a certain number of people come, we get a percentage of the ticket sales after that. It’s hard to expect a regular cash flow from the type of shows that we’re doing.”
Name: Claire Heath
Home: Dallas, Texas
When Heath was 32, she decided to pursue a college education in the art that had possessed so many of her family members: photography. She knew she had a knack for it, and decided that formal classes at her local community college in Dallas would be the best way to go.
Today, Heath runs her own successful studio out of the home that she shares with her husband and two teenage children.
“Friends started seeing my work, and they wanted me to photograph their children,” said Heath, who had never really intended to turn her art into a business. “I was scared to [turn professional] but as it went on, I was making really nice photographs. I guess I got into the business kind of backwards.”
With a couple of years in the business under her belt, Heath has developed a stable of devoted clientele, and shoots everything from still live art shots, dance recitals, yearbook photos and family portraits.
Name: Patrick Emanuel
Home: New York City, N.Y.
For Patrick Emanuel, the decision to become a doctor was simply the next logical step in his education. In his native New Zealand, doctors enter a six-year medical training program directly out of high school.
Emanuel started working as a surgeon but eventually switched to pathology, a much more cerebral profession with a steady schedule and a lot less pressure, which pays roughly $45,000 for third-year residents like Emanuel.
“I do mostly autopsy work on AIDS patients and on patients who have died in the hospital,” said Emanuel.
That means doing organ removals and lots of time spent hovering over a microscope, trying to differentiate various organisms, viruses and bacteria. Emanuel’s job has its share of strange hazards.
“After my first ever autopsy, I had put the organs of the patient into a vat, and when I went to put it on the shelf, there wasn’t any room. So I tried to squeeze it in, but the shelf broke and all the other vats came spilling onto me. I was covered in organs.”
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