There's a job available, in a town I love, that looks to be tailor-made to my experiences in the crafty-business world. I very seriously thought about applying, (even though it'd be a pay cut from what I make now, doing what I love!) so much that I wrote a friend asking for her perspective. Just writing out all the reasons I was even thinking about going back into office life led me to a big revelation. I don't want this job, I don't need any office job.
But what I do miss about job-getting and -having is the validation that comes from being hired. When you work for yourself, there's no on in “authority” to tell you if you're doing the right, wrong, or weird thing. There's no one to choose you, to pick you out of a crowd and tell you are qualified and that all your experience is worth $X.
This leaves the authority in our hands, which can be unsatisfyingly complex. There has yet to be one big moment in my business when I realize that I am right, that I am worthy, that all of my experience has led to this one definition of my role in the world. There have been lots of small moments (signing clients, the book contract, every quarter when the Starship fills up)…but nothing as obvious and life-changing as the just-right job offer can be.
I know I'm not alone in this because earlier today I emailed with a crafter who didn't get picked as a finalist in a design contest she entered. Contests are another way we ask the outside world, and someone with authority to pick us, to tell the world that our work is worthy. Other authorities we hope to get chosen by: retailers, trade shows, judges, galleries, publishers.
Are you waiting to get picked? Are you hoping for the validation of someone in authority?
Why? What will that bring you, in reality? More work, more writing, more making?
nikkianaMay 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm (10 years ago)
I think this was definitely something I needed to hear today…
Tracey RedikerMay 12, 2013 at 9:00 am (10 years ago)
what a perfect sentiment for mother’s day. we should be giving her validation every day!
i use sales as validation. Fortunately that is going well enough to keep me motivated.
Kelly JohnsonMay 13, 2013 at 10:45 am (10 years ago)
yes!!! i had this happen last week too!! i didn’t win in my category in an independent publishers award and i was kinda bummed and frustrated, but at the same time i kinda didn’t care which made me feel weird. you seriously read my mind. thank you for your posts!!! it is so nice to feel accompanied on this path! kelly
Kylie BellardMay 15, 2013 at 9:05 am (10 years ago)
This is a faaaaaabulous piece! You’ve articulated something that’s been floating around in my head, but that I hadn’t quite pieced together yet.
That’s the thing about day jobs and their ilk: outside validation. Sometimes we want it. But we don’t need it to do the stuff we love doing! Ah! (Excuse me; I’m having a happy epiphany explosion over here.) :o)
Tara SwigerMay 16, 2013 at 10:03 am (10 years ago)
Yay for happy epiphany explosions!