Ok I have so much to say and I’m so fucking pumped from the past two days (more on the new course in a minute) and from life in general, but I’m gonna to try to keep this post to a reasonable size.
FYI, not gonna happen.
First, a mere 5 pages from Big Magic completely changed how I view jobs and is part of the reason I’m in the course I am now. (I’ll share the passage from Big Magic at the bottom of this post - or you can go read it now).
My friend, Stepanka, suggested this book which I’ve known about since the year it came out with a bang in 2015, but I never felt compelled to read it because I don’t have any problems living a creative life and I certainly don’t have fear associated to it. I have issues living outside of my creativity and merging with the outside world in a substantial way.
It took getting to page 152 to resonate with something in the book and to see why Stepanka suggested it. I needed to read those lines. 100%. Stepanka believed that if someone I admire (I mean, who doesn’t love Liz?), could view having a job in a positive light, especially as an artist, maybe I could, too.
Well it fucking worked. And those close to me can attest to how much I struggled with the idea of working for someone else at different points in my life because I associated that to my failure to succeed in my own work, and no one could convince me otherwise (except for Liz).
I’m known for getting quick and easy jobs I’m overqualified for that don’t last too long because I’ve seen almost every job as a temporary gig for quick money before I go back to doing my own thing - not as an actual source of long-term financial security.
Yet here I am in a new space in life, one in which I’m not willing to do more with Too Good Triangles until I have a kickass business partner because I’ve done all I can and am willing to do on my own, and if my business isn’t my main thing right now, then what’s next? How will I actually make consistent money while creating my passion projects that offer me inconsistent money (for now)?
Thankfully I have all the money I need for the next few months so I have the luxury of figuring that out, and surprisingly I found out about a Job Search Club (yes it’s called a club lol), and I qualified and registered on Thursday and it started Monday and it’s full-time for 3 weeks and it’s just a small group of us and my colleagues are all highly skilled and highly educated (one is a doctor from overseas, another is a biologist!) and my new friend and kindred spirit in class, Stephanie, is a corporate trainer and also a writer so we honestly can’t stop talking outside of class, and the course and the people and the facilitators (we’ve had 3 so far), are just amazing! I feel so high and inspired!
I am so happy there and I feel right at home and I’m actually SO FUCKING PUMPED about all that we’re learning because I AM SO READY for a new Mandyland chapter, but I’m mostly pumped because the woman who registered me actually asked me why I wanted to get a small low-paying job just to pay the bills in the meantime when I’ve got plenty of skills and education to actually do something I would love to do and get paid more in the meantime.
And the facilitator yesterday said the same thing when we did our one-on-one. He told me what kind of jobs were out there that would match my skills and actually make me happy and I started to think that maybe a having a grown up job for a while isn’t the end of the world if it actually added something to my life beyond a paycheck.
Even my kid asked me months ago why I don’t try and apply for jobs I’m actually qualified for, and I kept telling her I don’t want a ‘real’ job. I don’t want a job at all. And if it’s a small one that I can leave quickly, then I won’t feel like that’s my actual life or my future. I’m just playing a role temporarily. That I can do.
But my perception is shifting and although I 100% know what I want creatively and business-wise, I still need to be able to pay my bills until I reach that point (which I will), and let me tell you...
Working on my resume (which I thought I’d hate) has been the best experience ever! And we were given gorgeous colourful templates to use! Mine is so fun and pretty! And actually writing out everything I’ve done and accomplished in life and business, and every place I’ve worked (huge variety over that past 25+ years), made me see myself in a new light. I was like, WHOA. You’re a fucking boss.
And the employment counsellor today actually suggested I make 3 separate resumes - one to get work in social services (that’s my educational and work background), the other for work in bakeries (last place I’d want to be but just in case), and one for work in marketing / websites / digital content / social media etc (my idea of fun).
I mean, I can’t believe how much time I spent in my adult life feeling like a failure just because all of my amazing efforts weren’t producing the kinds of results I so admire in the people I most aspire to emulate.
But they aren’t me. I do me perfectly. I’m right on track.
And here I thought I only succeeded inwardly in life. Well today I saw that I’ve succeeded externally as well. Who knew!?!? I was so busy measuring myself against my ideal and future version of things that I neglected to see all that I’ve done along the way.
This year, especially in the last month or so, my definition of success has really shifted. For years I thought success was living completely off my own work forevermore, so if I ever needed outside work, I failed by my standards. I mean, my goal will ALWAYS be that, but it’s also okay to be on the way to that. To try things out. To change directions. To do what needs to be done in the meantime.
Now, true success to me is living authentically and creating all the things I want to create, REGARDLESS of whether or not I can ever live fully off my art financially. By that standard, I’ve always been a success and always will be a success.
That makes me feel so lovely.
So far in life I’ve made everything I’ve wanted to make, with so many more creations in waiting! And maybe I’ll never be completely self-sufficient off my creations but I’m sure I will be eventually.
All our dreams our possible.
Nothing can stop me from creating. Ever. It’s who I am and what I do and how I breathe. And if this turns into a season where I’ll need to work a job while I create more and more and more wonderful things to sell, I think I’ll be okay with that.
I never thought I’d be so excited to make 3 kickass resumes, or to start exploring my options job-wise, but at least for right now I’m so grateful to be in a great place inwardly, creatively and now real-lifely.
My resumes make me feel like a kickass boss bitch. I can’t wait to see where they’ll take me!
And without further adieu, here’s the passage from Big Magic that totally hit the spot for me:
“I never wanted to burden my writing with the responsibility of paying for my life. I knew better than to ask this of my writing, because over the years, I have watched so many other people demand that their art pay the bills. I’ve seen artists drive themselves broke and crazy because of this insistence that they are not legitimate creators unless they can exclusively live off their creativity. And when their creativity fails them (meaning: doesn’t pay the rent), they descend into resentment, anxiety or even bankruptcy. Worst of all, they often quit creating at all. I’ve always felt this was so cruel to your work to demand a regular paycheck from it, as if creativity were a government job, or a trust fund. Look, if you can manage to live comfortably off your inspiration forever, that’s fantastic. That’s everyone’s dream, right? Don’t let that dream turn into a nightmare. Financial demands can put so much pressure on the delicacies and vagaries of inspiration. You must be smart about providing for yourself. You can look after yourself in this world while looking after your creativity at the same time, just as people have done for ages. What’s more, there is a profound sense of honor to be found in looking after yourself, and that honor will resonate powerfully in your work; it will make your work stronger. Also, it may be the case that there are seasons when you can live off your art and seasons when you cannot. This need not be regarded as a crisis; it’s only natural in the flux and uncertainty of a creative life. Or maybe you took a big risk in order to follow some creative risk that didn’t quite pay off, so now you have to work for the man for a while to save up money until it’s time to go chase your next dream - that’s fine, too. Just do it. But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!”, is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”
Thanks for the reminder, Liz ❤️
“So happy for you, Mandy!” Jam Jenni
“Phenomenal you, beauty. Mandy, I’m so excited for you.” Michelle Ruthven
“You go, gurl!” Gayle Jones
“Yea to all of this, it makes so much sense. I’ve been playing with the idea lately about looking into how my skills might translate into the corporate world. I’ve literally been saying “I want someone to look at my skills and tell me what’s possible.” Sounds like you found that! Yay!” Cecilia Moorcroft
“A super powerful post!” Shawnda Lee Chambers
“I would totally hire you for social media guru of my projects, it always stresses me out.” Samantha Brackenridge Boros