Art is art.
Some artists paint, some sculpt, some draw, some use a camera, some use a computer. Artists always have been, and will continue to be, 'starving.' I'm not trying to be negative, I'm being realistic. Some make it 'big', that's awesome, but many don't. We're sort of a 'dime-a-dozen' crew and with technology, we're not exactly 'needed' the way we once were. I love graphic design. I went to grad school to learn more and to put myself in the next category, from the millions of designers with undergrad degrees to the thousands of designers with graduate degrees. Anyone can have a great portfolio. Anyone can go to school. Anyone can learn the trade. Not anyone can get a job. It's about networking, being in one place and starting at the very bottom and sticking around long enough to work your way up. For me, it hasn't mattered how 'good' I was or what my work revealed, it was about how long I stayed with the company to move internally to a higher position. I'm not saying it was right or even fair, it just is this way a lot of times. Some people start their own businesses, and then we see these small design firms littering the streets and they're all offering the same services. Some people are blessed and find a great position right away. Some people have a freelance clientele to pay all their bills. The fact that we move all the time with no end in sight has allowed me to finally realize it's ok to stop the madness. I don't need to sell myself anymore and try so very hard to prove I can do a great job before I even am considered for an interview. I don't need to work 40 hours a week on my own time beyond my 40 hour 'day job' to finish projects and do jobs for people that I'll never get paid for. It's ok to just say 'no' and I've come to grips with that. I've been saying 'yes' for over 10 years and it's just not working anymore. I'm not bitter about this, I'm just realizing there are more important things out there for me. So, I'm officially switching careers. I'll be working in document controls for Bechtel beginning May 3rd.
Sometimes things just don't work out the way we thought or dreamed, and that's ok. Sometimes God has other plans for us and even if we don't know why, we can still trust that His plans are better than our own plans.
I'm at peace with it. I don't love the idea. I don't hate the idea. I'm not doing it for the money, although, it is very helpful and way better than anything I could have made as a designer. Only time will tell where it might take me and I'm willing to at least try it. It is what it is for today, and I'm ok with that. I don't believe in forcing doors open, we all are capable of doing that, but I truly want God's best for me, not what I think is my best. If I really believe that, then I must also trust this is His best for me today. I didn't force the doors open, but I did act. We can't sit around waiting for a miracle to drop into our laps, we do have to act still, spin the world in motion on our end, to see where it lands on God's end. I don't know why my venture with Bechtel has been crazy. I don't know why I'm over-qualified for some things, under-qualified for others, completely discriminated against because of my citizenship for some things, gender-placed in others. It's weird, it's foreign, sometimes I feel I've walked onto a set of Mad Men, while other times I bump shoulders with people who would make the NY stock exchange seem out-dated. I've stopped asking myself questions about it because there are no answers for it, I just have to trust God this is where I'm supposed to be today and if I wasn't supposed to be here, doors would have and could have shut ages ago. Maybe it's a path that will lead to something completely different down the road, I'm ok with that too. I would rather freely ride the wave of the Spirit than to drown in my own ambitions.
I don't think it's a bad thing at all that my generation switches careers and companies multiple times in our lives. Why do we need to know our entire life path the second our 18th birthday comes around? It made sense 'back then' when family businesses were around, apprenticeships were common, trades were limited...but it's not 'back then,' it's today and today the world is changing rapidly enough that we can change with it or we can dig our heels in and fight a losing battle. It's not about company loyalty, that's hogwash, it's about putting ourselves in a position to be the best we can be and utilize our time on earth the best way we can.
So, am I just throwing away everything I've learned these past ten years? Of course not. I absolutely love it. I loved school, I love art, I love design...I don't regret it at all. I will continue doing photography and continue doing design, but on my own time, when it's just a great hobby for me, and not a job. I will continue with my DoodleTrain store, textile design and illustrations-but all on my own 'relaxed' time, so it will slow down. I want to bless people with it and so will be doing free jobs for friends/family so I can enjoy it and feel good about it...no more job searching, contracts, deadlines, or stress. If money is involved, I'll just give it away to places we support. I feel really good about this decision and although it all might change tomorrow, this is where it is today.