If you know me then you know that over the past few years I have been consumed by my work, working for small locally owned businesses in Portland, OR, all with less than 15 employees. A ceramic tile company, a cement casting art studio and a Makerspace Fabrication Shop.
It has been an incredible adventure so far in the world of making. When you work at a small company you have the opportunity to wear many hats and to gain some incredible experiences. I have allowed my job to be a huge part of my identity, I am trying to adjust this to being more in line with passion as purpose. I am a maker. When someone asks me what specific process or material I use I am always surprised by this question, that is the best thing about being a maker! The materials and processes are limitless, I can work with metal, wood, cement, light, sound, computers, paper, ink.
The main point is to figure out what your passion is, it can have many paths and tendrils (like my obsession with various processes and mediums), and commit. There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to believe in themselves.
"It does not do well to dwell on dreams, and forget to live." A.D.
I have a few rules (or guidelines) about what kind of day job I'll take:
- I am always learning.
- It fosters a positive environment.
- It is related to my field.
- There is balance.
I want to be moving forward and keep growing! I think we all need this in every aspect of our lives, to continue to learn processes and grow in our relationships with friends, co-workers, family and ourselves.
I commit 110% and I spend most of my waking life at work, I need it to be a place I want be to each day. Optimism is a huge part of my identity, when I am surrounded by negativity I lose my sense of purpose. We have the right to a positive and supportive work environment because we deserve joy!
"Employees give their valuable energy and time to the company.
If they are not given the opportunity to serve the company by working effectively, there can be no joy.
For the company to deny that opportunity is to be against the principle of respect for humanity.
People’s sense of value cannot be satisfied unless they know they are doing something worthwhile.”
Industrial Engineer, Toyota
Father of Lean
Am I making things? Yes. Cool!
What is your field or passion?
"Things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling." Fabienne Fredrickson
"I would rather die of passion than boredom." Vincent Van Gough
Is your dream to run a coffee shop? Then find a job as a barista. It is essential to understand every part of the business from the bottom up. Too often I see folks who start companies and are so high up they can't see where the actual work gets done. It is a lean concept, that when you remove yourself from a position or a process that you aren't performing every day then you are no longer the expert. Trust your team and employees, learn from them!
This is a new one, I'm terrible at making time for myself, self care or my studio practice. This year's theme is balance.
"Some days are for eating salad and doing yoga, other days are for eating cupcakes and refusing to put on pants, it's called balance."
It has been quite a while since I've completed a body of work. I finally did it in January! It didn't come out quite as well as I wanted because I wasn't able to give it the time it deserved. The show was titled "Ever the Optimist" and ironically, during install I did not feel super optimistic or proud of how it came out. Once I was at the opening my friends and peers convinced me that I'd done well and that this was a step in the right direction. I could take pride in the fact that I had made something, I learned from it. I had worked several hours of overtime at my job in the weeks before, but I'd made it!
It's all about making mistakes and learning from them. Or in lean, to learn how to react and be nimble in the face of reality so that when problems arise we can be ready to dodge and adjust as we need to.
You can do it!
If you find yourself stuck, seek out someone in that world or community. There are mentors everywhere, go to events, say hello and ask questions.
Visit places that are doing things similar to what you want to do and observe. Take notes on their processes, presentation and target demographic.
Pay attention to businesses outside of your field, often times the best processes are borrowed from other fields.
I hope that these guidelines help you plan a path to where you want to be. Go live it up and go make something!