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Shop Girl: Career Advice for Creatives

I thought it may be fun to open this up as a topic today on decor8, Career Advice for Creatives. Warning: This post is a long one! I’m interested in talking about this because many emails arrive on a weekly basis asking me for career advice. So many aspiring bloggers, writers, and designers out there — it’s exciting! And though I love to read your emails, I often wonder why you are writing to me looking for help because I don’t think of myself as qualified to give career advice, I don’t consider myself a mentor. Your emails have shown me that I greatly underestimate my own ability in this area. I try to reply to as many of them as I can, but I thought for the sake of reaching more of you at one time that I should write a little on this topic today here on decor8.

My hope is that readers will chime in with their own advice and that in the future when new readers write in looking for career advice, I can refer them to this post and the comments that will no doubt be left here by so many of you.

Follow Your Bliss by IS Photography.

Where to begin? Hmm. I guess it is hard for me to give advice when it comes to career paths because I am still fine tuning exactly where I belong myself! I think I always will and I have grown to love and accept this about my personality. From your emails, many find it interesting that I jumped into the freelance pond after so many years of swimming around in the corporate sea. I think you like positive examples of how others make the switch because you are in the big sea currently and dream of smaller ponds. If so, I understand completely. Leaving it all behind was a pretty big risk for me but if I had stayed I would have risked a lot more. I guess I will begin by telling you the ugly truth regarding a little meltdown I had at work in ’04 that got me to thinking that a change was needed.

Towards the final days of my career I remember feeling physically sick when I had to go to work. Do you ever feel this way? It’s normal now and then, but if you feel ill on an almost daily basis you need to see a doctor like I did and he told me that I was in perfect health but I knew better. Often after arriving, I would zone out at my desk because I couldn’t quite absorb all of the information flying at me any longer. I felt depressed, but only when I was in the office. The moment I left I felt full of energy. No one sensed I was losing focus at work, I was always able to keep up with things and often exceeded expectations on purpose — I didn’t want anyone to think I was unhappy there. But my body was telling me I needed to make some changes. A year before I resigned, I was on a yet another conference call and with the mute button on, tears starting rolling down my face as I tried not to cry out loud. After the call, I found a windowless conference room, locked the door, and sat in that very dark room and cried for what felt like 10 minutes. After my mini meltdown, I pulled myself together, wiped my eyes and put on the Holly smile emerging from the conference room walking a little taller and feeling more confident than ever. Why? During that meltdown there in the dark the lights went on. At least in my mind. I told myself that I would find a more creative career path and that I could make changes, it was in my power. I told myself that crying in a conference room was pathetic. I couldn’t allow myself to experience this amount of pain for any job. It was my low point. I knew I had a mountain to climb ahead but I was ready.

After the mini melt, I started to lace up my climbing boots. It took me one full year before I resigned. You have to prepare your way before you quit a lucrative job in a field that you spent years building. Lucky for me my husband does not depend on my income to sustain us. Please do not think for a moment that I feel comfortable with this fact, jobs can change in the blink of an eye so I never place all of my eggs in his basket. I’m very independent. I remember the day my father took me to the town hall on my 15th birthday to register for a social security card so I could start working part-time after school. I had to contribute a weekly percentage to my parents, and they didn’t need the money, but they wanted to teach me the value of it. I have been working ever since. I’ve also learned that money is not something one can fully rely on to always be there. That is why I had a hard time at first with the idea of leaving behind my job to give up this ‘control’ that I’d long held so tightly. When my husband first relocated to this country from Germany in ’01, I was the primary source of income for the first year while he worked on his English. He spoke the language, but it was the written word he needed to master in order to get back into his field. Once he mastered English, he easily found employment and has been with the same company now for over 5 years. But the first two years we had to sacrifice a lot. And I remember that sacrifice and so in ’04 when I decided to leave my career behind, I reflected on that challenging period we had experienced as newlyweds vowing to myself that I would not repeat that if it was in my power. My husband works full-time and is very driven and dedicated so I never worry about his ability to support us. But I was scared to walk away from my secure weekly paycheck because with that came comfort, the comfort of knowing that if something happened to his job that we still had mine.

I decided that the comfort of income wasn’t as important as the comfort of a joyful, happy spirit. I wanted to regain joy and the steady income wasn’t doing it so my answer was quite clear. Sacrifice the pay and pursue a career doing what I felt passionate about.

Because this could easily turn into a book, I’ll wrap up soon so that others can jump in with their own experiences and if you have questions for me, please feel free to ask.

I resigned in ’05 and have never looked back. Never once did I doubt myself. I’ve had success, and I’ve had failures. I’m happy that I made the change, it worked for me personally. It is difficult for me to advise someone else on how they should go about embarking on a new career since there is no ‘one size fits all’ recipe. But I can tell you that I would not go back to a ‘normal’ job. I have nothing against it at all, in fact I know that had I not spent nearly ten years being professionally groomed in a pretty intense and competitive environment I may not be able to do what I am doing today. I almost wish everyone could work a corporate job alongside powerful executives for at least a year. There is something to be said for the exposure, the accelerated rate as which you acquire new skills, the contacts you build, and the second skin it can help you to grow. There are also parts of it that I miss but I am careful not to focus on the past because the only direction in life is forward.

I do not think working for ‘the man’ is wrong or selling out. We tend to judge others for the roles that they take on as adults, it is not up to us to direct the life of another person. We can only be a good example and be the change we want to see, not force others into a role we think is best for them. That is why I’m careful when I talk about this subject. I also am careful to not form cliques where I limit myself only to others following the same path as my own. It’s best to surround yourself with people who are happy, however they achieve that happiness is their business. One of my closest girlfriends manages communications for a huge company and works nearly full-time remotely from her Boston-based home office. She loves it, she can walk her dog on her lunch break and have some flexibility with her 9-5 schedule. She is very successful in her field, I see her in an executive role by the time she is 40. I don’t think for a moment that she isn’t following her dreams because she’s working for a corporate giant. In fact, I know for a fact that she is over the moon happy with her job. I admire her very much! Recently she was published in a popular business journal because she is an excellent writer and the opportunity to write outside of her company was thrilling and fun for her. She finds creative outlets outside of her job and gains much satisfaction this way. My wiring is a little different that’s all. I wanted to start my own business, just as nearly everyone in my family started their own business at one time or another. The point is that we are all coded differently so there is no point in comparing yourself to someone else or thinking that your path is wrong or the only right one out there. I do not think freelance work is a bowl of cherries. There are lots of pits just like any other job.

To wrap this post up I’ll conclude with an email that I sent to a lovely reader who wrote in today seeking career advice. This is what I said in reply.

“Let me remind you though that I am not a career counselor though I think it would be a really fun career path to be one for creatives! With that said, I really cannot advise one on next steps in their career. I do not know your talents, I’ve not seen your work, and I do not know your personality type (introvert, extrovert, enjoys working alone, with teams, etc.). I also am not at all familiar with want side of interior design you personally like. I do not know your strengths. Is it writing? Community building? Is it decorating, knocking down walls, kitchen design, etc. I wish I could advise you but based on lack of information and not having met you in person, it’s very hard. When I was getting started back in 2004, I took a class. You may want to just enroll in a class — pick something you’ve always wanted to learn in the design realm and enroll. You will then have access to college professors, peers, and career counselors. I met with one at Northeastern University and our conversation was life changing. A good career counselor can help. Also books on the subject. Write lists of your strengths and be as detailed as possible as you write a page or two in your notebook describing how you envision your day. Will you meet with clients? Will you rep someone? Will you work from home? In an office? It’s good to do
all of this personal evaluation before you approach a career counselor because they can work better with someone who knows themselves well already.”

I concluded with these remarks, “I wish I had the magic wand, I would wave it and poof! you would be working in the best field imaginable. But life is a series of risks and challenges. Each help us and to remove them from anyone’s path does not help them to grow and learn.
I cannot give you the answers, but I can tell you that self evaluation and taking a class got me started and I’ve been very happy with my choice so far. One recent thought I heard that stuck is, When you are trying to accomplish a goal, you will hit brick walls. Remember, brick walls aren’t put there to stop us, they are placed there to see just how badly we want our goal. I think that is really good to remember as you make this journey. You mentioned being nervous – FACE your fears by just doing it.” – Holly

If you would like to add to my comments above, ask questions, or jump in with your personal experience of how you got started as a writer, blogger, designer, decorator, etc. please please please do! This can’t be all about me! :)

Posted by decor8 in inspiration, small business on June 16, 2008

Your comments...

  1. LeeAnn commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 4:50pm

    It’s not often do we hear the true behind the scenes, emotional turmoil, in making life altering decisions. We all face them at some point. I think our generation of women have been conditioned to be successful at work; to be independant. In turn this is how we see value in ourselves and thats what makes these decisions so hard. Should I change my profession? Do I give up my career to raise a family? Do I lose my self worth if I make these changes? Thank you for your open honesty and sharing your story. Sharing your experiences is a valuable coaching tool!

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  2. Shelli commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 5:05pm

    my favorite semi-quote (from someone I cannot remember) is:

    “This is the first job I have had that I don’t ask myself why I am doing it.”

    That’s how you know you are where you should be!

    Great GREAT post Holly! I, too, get nice emails asking me for advice…unlike you, I am HIGHLY unqualified to offer anything other than a smile and support. I can hardly juggle two things at once ;)

    I think the answer is inside each of us…you just have to find it and them overcome the fear of jumping in the water.

    xo

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  3. Anonymous commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 5:17pm

    For three years I’ve been stuck in a career paralysis of sorts — unhappy with what I currently do, but unsure of what I DO want to do — and so, “stuck” by virtue of wanting to make a move but not knowing which move to make.

    What I realize now is that I don’t have to wait until I’m “sure” of what I want to do. I just need to try something I *think* might be right. That’s it. You try, and if it’s not right, you at least have more information to help inform your decision-making process. I mean, in the years I’ve spent saying “I don’t know what I want to do,” I could have tried out at least one or two other ideas. (Note: This *is* hard if you want to do something that requires certification or more school. You can’t just “try out” being a therapist, for example :)

    Other tips: 1) informational interviewing — go talk to people about what they do, ask questions, see if it feels like a good fit for you. 2) Go sit in on open houses for school programs that pertain to what you want to do. Sitting in that room with other people who have the same career goal: Do you feel like you belong there? Like you’re in your place? I did this and felt so out of place with one type of program, then sat in on another one and thought, “I GET these people.”

    I think it’s key to think of career as an evolution — each step informs the next. It’s not static — it’s not, “Pick now and stick with it forever.” You try, you learn, you grow and you change. So even if you’re not sure, just try something and see where it leads. At least, that’s what I’m trying to do myself. Good luck all!

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  4. Anna commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 5:53pm

    Holly,

    unbelievable post!!!
    I’m reading your blog now for about one and a half year and it always blows my mind and my inspiration. Through you and the many stories of other creatives you shared with us, I had the guts to start my own creative business. Okay, I’m already at the very beginning, but I had a successful start at a creative fair and made first contacts. Of course, there’s always the fear about the finance. But at the end of the day, the whole money of the world can’t buy you a fulfilled life and satisfied personality. Of course, it’s a risk. I’m not a very risky person but as I planned my creative coming out, I had the strange but very strong feeling, that it will be alright.
    It’s not easy. I quit my fulltime (and not fulfilling) job as copywriter to pursue my dream. I always felt that I wanted to something creative by myself. And now at the age at 35 (!) I finally did it. And now I think what a silly girl I was, that I didn’t do it much earlier.
    I live in Germany (sorry for the not so perfect English)and the career structures here are very conservative. You chose one job, then stick to it until you die. I don’t want to do this. What about changes in life and biography, new perspectives, new impulses? You live and you change. As a consequence you need to tune your job perspective. But it’s very difficult in Germany.
    Sorry, that I got into this special problem, but it occupies me a lot. Especially, because I left the traditional way of a classical career. My own individual way of life is for me much more important than trying to fulfill expectations of others and society.
    After all the positive feedback I gained in introducing my crafts to a broad audience I can only say, just do it. Dare to make it happen. And I don’t want to sound pathetic but it’s true: Stick to your dreams, work on it. There will be chances.

    Anna
    http://www.makingofeden at blogspot dot com

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  5. P commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 5:58pm

    Thank you so much for this inspiring post at a time when I need inspiration and encouragement to make a big leap away from something I don’t love.

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  6. Liza commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 6:13pm

    Hi Holly,

    Thank you so much for yet another brilliant and touching post. My own design adventure is just starting, and I’m working up the courage (and capital) to make it up my full time passion, as opposed to the late night and weekend release it is now. I think it is so important to take the time to grow and learn, and reading stories like yours helps me to realize that I’m not along in the struggle!

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  7. Anonymous commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 6:29pm

    What a great post!

    “I decided that the comfort of income wasn’t as important as the comfort of a joyful, happy spirit. I wanted to regain joy and the steady income wasn’t doing it so my answer was quite clear. Sacrifice the pay and pursue a career doing what I felt passionate about.”

    This is exactly why I quit my job after I had my first child. I just didn’t have a job situation that was more appealing than being home w/ my child. For the most part, we don’t miss my old income because we’ve learned to live differently. You have to get creative & feel positive about it. I was surprised how much less material things mattered once I made the decision to live ‘happy’.

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  8. Ashley commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 6:37pm

    Really inspirational post! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us all!

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  9. ellencrimitrent commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 6:56pm

    career is a funny word when it comes to being creative. I myself have had many jobs in the creative field and I am still at age 41 trying to reinvent the wheel. I have had some great years and some bad, and right now I would say my career is in a transition phase. I still am licensing my art for product but the industry is really tough now with such a sluggish economy I am having to find other ways to try and stay afloat. It is never an easy path for anyone to try and create a career for themselves w/o working for others. You will have many ups and downs and have to ride that wave of income. I HAD to leave the corporate job because they were not paying me enough for my creativity and for the sweat I would put in. It has always amazed me how companies think that the art is not that important to the product and treat their employees and artists with such disregard. Do you think the product would sell by itself w/o the great design on it??? Its soo disgusting the way they think which is why I went out on my own. Life is way tooo short to work for people who bring you down and if you have a vision and drive you can achieve anything you desire. To all those young artists starting out I suggest you find what it is you like to do and pursue that with a vengeance!!

    Contact those to whom you want to work with and see if you get jobs etc. do not be afraid to cold call anyone you never know who will help you!!

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  10. shoppingsmycardio commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 7:16pm

    such a great post – i think we’re all more qualified to advise & help others than we believe ourselves to be…you’re definitely on that list.

    thank you for sharing!

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  11. Jana Souza commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 7:29pm

    Holly,

    I have read your blog for a couple of years now and this is by far the most personal post i have read and I so appreciated getting a fuller picture. I have a similar story.

    It has been such a journey and I have had so many lessons along the way—-I will say that it was easier in some ways to be a business woman with business policies when I worked for a large company; it has been harder for me to have the needed policies and firm infrastructure that is necessary to respect what I do in my own business—I am learning; plus my new field, interior design, isn’t as black and white in the decisions as being an accountant–so much to learn about the process and how to cultivate the relationships that i value while being true to myself and the client.

    This is a great post and I find people asking questions of me as well–more than a dozen of the professionals I worked with asked me questions while I was pursuing design as I stayed with the firm and worked part time while getting my design degree—I saw in some of their eyes the discontent that I had felt prior to making the decision. I agree wholeheartedly that every situation is so different —I also agree that my time in Corporate America was priceless–it taught me so much. Everyone deserves the dignity to find their way, on their terms, in their own time.

    thanks so much to Holly and all the comments. :)

    I am currently redoing a space as a design studio and will be offering product and services on line as well—this is scary and exciting. the journey continues…. :)

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  12. Rita vindedzis commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 7:30pm

    Thanks for this wonderful post Holly!! I spent many years working at my bliss part time while working part time at a job I absolutely hated. The stress completely sapped my energy and creativity. I happily left that job when I discovered that I was expecting and became a stay at home mom, knowing in my heart that when I did return to the working world it would be on MY terms. The week my son started grade 1 I had business cards made and contacted a gallery. I am entering my 11th year as a “professional working artist”. As well as create and paint the art, I do commission work, my marketing, search for new galleries and venues to sell, and do freelance illustration work and art posters. The hours are long and hard and yes there is stress but honestly, when I wake up on Monday mornings I count my blessings because I get to “go to a job that I absolutely love”

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  13. charlymydog commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 7:33pm

    hi holly,
    thanks for today’s post. it’s always comforting to know that others struggle with similar issues, no matter how perfect their career paths seem.

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  14. driftwood shack commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 8:33pm

    This is really encouraging- I think you have done well not to try and give specific advice (sometimes if something works for us we can become a little devoted to that path only!) When I left school I was advised to follow academic routes and left all my personal goals behind to please others but looking back I know the happiest times since then have been the different creative diversions that have come along. Sometimes we need to get to know what we don’t like before we understand what we really need for ourselves, as I think very few of us would have felt how much we needed this freedom without experiencing the lack of it. Lovely post!

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  15. Design Muse Blog commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 8:43pm

    hi – Thanks for the post Holly. I think a lot of us creative types are struggling with the idea of being in such a confined and structured corporate work environment. I am currently in the process of figuring out how to leeave my full time position as an Art Director to start my own business. At least for me, it comes down to the fact that I know I need to try it on my own and see if I can do it. If I can great. If not, at least I tried. I just don’t want to have any regrets later in life. I figure I can always go back to the corporate world if it doesn’t work out!

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  16. Rekoj commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 8:43pm

    What a great post and the comments that followed have been inspiring too!
    To share my own bit of empowerment inspiration – I think that it is possible to set yourself up to prepare in advance for taking such a leap. If you know wholeheartedly what it is that you want to do, you can still make steps towards that goal every day – even while working the day job. Even if those steps are small. Every bit counts.

    To keep the finances going I work a full time day job – but it is a low-key one that doesn’t zap all my energy. I come home in the evenings and work till late on my art, all the while living as simply as possible to enable me to save $$ towards that big jump into full time art I know is coming.
    And in the meantime, instead of waiting and hoping for that someday, I’m living my someday as much as I possibly can in my today. The ratio will just eventually get bigger is all!

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  17. Cindy Ann Ganaden commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 8:53pm

    Holly what an inspiring post!! To anyone who is feeling stuck I’d recommend reading Fearless Creating as well as “Coaching the Artist Within” by Eric Maisel. Both books have some really good pointers on how to get unstuck and find your path. I’d also recommend looking into getting a creative coach. Having somebody to check-in with and and remind you of your goals has been a great help for me in the past. Eric Maisel is also a creative coach and teaches a classes on the subject. You can sign up to be a student’s client at no cost. I’ve done this before and have found it very helpful to have somebody outside my friends and family to be accountable to.

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  18. Megan commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:07pm

    What a great post! To chime in:
    I quit my job in March 2006 to pursue my own graphic design and stationery business. What a relief it has been! I no longer feel sick on Sunday night before the work week. I no longer dread every morning. I no longer feel that pit of stress in my chest and stomach that made me feel sick all day. I now find joy in every day. I don’t hide the fact that it is hard to be the only one accountable, but it is so rewarding. I find I work more now than I ever did, but I also play more. And I love everything I do (so it doesn’t feel like work!). It took a long time for me to make the leap and quit my job, but now I wish I’d done it much sooner. I find that the money will always find it’s way to you. Especially when you least expect it. This whole experience has taught me to roll with the flow and things have a way of working themselves out when you love what you do! One other thing: you don’t always know what direction your career will go in. I thought I’d be happy just working for myself. But I found after a year of doing it that I didn’t like doing corporate design. So I refined my vision and started focusing on design for personal events like weddings, births, etc. and it is so much more rewarding for me. It took some trial and error to discover my true passion and what it was that made me tick. I would tell anyone out there to just write down “what you want.” No editing. In your wildest dreams, what would you LOVE to be doing for a living? Write that down and see what steps you can take to head toward your dream. Any forward motion is good motion…just don’t stay frozen in your tracks. Life is too short! Just go for it and you will be rewarded.

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  19. Adrienne commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:08pm

    GREAT post. So inspirational. Thank you!

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  20. Hilary Frye commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:25pm

    What’s better…growing pains or restraining pains? Follow your heart and leave your fear behind. Thanks Holly!

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  21. mizu designs commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:31pm

    great post holly! loved hearing your story. it’s good for all of us to hear about the hard stuff.

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  22. Angela commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:38pm

    Thank you so much! This post couldn’t come at a more fitting time— my husband and I had a heart-to-heart last night about me making a career transition in order to have more time to pursue my creative work. I’m afraid of losing my financial independence, but am also at a place where work is— as you said— physically difficult. I hope I have the courage to see this through!

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  23. Lexy commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:48pm

    Hi Holly,

    Thanks for such a wonderful post! I appreciate that it can be hard to drag these experiences up sometimes, but then it is also great to look back and see how far you have come! (So good on you!)

    I’ve sort of got ‘the best of both worlds’ right now – I’m using it as a stepping stone to working on my art and my art alone.

    I really loved the job that I used to have – I just got to paint in Photoshop all day – but the mangement people were ROTTEN! My boss started reviewing the females that I drew on whether he would sleep with them or not, they made me the head of the art department and then wouldn’t include me in any meetings, and then the point that knocked me over the edge? Despite the fact that they all knew I had a writing degree, when I tried to point out some errors that would be quite embarrassing for them when they released an ad to print – they told me to “just stick to the pictures.”

    Ooooh it made my blood boil!! There was the common perception that just because I was an artist, I was stupid. So I sought out the same job with a new company, and haven’t looked back since. Plus, since they’re in Melbourne, and I’m in Brisbane, I get to work from home. And I get a free trip to Melbourne every couple of months for a meeting. I set my own timelines, and come up with my own ideas (rather than being told what to draw), but I still have the security of a monthly paycheck. My new boss actually respects that it is the artwork that attracts the people to the product, and now I still get to paint in Photoshop all day, and I can throw in some animation for fun, but it’s all from the comfort of my own home.

    And now, since I haven’t been communting for at least three hours everyday to get into the city, I’ve been able to get some of my own artwork done, so I am having my first solo exhibition in August.

    This all happened only 3 months ago, so I’m still ridiculously excited about the whole situation (as you may be able to tell, considering my very, very long comment here).

    But now, since I’m set up at home, and working independently, it almost feels like I’m working for myself. And for the first time I’m making some headway into being a full-time artist. I’ve actually got the time to make that happen now. I know it will take a good few (or more!) years, but I’m still doing something about it. (I also wanted to be working from home before I have kids, so it’s a relief to know I’ve met that goal well in advance!)

    I do my work art from 6am to 1pm, and my art from 1pm onwards. It’s a pretty sweet deal!

    AND I don’t have to leave my poor, girly German Shepherd at home by himself all day, so I love that part too :)

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  24. Laura @ Shorehouse Chic. commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 10:01pm

    I have really, really enjoyed this post and its comments! I?m very lucky in that my F/T job is a (mostly!) 30-hour a week commitment, so when I get bummed I repeat the mantra, ?I don?t work Fridays?I don?t work Fridays?? :-) I really thought the ?next step? for me would be the non-prof world ? I was tired of just putting more money in my bosses? pockets — and was lucky: A local charity I?ve volunteered with took me on for 6 months/ 12 hours a week. Long/short: I was soooooo disillusioned by the whole non-prof experience. The infighting, the ego-stroking of absentee Board members, etc. ? it was like my for-profit gigs, but worse in the sense that it was a charity!! I?ve since heard similar tales from others I?ve shared this with. I?m so, so lucky I had the ?try before you buy? option before I made a mistake. I still think there may be a fit for me in non-prof but now I know better what to look for. I?ve also recently bought a house 1-1/2 hours outside of NYC so I?ve been really, really thinking a lot lately about making a go of ?permalancing? to spend more time at the house. I?ve started to lay the groundwork very similarly to how Holly explains. I?m also lucky to be in a two income situation (I hate to say it but not sure I would have had the guts to do when I was single), and like others have commented this post came at the right time for me?it?s the kick in the pants I need to make the leap!!

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  25. Bettsi McComb commented
    June 16th, 2008 at 10:06pm

    I’m working two jobs to pay for the financial mess I find myself in. Most of the mess created by being unhappy and “stuck”. Where would I be today if I had listened to my inner voice for the last seven years instead of trying to force fit myself into a suffocating situation? I love what Megan said, “Any forward motion is good motion…just don’t stay frozen in your tracks. Life is too short!” Time for me to get un-stuck.

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  26. Kerry commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 12:02am

    I think that working as a creative (freelance/owner) is one of the hardest things to make a career out of. Our job is to take our passion and talent and create something tangible and sell it to a client. We have to be the thinkers, doers and salespeople of our craft — and then juggle the not-so-creative side of paperwork and bookkeeping. Throw all that in with working with people’s personal tastes (it’s rare that a client is actually thinking what will work for their audience), and you’ve got quite a daunting task. Hats off to all the creative people out there who make it work, and happily (most of the time!) continue to add some colour to the world!

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  27. hang tight studio commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 1:38am

    Thank you for being so honest Holly!

    Reading your journey & struggles through the corporate world was eerily familiar to my “past life” as I like to refer to it (pre-freelance).
    I spent 7 years climbing the ladder to “success” in what was supposed to be a creative position & when I finally reached my own personal “top of the ladder” I realized just how miserable I was.
    Somehow my work life became filled with spreadsheets, grueling meetings & constant travel (and I’m not talking about fun trips… trust me). All of these things left very little time for creative expression or any kind of joy for what I was doing.
    Not at all what I had envisioned for myself all those years in design school.

    The light bulb went off for me when I realized that my work induced misery was following me home. I couldn’t shake the feeling when I left work & I spent way too many nights stuck somewhere between sadness & frustration.
    Part of me felt a weird obligation to stick with it since it’s what I went to school for, but I guess what they say is true… “everybody has their breaking point”. I finally reached mine & after a lot of soul searching, I slowly came to grips with the fact that it was OK to start over again. My design school experience wasn’t wasted just because I discovered that one particular avenue wasn’t for me.
    Starting over wasn’t easy that’s for sure… but I was motivated & really excited to learn new skills. I worked my back up from the bottom once again, but this time it was different. This time I was happy & full of creative energy.
    That’s when I knew I had found “my place”.

    My transition into the freelance world sort of happened by accident, but what a happy accident it was. It’s been 8 years since I left the traditional working world & I can’t imagine ever going back.
    You learn a lot about yourself when you start your own business… through your successes & your failures (and I honestly believe you can’t have one without the other).
    I work more hours now than I did before, and I have to keep a more watchful eye on my financial future, but none of that matters when you’re doing what you love!
    So I guess all of my blabbering above comes down to this one fact…
    We spend an unbalanced percentage of time at work vs. being at home & life is way too short to be miserable for that large of a percentage (or any percentage really…)

    Heather (Hang Tight Studio)

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  28. hang tight studio commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 1:39am

    Thank you for being so honest Holly!

    Reading your journey & struggles through the corporate world was eerily familiar to my “past life” as I like to refer to it (pre-freelance).
    I spent 7 years climbing the ladder to “success” in what was supposed to be a creative position & when I finally reached my own personal “top of the ladder” I realized just how miserable I was.
    Somehow my work life became filled with spreadsheets, grueling meetings & constant travel (and I’m not talking about fun trips… trust me). All of these things left very little time for creative expression or any kind of joy for what I was doing.
    Not at all what I had envisioned for myself all those years in design school.

    The light bulb went off for me when I realized that my work induced misery was following me home. I couldn’t shake the feeling when I left work & I spent way too many nights stuck somewhere between sadness & frustration.
    Part of me felt a weird obligation to stick with it since it’s what I went to school for, but I guess what they say is true… “everybody has their breaking point”. I finally reached mine & after a lot of soul searching, I slowly came to grips with the fact that it was OK to start over again. My design school experience wasn’t wasted just because I discovered that one particular avenue wasn’t for me.
    Starting over wasn’t easy that’s for sure… but I was motivated & really excited to learn new skills. I worked my back up from the bottom once again, but this time it was different. This time I was happy & full of creative energy.
    That’s when I knew I had found “my place”.

    My transition into the freelance world sort of happened by accident, but what a happy accident it was. It’s been 8 years since I left the traditional working world & I can’t imagine ever going back.
    You learn a lot about yourself when you start your own business… through your successes & your failures (and I honestly believe you can’t have one without the other).
    I work more hours now than I did before, and I have to keep a more watchful eye on my financial future, but none of that matters when you’re doing what you love!
    So I guess all of my blabbering above comes down to this one fact…
    We spend an unbalanced percentage of time at work vs. being at home & life is way too short to be miserable for that large of a percentage (or any percentage really…)

    Heather (Hang Tight Studio)

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  29. Brooke commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 1:48am

    Hi Holly,

    I’m so glad you started this conversation. What great advice! I’d like to say what worked for me when trying to find my right path (and I’m still figuring it out!). I knew I wanted to have a creative business but didn’t know exactly what to focus on – so I formed a group of women who all owned/wanted to own a creative business. Every month we visited studios, interviewed owners, chatted with each other and generally acted as a support network. Guess what? It’s been several years and most of us own a creative business! I found floral design (which I never thought I’d be good at!) and built a profitable company while still contributing my half of the mortgage every month. I had to work for other florists for a year to get up to speed, but striking out on my own was always the goal. Good luck, and be brave – you’ve only got one life :).

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  30. Sue commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 2:57am

    Hi Holly,
    Tonight I pulled up your blog (as I do every night) and came across this amazing post! You are as kind as you are inspirational! I cannot wait to continue reading stories and suggestions from people who have made the successful transition from corporate to creative!
    Time to start knocking down some walls!! Thank you!
    Sue (from Boston) ;-)

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  31. Andy Mathis commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 3:32am

    Thanks for sharing you story, and a very inspiring post, Holly.

    I have nothing to add, but for everyone to not beat themselves up with defeating thoughts if things appear to be happening slower than you would like for them to.

    Life isn’t so much about the destination, as it is the journey.

    What seemed difficult or scary at the time, in hindsight, wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

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  32. supa commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 4:27am

    wonderful post. Glad I wasn’t the only one who had a breakdown! haha! Love this advice and its good to know other people have hit brick walls too. I feel like all we ever hear all the success stories, and that can be discouraging, when you’re just getting over your first few hurdles! thank you very much for your insight! how very encouraging.

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  33. Maria Janosko commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 4:42am

    Holly,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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  34. Paola commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 7:57am

    Hi Holly,
    I been a reader of decor8 since late last year and I enjoy reading it everyday. Topic and the comments like this is what helps me
    understand that I am not alone here
    I too reached my breaking point about 2 months ago, I was about to quit my day job, but luckily i did not and now I can plan my exit on my own terms. I know one thing, like so many of your readers have said, at least you know where you don’t want to be. I too feel physically exhausted going to work. I have built a successful career in the sciences, but I always known it is not something I want to do for the rest of my life. Leaving the 10+ years in one field to start a new one is not easy, I still have doubts about this major change in life. It comes down to trying it, if it doesn’t work, at least I tried it. and now more than ever will try it.
    Paola

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  35. Anonymous commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 10:10am

    A great topic Holly, and I’m sure many people can relate to the struggle within when faced with such a choice…

    I took the leap 8 years ago and am an independant artist supporting three children on my own.. Working at home has enabled me to spend so much more time with my kids, and always being there for them after school in the afternoons.. I couldn’t have asked for it to work out any better, plus my earnings in the last 8 months have almost tripled, so we’re much better off financially than I could have been doing any other job..

    Have some faith in your own abilities and at least have a go… if you don’t you’ll never know!

    ShelleyLee

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  36. hang tight studio commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 11:44am

    I just wanted to say I’m soooo sorry for the multiple posts last night. I must have inadvertently hit the “publish button” more than once.

    Ooopsie!
    My apologies everyone :)

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  37. Sarah Andersson commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 2:04pm

    Dear Holly, and everone else, I am Swedish girl originally graduated with a master degree in economics, specifically e-business.
    I could not find a job that would fit my education but I took on a job at the customer service of Scandinaviandesigncenter.com and after just one year I mooved on to beeing the purchase manager and I also write our Interior design blogg (http://inredning.blogg.se, wich of course is a BIG interest of mine.
    So my career advice would be to take a less interesting job in the right business and then work your way up! Good Luck!

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  38. Fifi Flowers commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 2:54pm

    If you can start a business and work for yourself… that is the best! I have been lucky enough to always work for myself. It has been in many different fields from manicuring to interior design. It’s nice to love your boss ;)!
    Nice inspiration, Holly!

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  39. Mischa commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 3:34pm

    Great post Holly! Your story is so inspiring and totally relatable. We usually only see the sparkly happy beautiful work of people in the creative fields and never the side that you’ve shown, which is where most people start.

    I do creative work, but I’m also a teacher at an arts college, and one thing I always tell my students when they see someone successful and wonder if they’ll ever get there, is that the big difference between that person and everyone else is that they are DOING something. They get up everyday and work hard at what they love, and that is what separates them from everyone else.

    It sounds so simple, but I really believe it’s as easy as that. If you are passionate enough to create, but also committed to doing the hard work it takes every single day, you can make it. It sounds to me like you are another shining example of this. Instead of staying at the job you hated, YOU changed your life.

    I think that’s the big thing. No one is going to come rescue us. No one is going to knock on our doors and hand us our dream jobs. We have to make the change if we truly want it to happen.

    Anyway, that’s just my two cents! Thank you again for the wonderful post, Holly!

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  40. Anonymous commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 3:50pm

    What a great post Holly!

    My story — I was working full time until I got pregnant and decided to stay home with our first baby. That was 8 yrs ago and I could never go back.

    Having my own business is definitely challenging and I know we probably could be financially better off if I had stayed at my full time job. My reason for quitting was just too powerful. Unlike you, I loved my job and the people that I worked for. I quit because I couldn’t bear to see our child go to daycare. I don’t judge anyone that does go that route AT ALL – but it just wasn’t something we wanted to do.

    Like you, I do have to say, that the skills that I learned during my working-for-the-man years definitely gave me many tools to make it easier for me to handle my own business. There is a lot to be said about ‘hands on’ education. I learned more at work about the business side of business than in school. That’s another subject that I think school needs to address more in the creative fields – business. I guess that’s a conversation for another day.

    My career path was dictated by my instincts as a parent and in the end I am not only happier as a parent but also as a professional in my field. Like several people have mentioned there is no ‘cookie cutter’ way to do things. Every person is different and every person will be happy under different circumstances. The key is to find what works for YOU. Yes, it’s scary to take the leap, but if you take it being as best prepared as you can be (information gathering, education, guidance by a mentor, etc) and you have faith in yourself it will all work itself out in the end. It really will.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us Holly. What a great conversation to start.

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  41. A Print A Day commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 4:05pm

    what a wonderful topic to bring up holly!

    i’ve been on both sides: as someone working for myself, and as someone working for a company. each situation has its ups and downs, and one thing i’ve gotten out of this experience is to treat each one as a learning experience. to absorb as much as you can, and learn, because that’s one of the most fulfilling parts of working in general. and it is up to you on how you would like to share and contribute to the world what you learn.

    like what the above commenter mentioned, it’s also about the journey, not just the destination, because every kind of experience you go through, good or bad, matters because it contributes to how you are as a person.

    also, i would like to add, that there is a lot of truth and joy to following your heart. if you do what you love, and feel fulfilled doing it, regardless of monetary factors, it can be very rewarding.

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  42. monica commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 4:46pm

    Thanks for a super inspiring post. Its especially meaningful to me as a person who is pretty burnt out after 10+ years in the scary world or advertising (at one of the biggest agencies). le sigh, i just need to get a plan on what i want phase two of my career to be.

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  43. Anonymous commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 5:55pm

    Thanks Holly this is the post I needed. I have been dreading going into work, and putting off figuring out what to do next. While I feel I have a creative inclination I like my creative hobbies and don’t see them becoming my full time job. However what you wrote did inspire me to actually look for a different corporate job, that will satisfy me.

    Based on the comments already you have inspired truly creative types but you also managed to have an impact on at least one that typically does enjoy the structure of corporate life. I am already planning to take a day off to explore my options, and that alone has made me feel better so I can’t wait to find something new to try.

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  44. Crystal commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 7:50pm

    I’m new to reading this site, and I must say that this post helped push me to start up my own blog and see what can come from it. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  45. Andi commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 8:02pm

    Thank You Holly,

    I was one that wrote to you asking for career and advertising advice after reading your bio at realsimple.com. It was so warm how honest you were, and often times the design world can seem like this magic place only a few now how to get into.

    The road for me has been a difficult one in fact I really should be way too embarassed to comment here. I’m 35 with a BS degree in fashion and interior design not much to show for it except many years of working retail and debt. Not trying to depress anyone I promise. For the last 2 years after being let go of a visual merchandising position that I suppossedly was brilliant at I’ve been trying to make it totally working for myself. I’m not telling anyone to go this way, I just saw that I would spend my life working for people who didn’t have any respect for what I brought to the table even though it was greatly increasing their profit. So instead of seeing myself as a victim I’ve really seen how focused you have to be on what you want to offer in a business and push past the naysayers. Difficult extremely and I’m still working out how to sell and promote my various skill set. I keep thinking if I give up and go back to just having a job for the sake of having one I’ll never see my own succesful business. For those who get to work from home creatively I say Yeah Yeah Yeah and WOW, how ideal.

    I do feel one has to stay true to the belief in what they are doing. Creativity gets such a playschool rap but it is what drives everything into becoming bigger and better.

    I’m so greatful to read all the posts and that I have found this site.

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  46. Myrte de Zeeuw commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 8:18pm

    Hi HOlly,
    I am right at the spot where you quit your job after a long time thinking about it.
    I’ve been at home working on jumping in for 1 month now, and I already sleep better. Also I am lucky to have a man that can prevent us from sinking(also I have saved- saved- saved all the money I could before quitting my job, probably a good tip as well). But soon I hope to get my first assignment in fashion design or illustration. I am super excited, and hope that hard work will let me tell others the same wonderful story you’ve shared here in a while!
    Best regards,
    Myrte De Zeeuw

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  47. Lili commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 8:43pm

    There are some really inspiring comments here! Thank you Holly for starting this conversation.

    I think my favorite is the person that started doing customer service and worked her way to a rep. It really shows that being creative doesnt equal working for yourself. There is a grey area where you can follow your dreams and work in a more corporate setting.

    For my own story, after i graduated from uni I started off working 2 years on my own business. Theres a long story to it, but I ended up needing to find a job with a corporation. I was hired for my current job because of my entrepreneurial spirit and the experience I had running my own website. I learned that if you leave your 9 to 5, as long as you continue to grow, learn and work hard, you can always go back. Your skills will still be valuable.

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  48. Christine commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 8:52pm

    Thank you for being so honest! I have gone through the exact same thing as you; feeling physically ill when at work. All though I love my profession, working in an environment that was both inflexible and highly controlled by others was just not for me. It’s only recently that I’ve said this out loud, and it feels so good! I’m currently building my own business, and all though it’s hard work, it’s definitely the right thing to do for me. Reading about others that have been in the same situation, and that have succeeded in their new career paths is very inspirational and motivating, so thank you for a great post!

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  49. Maryam in Marrakesh commented
    June 17th, 2008 at 9:35pm

    As Paulo Coelho has written: when you really, really want something, the whole world conspires to get it for you…..

    I have been afraid but I have leapt. And the universe has rewarded me in so many ways for believing in myself. As it has you, Holly.

    much love from Marrakech,
    Maryam

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  50. Kirsten commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 12:06am

    Thanks to Holly and everyone who has posted a response to her blog! It’s wonderful to see how many kindred spirits are out there.

    Three things I strive to remember every day:

    1.) Life is about the journey, not the destination (as has already been said). This concept really hit home when I was on my honeymoon in Hawaii – on the road to Hana. Before we left, so many people had made that comment with respect to the ride. One person warned, “Make sure you enjoy the scenery and waterfalls! It’s amazing. But, Hana is nothing.” Come to find out how true that advice was – on the surface. Hana is this tiny little town with a restaurant and a gas station. It’s where most people turn around and head back or where others ignore the statement on their rental car insurance and move forward to the more dangerous road ahead. ( Guess which way we went!?! :)) Hana was quite the turning point – and that experience became the metaphor for many other turning points in my life.

    2.) Everything happens for a reason. Even though it sounds trite, I do believe this and it has been my mantra since before I ever really understood HOW true of a statement that really is! I recently turned 40. I recently started a new job. It’s odd – and oddly comforting how our past experiences – seemingly disconnected – all come together at different times in our lives to make sense. I’m still searching. I’ve had many, many career blips and changes along the way. But, they’re starting to make sense even though my choices may have seemed disjointed at the time. Life is weird that way (see #1).

    3.) We’re not alone! As is evident from this simple sharing of hearts, minds, souls, empathy, and stories, we’re not alone even when we may feel our most desolate and desperate. Someone else has probably felt or done something just like us! And, we’re not going to be the last to feel frustrated, aggravated, disrespected, etc. There is some solace in this fact. It’s just a matter of being able to remember it when we’re at our lowest.

    Thank you all! I appreciate the opportunity to share.

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  51. Anonymous commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 12:08am

    If you haven’t already, please watch THE SECRET. The cheesey, wannabe a blockbuster movie feel aside, it’s WELL worth the time!

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  52. AT commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 3:21am

    Oh my goodness, this sounds so familiar. You said:
    “After my mini meltdown, I pulled myself together, wiped my eyes and put on the Holly smile emerging from the conference room walking a little taller and feeling more confident than ever. Why? During that meltdown there in the dark the lights went on.”

    I had an almost identical moment 5 years ago. It was the worst and the best moment (took place at work, and did involve a good bit of crying), but it turned on the light. I decided I would leave to go do what I wanted to do, and that moment was just the kick in the arse that I needed.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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  53. contemporary furniture commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 5:05am

    hi! holly,
    Great post!
    thanks for an inspiring experience you’ve shared..

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  54. andrea bell commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 8:48am

    It is very refreshing to read a post that doesn’t claim to have the answers… and nice to realize that we are all just real people with real situations. Not the made up kind where it is all rays of sunshine.

    The only thing I can add that hasn’t already been said is to recommend a book I read a few years ago. It is called Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want and it is written by Barbera Sher. There are all sorts of reprints of it but she is pretty brilliant so I imagine any would be good. She first wrote it ages ago and it just keeps getting updated. It is a brilliant tool for a) figuring out what you really want and making your abstract ideas tangible, and b) how to think outside the box and actually achieve it. Not in ways that you would normally think of, but getting really creative with the path you choose to attain your goals.

    One of the greatest pieces of advice that the book is really built on is to talk out loud about your dreams to other people. It changes the way you see things when the words are actually coming out of your mouth. And when you put ideas out there you open yourself to the resources and supportive ideas of others which can help you with the parts you get stuck on.

    Anyway, kudos to all who are embarking or are already on their “NEW” path and thanks again Holly for your words.

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  55. Cherryskin commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 12:29pm

    Thank you very much for sharing your experiences, Holly and everyone else. If for no other reason, the internet is precious for the human connections it facilitates.
    I have to say, this post inspired me to email someone I met years ago who was doing what I’d like to do. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing the first steps of her journey. I wonder where this will lead? :-)

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  56. Anonymous commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 6:51pm

    I too was working in a job and getting sick because I just wasn’t in the right place for me. Many nights I cried on my husbands shoulder because I was so unhappy. Many times he encouraged me to make the change. But because of the work ethic I have, I couldn’t take the finacial leap of faith that it would’ve taken. When we had our children I did quit working. I really wanted to be home with them, but that did not make the financial side of it any easier. It was very difficult for me to allow my husband to fully support us. But it was the right decision for our family, so I did. Now I have been home for over 6 years. I am so glad I made the decision to do that. I think through the time off it really allowed me to find myself and really decide what I wanted to do with my life. I am so blessed to have beautiful children, but I know I need something for me. So, this year I have started my own interior design business. While I don’t have a lot of time to do it right now with 2 small children, it does give me a creative outlet. I can’t imagine working for another person/company at this point in my life. I can call the shots, make my own schedule, set my own pricing. I am loving the freedom in it. And I love the energy it gives me. It really is fulfilling a passion in my life.

    I think the key for me was to step back and really figure out who I was, which for me took several years.

    Thank you for this post Holly, your blog has been a real inspiration to me, and it’s good to know that there are others out there who want more than just the pay check!

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  57. Anonymous commented
    June 18th, 2008 at 7:18pm

    I cannot tell you how bittersweet it is to read a post like this.

    I work with numbers, but I seriously get paralyzed when I have to do something with them. I’ve never been good at math, and now that is my job. How?! I don’t know. It fell into my lap. It was easy. I didn’t even have to try to get this position. My husband doesn’t really work, so I felt a lot of pressure to have an income to help support us. We can’t live off his investments forever. Plus, I have student loans, a mortgage, insurance etc. I majored in English but have no interest pursuing a career in that field… unless I can find someone to pay me for blogging!

    But since buying a fixer-upper starter home with my husband, I’ve fallen in love with design. I’ve regretted not majoring in design. I had two roommates who did, and I was always fascinated with their projects. I should’ve switched when I had the chance.

    But this post makes me want to reconsider going back to school for a degree in design. I know that eventually my husband will work full-time so I can go back to part-time and maybe go back to school for another degree. A degree that might qualify me for more than what I’m conveniently doing now.

    Thank you for such an encouraging post about finding fulfilling employment. I know that eventually I’ll flee from my number-crunching, but until then I’ll actively puruse other options to make sure I make the leap to something that will catch me.

    Congrats to you for your success, and thank you for sharing your story!!

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  58. geramyum commented
    June 19th, 2008 at 12:17am

    I was laid off from my job at the same time I discovered your blog. What great timing! You’re blog is sooooo inspiring!!!! I’ve always painted while holding a regular job and even managed to have a show and sell my work, but just have never had the courage to make it my career. During this “off” time, I’m working on keeping on task with my projects and creating a schedule that I stick to. I think the hardest part of being a creative is to believe in yourself enough to make it happen. It’s hard work. I get scared. But what I think is most important is to take it day by day. I get encouragement reading your blog and visiting other artist’s sites and blogs, I try to do as much locally as possible and I paint 3 days a week, business two days a week. Even on the not so great days, I’m still glad for this “unplanned” opportunity.

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  59. Jules commented
    June 19th, 2008 at 5:17am

    Wow – what a great post. This comes to me at a perfect time because I was just laid off. I’m working on starting my own business but I’ve been experiencing some self-doubt and second guessing…I’ve been so used to working for someone else with the security of a steady job and paycheck but I’ve always dreamed of breaking free and venturing out on my own. Now that I have that opportunity I’m feeling all kinds of emotions! I’m excited, scared, unsure and all the rest but your post just reinforced my belief that if you believe in something and are passionate about it, you can’t go wrong. Success may not come right away but if you give it enough time and energy, you can make it happen for yourself :)

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  60. Anonymous commented
    June 19th, 2008 at 7:21pm

    Hi,

    This post is sooo interesting to me as I am going today to a career counselor and looking into classes.

    I’ve been working for myself or in design jobs for the past 25 years. I remember the “big leap” into working for myself. It has worked well for me for over 15 years and I’ve had the freedom to live in the country and raise my son while doing enjoyable, creative work.

    Now I am starting to think more about what I can contribute to the human race and trying to work out some kind of philosophy for the type of work I want to do for the next phase. Maybe this is jaded but I am starting to think the best way to create an organization that does good work is to know the money end of things. So although I’ve always loathed the numbers part of working for myself, I’m realizing that it can make the difference of whether anything happens at all. So I’m contemplating going back to the management arena, but doing it for a worthwhile cause that I believe in.

    Thanks for all the stories, it helps me to sort out where I want to be going.

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  61. serendipity2wenty2 commented
    June 22nd, 2008 at 3:18am

    Hi Holly,
    Thank you for your wonderful inspirational post. Life is a journey, and even with the stumbling blocks ahead of us, there’ll always be ways to stride across that. An about-turn decision is always hard to take. It takes courage and a whole lot of belief, but the rewards – be it palateable or no – will come by as experiences that we can never get out of reading in print :)
    Thank you once again!

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  62. dailydesignspot commented
    June 22nd, 2008 at 3:53pm

    i know you have heard it a million times now holly but thanks.. i like when people start to share real personal (and not always full of happiness) info on their sites.. you are a real person???? wow!! ha
    i work as a therapist and need just a couple more years before i have saved enough to break out and join the swim in the creative river.. or sea.. ok.. sea.. i like the ocean much better!
    take care!!

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  63. Larnaca Property commented
    January 8th, 2009 at 8:10am

    I am a content writer and I have recently written 25 articles on Interview Tips. I am always looking for resources where I can find tips to improve my writing skills. If any one can help me in that regard I would appreciate that.

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  64. When I Grow Up Coach commented
    January 15th, 2009 at 1:55pm

    There was this sense of familiarity when reading this post, like I read it before, but it was only when I went through the comments that I really must not have. I think it was so familiar because your story is my story. Well, your story is the start of my story, I should say.

    I started my life as a musical theater performer. When I moved out of the apartment I shared with my then-boyfriend & became determined to find a NYC in Manhattan just for myself, I went where the money/insurance was. I left performing behind, if singing lessons don’t count.

    I was at a horrendous job for about a year when I had to run off the subway to dry heave into a garbage can. I walked the 20 blocks to the office, got my laptop, and said I was sick and needed to work from home. It was only when I walked back out of the office & went back into the subway to go home that I realized I was fine. Physically. I didn’t feel ill anymore. But that job – that place where verbal abuse & bullying & talking down to those that work for you was the norm – made me wake up with a pit in my stomach every morning, that I carried with me until I went to bed on Friday night.

    I got out of that place & into another one, this time in a more supportive environment with a lot less headaches. I discovered life coaching right before I started, and went into the day job knowing I was there to be financially stable while getting certified as a life coaching & building my business.

    I’ve been here almost a year & a half, & figure I have another year & 2 months to go. But I’m OK here, knowing this boring (but not abusive, not soul-sucking, not energy-depleting) job is going to enable me to make a living being a creative career coach while giving myself the time I need to perform, and spend time with those I love. And that, to me, will be bliss.

    When I Grow Up Coachs last blog post: My 30th Year, reflected upon on my 31st birthday

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