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Career Dilemma


Kabuto

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Hi all,

I am very conflicted about which direction I could take with my career. I feel like if I have career satisfaction, then my happiness will go up exponentially. I dare say that a good job that makes me internally happy is not only beneficial, but crucial to my happiness.

So there are two big options:

1. Non-profit/human rights: This is a big choice for me because obviously I care very much about human/animal rights, and want to defend the basic freedoms that everyone should have access to. The world has its darkness- and some of that cannot be changed. Inequality, unfairness, sadness- these things exist- for some more than others. Some have a predisposition to have more difficulty coping with adversity. But I just want to help however I can. People who fight for human rights are the true warriors of this world.

2. Art: Despite me wanting to make a difference in the world, I think art is my innate passion. It is the one thing that enables me to just shut down my mind and do what I love. The problem is, there are many kinds of art, and odds are that painting/drawing won't pay the bills. I just don't know what other kind of art I can get into. Graphic art/illustration? Toy painting/art? Cosmetology/Theatre? It's a very difficult choice.

I recognize that both of these two fields are very difficult to break into. But I will certainly not be happy doing anything else.

Edited by Kabuto
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Hi Kabuto,

I am as conflicted as you are career direction, but let me share some of my thoughts.

It is hard to make it in the Arts field. This is not to say it is impossible, merely that is it hard, and therefore you have to have a lot of resilience of failure to succeed.

Of course everything is possible, but don't listen to people who tell you everything is possible - you just need hard work and passion. Sometimes that is not enough and it is not a reflection of your ability but just how luck and life works. Sometimes you get lucky, being in the right place at the right time.

If I am giving you career advice, I would tell you to go into non-profit/human rights and do Arts on the side. Remember the world is getting more and more competitive, so make sure as you are progressing in your career that you are gaining skills that are valuable.

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Are the two mutually exclusive?

Some off-the-cuff thoughts...

Even non-profits, charities, and rights organizations need websites, posters, messages, logos, artwork, etc..., no? Effective artwork can be useful in forwarding messages.

A graphic artist - or even a regular artist - can make enough to perhaps afford to either donate money or take some absences to devote time to some charitable activities?

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It's tricky. Either field is fiercely competitive. Non profit may appear to be a safety net, but perhaps it is a trap if I lack any real skills. I just wish I knew- I wish I wasn't so darn indecisive. By not deciding, I'm left with none of the good options and am forced to settle into something less than desirable. :/.

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I would say to try to get internships, even if they don't pay or pay very little. The non-profit world in particular needs people with hands-on experience. This way you can decide if it is really for you or not, without any long term risks. As for art, it is true that it is a highly competitive and difficult field to break into, and even if you break into it, there's no guarantee it will last. The art world is based on connections and lots of networking... it's actually very hard for the typical introverted, dreamy artist to settle with because it involves dealing with lots of people and putting yourself out there. You basically have to sell yourself (your art) to make money. With that in mind, I think entering small contests or smaller gallery openings can show you if you are ready for this world, and if it's right for you. If not, it can always be a hobby! Good luck... I am undecided on my career as well :/

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Internships work for some lucky people, who manage to network their way into jobs. For me, interning has always been a rabbit hole that never led anywhere. A way for people to take advantage of my free labor. Perhaps if I were to have done anything differently, I'd have sought out internships that I was intensely passionate about.

As things stand, I just need to go back to school or go home.

Edited by Kabuto
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assuming you pick the art rout, I'm not familiar with the non-profit options, you need to pick a specialty where you actually love the work. If you choose something simply because you think it will pay better your gonna burnout hard. If you pick something because you love the result you'll also burnout hard, maybe not as fast. The process of actually doing it needs to be why you do it. The money is simply not there for you you to choose based off that. You'd also be surprised at the number of people who think they are graphics artists because they worked at officemax and will work for nothing, and how few people can pick up a pencil and sketch.

I tried to do the responsible thing for years and failed. When I finally switched back to drawing it was ssoo liberating and others noticed. It hasn't made me money yet, but I have started getting that wow reaction I've sought for years and I've sold my first painting. You might also want to pick up the 2015 artist's market.

btw never work for free. The problem is that people who use free labor are usually amatures themselves and are therefore not worth working for. Wallstreet journal did a study on this and it only improved callback by 1%

best of luck

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  • 4 weeks later...

So I took a career examination and mostly got the following results:

Artistic Director, Animator/Digital Artist, Artist, Dancer, Graphic Designer, LandscapeGardener, Musician, Photographer, Ranger, Forester,

Agricultural/Horticultural Consultant, Arborist, Farm Worker, Gardener, Groundsperson, Make-Up Artist, Nursery Grower/Worker

Some are inapplicable. (for example, I can't play an instrument or dance). Hmmm....where to go from here. Any suggestions?

Edited by Kabuto
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