Be Cool to the Camera Guy, Part Two
I cribbed the title from a worthwhile essay in a similar vein, so credit there where due.
Every day of the Camera Guy’s job is like a new teacher’s first day of school set at a high speed. He meets between 120 and 350 students every day. Unlike a new teacher, he must within two minutes establish a rapport with student, along the way convincing each to stop squirming, to refrain from giggling, to look at the camera and to crack a smile. Half of your student body does their darndest to avoid smiling, and not just because they have braces.
Depending on how far away from a big city your school is, he probably had to wake up before you did. He arrives with the janitors or, if he’s late, the head secretary.
Your gymnasium, multipurpose room and that place where they keep the wrestling mats are rarely pleasant. On any picture day earlier than October, they double as noisy, crowded saunas. Even the library’s air conditioning is little comfort when the exterior doors are open.
The exterior doors are always open; the sun always blazes.
Like teachers, he’ll work long hours, ending the day with physical fatigue and emotional exhaustion, but teachers can avoid most heavy lifting. Camera Guy can’t. Exacerbating matters, it’s against the rules for him to sit down while on company time. He might cheat this rule. He might not.
Though the bell rings in the early afternoon, the lucky Camera Guys leave at about the same time as a lingering teacher. He will get home later than most teachers, much later in case he needs to drop off equipment at the office, or fill out his timesheets, his mileage forms and his TPS reports.
Three years of this earns him a company ring. Most Camera Guys don’t last that long.
As seasonal work paid through wages and timesheets, there’s no chance in hell Camera Guy can feel self-righteous or spiritually fullfilled about school photography the way some feel about their work. In short, his job isn’t any easier and, in the short run, is much less rewarding than yours.