As an artist, the work I do is important. Not just the art-work that is priceless, but the hourly-work I do that primarily pays my bills. Similar to the American Dream, I was brought up to believe the best bet was the safest bet, and at the same time, I could do whatever I put my mind to. The two ideologies clash as one requires you follow a “proven system” and the other requires you take risks in order to follow your heart. I have mostly chosen the latter.
Nowadays deciding to take, keep or leave a position really boils down to whether the position will make me a better artist and human being. The question is not as simple as working in a social service or creative position. As a fine dining captain, I learned how vital preparation is. As a bookseller, I learned how to leave a job I hate gracefully. As a residential worker, I learned how to recognize the psychological tactics used in work hierarchies in order to not fall victim to them. As a freelance resume writer, I learned the importance of asking questions beforehand. All of my work experiences have forced me to ask: “Will I waste their time or mine?” Before even applying to a position.
These opportunities have proven useful in navigating our capitalistic society as an artist and entrepreneur. It has forced me to think seriously about what I want out of any given situation, and to consider if the time I put in is worth my energy. Most importantly, it has allowed me to believe in myself more as an artist and a decision-maker. When deciding on whether to leave a position I ask myself: Am I blocking or inviting learning opportunities by keeping this position?