My longest unemployment stretch (nine months) came to an end this week.
I'd applied for all kinds of jobs: Michaels, Dutch Bros., Powell's City of Books, production artist positions at Big Frog T-Shirts and Image Comics - you name it. 2017 had, thus far, been a roller coaster of making art, job searching and interviews, and sinking depression.
I left Bi-Mart on July 29th last year. I knew what I was getting myself into financially, but I hadn't anticipated it taking this long
to land a new job. I tried my best to ramp up my online stores, prepare to take commissions, and work toward self-sufficiency. The longer this dragged on, the more panicked I grew.
On Thursday last week, my friend Ryan contacted me about an opening at his job. He explained the details, and I visited the site this past Monday.
On Tuesday, I got the job!
My first day was Wednesday.
Before I tell you where I work, I must preface it with something I've struggled with ever since graduating college in 2011.
I desperately wanted a 'creative' job, but I never felt good enough to fit in any one category. Illustration or Concept Art? Character Design or Sequential Art?
My teachers constantly warned against being "a jack of all trades but a master of none."
I've always felt like a jack of all trades (or a Jill of all trades, if you will). I struggled with the idea that I don't belong
in any one job, creative or otherwise. I've always done my own thing; how long would it take to make 'my own thing' a viable source of income?
My work history, brief as it is, is not entirely creative. I dabbled in graphic design at AlphaCard Sytems (three months); mobile game assets at Liquid Development (two weeks); more graphic design and office help at AlphaCard (11 months); and cashier / receiving clerk at Bi-Mart, which, at two years, was my longest-held job.
One benefit of the long unemployment period was having an opportunity to focus on my art. But I wasn't getting anywhere with it as fast as I had hoped, and even though I will NEVER give up on it, my savings had dropped to a five-month buffer. Either get a job, or move back in with my parents.
Ryan works at LabCor Portland - an asbestos analysis lab. They needed someone to help Alex - the sample coordinator - greet customers, log their information, take payments, and fill database forms.
When he told me about the job, I decided, What do I have to lose?
"It's about who you know" turned out to be true, in my case.
I'm employed again, and the relief is overwhelming. My coworkers are chill and super friendly, the work environment is surprisingly fun, and I GET TO WEAR SHORTS ALL DAY LONG. TL;DR: I do not need a creative job to stay creative.
Nor do you! I have the means to pay my bills and continue my art on nights and weekends. The regular full-time 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday aspect is SUCH a breath of fresh air compared to the inconsistency of working retail. The neighborhood along SW Corbett Avenue is stunningly beautiful, and I take long walks to its end after work.
The one downside about regular hours is that I can only attend to my beardies, Draco and Kyuzo, early in the morning and late in the evening during the week. On weekends, however, I am going to lavish them with care and attention. <3 If you're curious about them, check out their Instagram!
If you've reached this point, thank for reading. <3 I'll do my best to update my sites on weekends.