I worked with a wonderful group of people, but they were so unhappy about the management, that whenever we got together, everyone just bitched. So I
changed jobs on the day I moved into my new home. After 6 ½ years in my current job and speaking up in staff meetings and realizing that the situation probably won’t be changed, I ‘ve again applied for a different job. I know that even if I don’t get the new job, I did what I could to make my situation
better, and will try not to waste any more energy on stressing about what’s happening around me.
I was writing a book about my experiences in the business of trying to make a living with my art; and rather than being just a dry “how to” with charts and graphs, my book evolved into a combination of business information and excerpts from my journals—living my life out in public as has become my Mission. I am a compulsive writer and journaler. Coach Tessa suggested that others might want to hear about my journey, struggles, and triumphs, as well as the steps I’m taking and resources I used to try to make a living from making my art--and all the other things that go along with that.
On May 30, 2001 I quit my “real,” more than full-time job as an Occupational Therapist and Rehab Director for a busy treatment center for older adults. I had gotten burned out on health care’s regulations and limitations and wanted a dramatic change of direction. I had a little money saved and my debts were paid, so with the help and encouragement of a Personal Coach and David, my youngest brother (firstname.lastname@example.org), as well as many doll and email buddies, especially Sara Austin, who was interviewing me with very pointed questions for a book she’s writing, I took a big leap. I decided that since life is short and uncertain and I was already 54, it would be a good time for me to put all my energy into something I had been doing on the side since I was a child—the Business of Art. Those of you who were paying attention noticed I said that currently I am job hunting…Yes, the Great Adventure of being a full-time designer/writer/teacher did not generate enough cash to pay for a move across country and a life-time (thirty-year) mortgage, but I’m really, really glad that I made the effort. I have learned so much in the process, met so many wonderful people, and still keep my business going, never giving up the dream of the best-selling books, or patterns, or paintings that will redeem me from a life of 8-5…and put me back into the 24/7 obsession
of being an artist.
It is better to have tried and failed than never to have attempted to realize our dreams at all. After basic survival: food/clothing/shelter, taking care of one’s own physical needs and the family; what could be more important than discovering and pursing the work that we love? Of course there are a lot of risks associated with going full-tilt into self-employment, so the risks and rewards must be balanced. Each of us has a different tolerance for taking chances, which is also dependent on our responsibilities in life, how old we are, how much support we have from our families and friends. We only get one life (that we know of) so it’s vitally important, I believe, to avoid the regrets of never having tried.
We are often taught as women and men that everyone else’s needs should come before our own, but I know that if we don’t give at least some attention and time to our own selves, we will be unable to care for others kindly. The anger will leak out around the edges, and come back to bite us. We need to feed ourselves in order to have the strength to feed others.Here are some questions to help you look closely at exactly what it is you would like to do in your Dream Occupation. Be as honest as possible. The results are only for you. Feel free to copy the form, in order to have more space to write. Try to write without censoring what you say, Dream Big!My dream occupation: You can’t really drive toward a goal until you know where you’re going. Here’s a way to start your road map. Imagine yourself in your Dream Future. Be as specific as possible about what you would like to do, how and where you would like to do it, perhaps who you see as a model for what you would like to do. The questions below will lead you deeper in your thinking, to make your goal more concrete. Your dream may be more a way of life than a business.
My product/service/dream Way of Life is:
I sell at:
My customers are:
I win awards in:
I am best-known for:
I stand out because:
People who talk about me say:
I work (where and how long):
My typical day’s schedule is:
I have ______ employees (elaborate)
Other aspects of my dream business/life:
I’ve currently applied for a job with Washington Artist Trust, helping other mature artists catalog our life’s work. I am volunteering with League of Women Voters to work on the Affordable Care Act and helping to figure out the best way to provide health services to our county and state—this, along with continuing my OT job 4 days a week uses my health care and caring skills. For my personal Art part, I’m continuing painting portraits of 100 Hot Flash Women, and applying for grants to show them wherever I can. Writing every day. Teaching online, which is easier than traveling to give classes, looking into drawing graphic novels…my two passions of writing plus drawing…Using Doll Making, both paper and fabric, can help us focus on (1) What’s wrong, so we can fix it and (2) the path we want to take to be sure that we do as much as possible of what we LOVE in this life!