Author Topic: living simply, still broke!  (Read 17353 times)

Jaguar Paw

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #100 on: March 07, 2017, 03:28:17 PM »
To the op, I have officially solved your problem: become a police officer with an agency that pays for education and vests you in a pension after 8 or 10 years. Get paid good money, and they'll pay for you to get another degree and then after you get said degree you can apply for cool jobs you think you may like. Boom. Problem solved.

FIstateofmind

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #101 on: March 07, 2017, 03:58:58 PM »
One of the harshest lessons I have learned is that life isn't really about being happy and finding fulfillment. It's about responsibilities and duties and doing what needs to be done to be successful. If you can find a little happiness here and there, that's all well and good -- self-care is important -- but it can't be your ultimate goal, because you will always end up feeling miserable for failing to achieve it.

What is happiness anyway? I think Denis Leary said that it's eating a cookie or having sex. It's a momentary pop of brain chemicals that fades as quickly as it arrives.

While I was growing up, I received some bad advice from teachers and that advice was "Figure out what you enjoy doing and then find a way to do that for a living for the rest of your life." Much better advice is "Figure out what you enjoy doing and then find a way to do that on nights and weekends for the rest of your life while you work a less interesting yet financially advantageous day job."

I love this quote - though i think it is possible to find work in which you earn well and enjoy it the work! It just not may be exactly what you hoped for/imagined!

Hargrove

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #102 on: March 07, 2017, 04:17:24 PM »
The posters who said you can't make a living at art are incorrect. It does take commitment and hard work, like every other good job. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

That's unrealistic at best and dishonest at worst. Yes, there exist artists who make a living at art. It takes a mountain of hard work to even get the ball rolling, then a lucky break or an exceedingly well developed network of followers, overwhelmingly unlike many other potentially well-paying jobs. The people who make more than "get by" money at art are exceedingly rare proportionate to the population of people who want to be artists for a living, overwhelmingly unlike most other potentially well-paying jobs. The artists who try and fail for a number of different reasons (INCLUDING luck) probably outnumber the failed ranks in every other profession if we don't count teenagers in retail.

In short, to put it in reverse, our society is not overwhelmingly concerned with paying for art, and the pressure on an artist to produce is enormous, lest the 1000 artists dreaming of a paying job behind him/her take the job instead.

I know an artist/writer who published two books, takes commissions, develops networks for herself and friends in her network to mutliply those networks (thousands of followers), does the Patreon/artblog/tumblr/promoforum/webcomic/etc thing, and makes enough to get by only because she's still living with her parents. I have never met the MBA in that situation. I have never even heard of the MBA in that situation.

And that SUCKS. But let's not pretend it isn't real.

prognastat

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #103 on: March 07, 2017, 04:26:41 PM »
The posters who said you can't make a living at art are incorrect. It does take commitment and hard work, like every other good job. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

That's unrealistic at best and dishonest at worst. Yes, there exist artists who make a living at art. It takes a mountain of hard work to even get the ball rolling, then a lucky break or an exceedingly well developed network of followers, overwhelmingly unlike many other potentially well-paying jobs. The people who make more than "get by" money at art are exceedingly rare proportionate to the population of people who want to be artists for a living, overwhelmingly unlike most other potentially well-paying jobs. The artists who try and fail for a number of different reasons (INCLUDING luck) probably outnumber the failed ranks in every other profession if we don't count teenagers in retail.

In short, to put it in reverse, our society is not overwhelmingly concerned with paying for art, and the pressure on an artist to produce is enormous, lest the 1000 artists dreaming of a paying job behind him/her take the job instead.

I know an artist/writer who published two books, takes commissions, develops networks for herself and friends in her network to mutliply those networks (thousands of followers), does the Patreon/artblog/tumblr/promoforum/webcomic/etc thing, and makes enough to get by only because she's still living with her parents. I have never met the MBA in that situation. I have never even heard of the MBA in that situation.

And that SUCKS. But let's not pretend it isn't real.

It's very similar to acting(which I guess you can consider an art in which case it is exactly the same) Lot
s of people flock to Hollywood with big dreams. The vast majority don't make it, but those that do like to act like it is possible for everyone. It isn't possible for everyone, but is possible for anyone. When putting an equal amount of effort in to the arts and a corporate job the odds of getting a well paying career out of it are with the latter.

Salim

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #104 on: March 07, 2017, 05:49:08 PM »
The posters who said you can't make a living at art are incorrect. It does take commitment and hard work, like every other good job. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

That's unrealistic at best and dishonest at worst. Yes, there exist artists who make a living at art. It takes a mountain of hard work to even get the ball rolling, then a lucky break or an exceedingly well developed network of followers, overwhelmingly unlike many other potentially well-paying jobs. The people who make more than "get by" money at art are exceedingly rare proportionate to the population of people who want to be artists for a living, overwhelmingly unlike most other potentially well-paying jobs. The artists who try and fail for a number of different reasons (INCLUDING luck) probably outnumber the failed ranks in every other profession if we don't count teenagers in retail.

In short, to put it in reverse, our society is not overwhelmingly concerned with paying for art, and the pressure on an artist to produce is enormous, lest the 1000 artists dreaming of a paying job behind him/her take the job instead.

I know an artist/writer who published two books, takes commissions, develops networks for herself and friends in her network to mutliply those networks (thousands of followers), does the Patreon/artblog/tumblr/promoforum/webcomic/etc thing, and makes enough to get by only because she's still living with her parents. I have never met the MBA in that situation. I have never even heard of the MBA in that situation.

And that SUCKS. But let's not pretend it isn't real.

Hargrove, I still think you are mistaken. Wanting to do some work because you think it is glamorous and getting the skills and knowldge to do it and apply for the job are not the same thing. I make a good living as an artist and I have many friends who are artists and make good livings. For example, there are many good jobs for print and web designers in corporate web and marketing departments all across the country, as well as advertising agencies and design firms everywhere.

A sad part of the business, which may be what is influencing your opinion, is that unqualified people think they will get work as graphic designers and will be surprised when they don't. I know whereof I speak because I own a graphic design firm. I have reviewed many, many resumes and interviewed many applicants. It was amazing how many people could not meet the minimum job requirements, such as experience with page layout software. Part of the problem is that many graphic design schools teach art theory but not how to use the everyday software designers need to use. This is fact. One of my basic minimum job requirements was "must be expert in Adobe InDesign", the most commonly used page layout software in the U.S. Only a handful of poeple who applied to me over the years actually knew how to use the software. Many lied about it.

Same with fine art. It's highly unlikely that a person with minimal skills and without a consistent body of good work will get into galleries. The funny thing is, I never took a course in graphic design in school, but I did study fine art and later worked hard to learn graphic design software on the job and independently. The really good thing about graphic design is that your skills, portfolio, and work ethic are the only things that do count. The ones who lie may get a foot in the door, but they don't last.

horsepoor

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #105 on: March 07, 2017, 10:50:04 PM »
OP - one thing I haven't seen addressed is interview skills.  With the jobs you are applying for, are you getting interviews?

I ask because I've been interviewing entry-level candidates in a science field lately, and interview skills, I think, are not emphasized adequately.  So, practice.  Have a friend look up questions online and ask you to answer them on the spot.  Write down a list of your skills and practice tying them to different types of interview questions on the fly.  Make sure that you seem enthusiastic about the position, have a narrative about how it fits in with your interests and career goals, and prepare some intelligent questions to ask the interviewers about the position.

I recently interviewed a young man who came very highly recommended, and his interview was very lackluster.  We asked him technical questions about several duties within the job description, and his answers were fairly vague, and he admitted to not having experience in some of those areas.  Then, we received his written professional references.  They were all glowing, and provided more detail about his technical experience in these same areas.  It was apparently that he vastly undersold himself on the interview, and it probably cost him the job offer.  I'd venture that this goes double for you if you're interviewing with botany/horticulture jobs with a sociology degree.  I'll freely admit that I look more critically at candidates who have a "novel" degree relative to the job they're interviewing for.

I'll also offer that, I somewhat followed my passions, in that I went into the plant ecology field instead of perhaps law or engineering, with the recognition that I would earn less money (but with better prospects than a horse-related career).  I'm now earning more than I ever expected, but it comes with responsibility, and lots of time behind a computer screen.  Overall, I enjoy my job, but I don't love it every day.  The common pattern is increasing responsibility and stress with increasing income within the field, and more time in the office and less time outdoors.  If I'd opted for the low stress, field-oriented track, I'd still be making about half of my current salary, and some people I know make the conscious decision to earn less and stick with field work even with an advanced degree.

shelivesthedream

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #106 on: March 08, 2017, 12:16:14 AM »
Hargrove: "making a living as a working artist" is not an impossible, unrealistic idea. But what it doesn't look like is poncing around a studio painting your inner child and then having people pay you for it. I think theatre (all theatre, not just acting) is harder to make a living at because the product relies on the artists and audience all being in the same place at the same time for a single live experience. That's expensive and there's no up sell or introductory purchase. But music or painting - sure you can make a living. IF you are willing to: a) work hard; b) hustle; c) be businesslike about it.

Lots of artists are on board with (a). But when it comes to (b) you can't wait around for some fairy godmother gallery owner to bless you with their patronage. And you can't ponce around with a paintbrush all day. You need to get out there and seek out opportunities. Teach classes, apply for residencies, apply for public or commercial art commissions, paint pet portraits, take a stall at an art fair, print postcards.

And lots of artists are bad at (c). If you want to make a living from art, art needs to be a business. Is it more valuable for you to spend four hours painting a mural in a child's bedroom for £150 or applying for a residency that would get you £3000 IF you got it? Do watercolours or oils sell better? Is it better to make 10 more expensive limited edition prints or 30 cheaper ones? Can you break into the lucrative wedding market?

If you don't want to think about these things, don't try and make a living as an artist. It's TOTALLY FINE for art to just be a hobby. It doesn't make you a lesser person.

Hargrove

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #107 on: March 08, 2017, 05:53:01 AM »
Hargrove: "making a living as a working artist" is not an impossible, unrealistic idea... And lots of artists are bad at (c)... If you don't want to think about these things, don't try and make a living as an artist. It's TOTALLY FINE for art to just be a hobby. It doesn't make you a lesser person.

Lol well thank you for not thinking less of me for not trying to make a living as an artist. I am... not trying to be an artist... I am doing something else, though I still write. I make more than the EIC of the NY Times, a fact which actually makes me sad, and if doing that for a few years gets me the freedom to be a starving artist later (without the starving), well, that became my plan. Making money as an artist is unrealistic as a job prospect. Not even training usually prepares you for the business aspect. Most people I got my degree with thought you got it, left the university, and people threw jobs at you - they were right if they went with a business or finance degree, but not with an arts degree. Anyone but not everyone, as another poster mentioned, can be an artist. Anyone could maybe quit his/her job and be a mime in NYC. But very few people proportionate to the whole can/are making it work. It doesn't mean this one person you know who is good and has business sense shouldn't try if that makes them feel like rainbows and unicorns. And, it does mean that the general advice that art is a great career path is not really helpful. +10 for "poncing," thank you.

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(Mara): Hargrove, I still think you are mistaken.

I would love to be. I think it's objectively true what I said about modern Western society not clamoring to throw money at art. You seem to separate fledgling freelancers from the Real Deal™ on the basis of resume credentials, which I don't think is quite right, but it is also true that a mountain of people who can draw things have no business sense (an unfortunate number only want jobs from the internet, which makes it more unlikely). But I never said wanting a job and doing the right stuff to get it were the same.

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A sad part of the business, which may be what is influencing your opinion, is that unqualified people think they will get work as graphic designers and will be surprised when they don't. I know whereof I speak because I own a graphic design firm.

My understanding is that it's more a problem of production vs hobby for many of them (your earlier point, perhaps). "I don't care that you make Swivels the Hero dazzling if it takes you 12 hours and should take 1." For another bunch it's not wanting to network. For another bunch it's not being good enough. Regardless of your willingness to sweep away the seriousness of these people, the fact remains that there are enough "bunches" that there's an army of free labor working for "exposure," just like in writing, objectively reducing the real and perceived value of production. I learned InDesign myself and created a journal layout from the ground up with it, represented at two major national conferences, edited freelance, and mentored an author who published and started a web comic. And, the bottleneck in both arts is IMMENSELY exacerbated by degree-holders living with parents and working for free.

If you want to do journalism or art, you walk into the university department and demand to see the computers. Then you check their InDesign and Maya and whatever else versions. If they're not there, or not up to date, you might as well pay 60k to your buddy for a sheet of paper to light on fire instead of getting your degree, because the most employable person will work with JUST THAT their whole academic career. Worse, your degree costs more than your entire first-year salary tax-free. And when you graduate there's a new InDesign or Maya or whatever anyway. Clock's ticking!

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I have reviewed many, many resumes and interviewed many applicants. It was amazing how many people could not meet the minimum job requirements, such as experience with page layout software. Part of the problem is that many graphic design schools teach art theory but not how to use the everyday software designers need to use. This is fact.

I know it's fact. I have also reviewed many resumes - it's basically every field you get more job spam than you can read. The problem with what you're talking about is not as simple as "get the right credentials," however, because you can't separate the fakes from the real ones unless you have a test or hire them first. I have been an employer and can sympathize that you would totally hire the right person who learned the wrong version etc. if they were good and could learn, but you must also be aware that you can't figure out who is lying on their resume and who is good and who can learn until very close to or after the decision is made, and many potential artists get filtered out at that step. People who get weeded out for no prestigious degree but know InDesign are up a creek. People who are smart and capable in most capacities but don't know InDesign and are honest have a similar issue. And besides, graphic design isn't the only art job, so many never learn InDesign, and even universities with it often have the wrong one. None of this is the artist's fault, but MBAs don't exactly suffer from "had the wrong book/software, didn't get the job."

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Same with fine art. It's highly unlikely that a person with minimal skills and without a consistent body of good work will get into galleries. The funny thing is, I never took a course in graphic design in school, but I did study fine art and later worked hard to learn graphic design software on the job and independently. The really good thing about graphic design is that your skills, portfolio, and work ethic are the only things that do count. The ones who lie may get a foot in the door, but they don't last.

I don't understand why you won't acknowledge competition is an extremely wide group in art. It seems a simple step to acknowledge from there that it's unusually hard to do what you're saying vs a different field. I believe you're a successful artist. I am not sure why you think it's just as accessible as the average job.

Salim

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #108 on: March 08, 2017, 06:42:18 AM »
Hargrove: "making a living as a working artist" is not an impossible, unrealistic idea. But what it doesn't look like is poncing around a studio painting your inner child and then having people pay you for it. I think theatre (all theatre, not just acting) is harder to make a living at because the product relies on the artists and audience all being in the same place at the same time for a single live experience. That's expensive and there's no up sell or introductory purchase. But music or painting - sure you can make a living. IF you are willing to: a) work hard; b) hustle; c) be businesslike about it.

Lots of artists are on board with (a). But when it comes to (b) you can't wait around for some fairy godmother gallery owner to bless you with their patronage. And you can't ponce around with a paintbrush all day. You need to get out there and seek out opportunities. Teach classes, apply for residencies, apply for public or commercial art commissions, paint pet portraits, take a stall at an art fair, print postcards.

And lots of artists are bad at (c). If you want to make a living from art, art needs to be a business. Is it more valuable for you to spend four hours painting a mural in a child's bedroom for £150 or applying for a residency that would get you £3000 IF you got it? Do watercolours or oils sell better? Is it better to make 10 more expensive limited edition prints or 30 cheaper ones? Can you break into the lucrative wedding market?

If you don't want to think about these things, don't try and make a living as an artist. It's TOTALLY FINE for art to just be a hobby. It doesn't make you a lesser person.

Great points.

tarheeldan

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #109 on: March 08, 2017, 07:04:52 AM »
Here are some numbers on artists from the BLS from May 2015:
https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#27-0000

Jouer

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #110 on: March 08, 2017, 07:44:37 AM »
So you have a sociology degree and are artistic/creative. Sounds like marketing is the career for you. My wife has a sociology degree and has worked her way up to senior management in a financial firm. You learn a lot in sociology classes that works well for marketing, namely understanding people. Marketing just calls them consumers.

Don't expect a great paying job right away, of course. In fact, you might take a pay cut at first, since you'll be starting off fresh. But the money will come if you work hard enough and are good at your job.

I'd suggest the banking industry as a place to make good money and then once you get enough experience (and $$), you can do marketing for agriculture, your passion.

Salim

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #111 on: March 08, 2017, 07:56:03 AM »

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I don't understand why you won't acknowledge competition is an extremely wide group in art. It seems a simple step to acknowledge from there that it's unusually hard to do what you're saying vs a different field. I believe you're a successful artist. I am not sure why you think it's just as accessible as the average job.

Thank you for sharing more of your perspective. I can understand your point of view better. I don't know if the art jobs are less accessible, maybe because I am often surrounded by hard-working artists. I was responding to your statement that it is impossible for an artist to get a good job and I reacted when when you said, "That's unrealistic at best and dishonest at worst."

It seems to me that all jobs are hard in one way or another. I have little aptitude for anything that might get me into school for, or a job in, the STEM fields. Art and music came more easily. It sounds like you have both right-and left-brain talents, which is wonderful. I hope you can pursue your writing as well as your higher paying job.

Gondolin

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #112 on: March 08, 2017, 10:45:20 AM »
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The problem with what you're talking about is not as simple as "get the right credentials," however, because you can't separate the fakes from the real ones unless you have a test or hire them first.

Software is king. Testing candidates via a battery of software and coding challenges even before a phone interview is increasingly common. If this practice hasn't spread to corporate graphic design/art yet, it soon will.

Salim

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #113 on: March 08, 2017, 10:56:53 AM »
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The problem with what you're talking about is not as simple as "get the right credentials," however, because you can't separate the fakes from the real ones unless you have a test or hire them first.

Software is king. Testing candidates via a battery of software and coding challenges even before a phone interview is increasingly common. If this practice hasn't spread to corporate graphic design/art yet, it soon will.

I agree! I'll never hire anyone again without testing.

Hargrove

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #114 on: March 08, 2017, 06:29:55 PM »
Thank you for sharing more of your perspective. I can understand your point of view better. I don't know if the art jobs are less accessible, maybe because I am often surrounded by hard-working artists. I was responding to your statement that it is impossible for an artist to get a good job and I reacted when when you said, "That's unrealistic at best and dishonest at worst."

It seems to me that all jobs are hard in one way or another. I have little aptitude for anything that might get me into school for, or a job in, the STEM fields. Art and music came more easily. It sounds like you have both right-and left-brain talents, which is wonderful. I hope you can pursue your writing as well as your higher paying job.

Oh! No, sorry, I didn't mean impossible when I said unrealistic. I think it needs a different sort of coaching than the kind we give. Our society tends to tell the story of the person who won as if there weren't 1000 also-rans who got no prize, no trophy, no newsreel, no spotlight. You can't achieve a dream you've given up on, but not-giving-up isn't a free ticket to a dream. I think there's value to saying "not so fast - it's not nearly that easy." Because the follow up question of the real dreamer is "what else do I have to do?" That's the question we don't ask enough. In your field, perhaps the answer would be "learn InDesign."

Someone told me once she wanted to be a writer. I said "oh?" and smiled. I didn't engage very much. She became more curious. She had ups and downs. She was frustrated. She said it wasn't working. I didn't steer the ship for her. She didn't go to college, and she beat herself up about it. She submitted some things. She worked on and off. Finally she asked, "what do I have to do?" My answer was that you have to write every single day. It doesn't matter whether you always want to do it. You'll probably never make it anywhere if you stop once it's not easy. Too bad if you're busy. Your work will often be total crap, but that can't be a reason not to do it either. You have to learn to want something that hard, hard enough that the wanting sustains you. You can't be a writer by going to college - inside or outside of college, what you craft comes from you, and you're already carrying it around. Enrich yourself - if college can do that, great, but only you will make yourself a writer or not. You have to collect your rejection letters and write your next submissions on the back of them. That's the artist/author discipline. It has to become odd to you not to write. Then your work will develop visible progress. She tried a bit and got frustrated. Worked off and on. She asked again. I said the same thing. Fast forward a few years and at a New Years' party her computer had crashed and she lost a substantial portion of work right before a deadline. She zombied right out of the party and submitted it with minutes to spare and it got published for the first time. She did one after that, and THAT got published, and she was off to the races. Not well-paid either, but getting the idea.

That's a pretty epic story for pursuing the work, I think, and I guess my measured response to the "dream and you'll get there" language is that the above story is hard, really hard, a lot harder in my opinion than working a lot at something you don't pour your soul into. Pouring your soul into work that never gets anywhere is absolutely crushing, and unsuccessful artists deal with it all the time in part, I think, because nobody they trust tells them how hard it is and they're not constructively chasing what they're doing wrong. And it's not easy to translate how hard it is to someone who doesn't already get it. You can help a little.

I left words-as-a-business because, as I said, I could get FI in 5 years with skills I picked up on the side, catapulting past a 20-year-career salary at a prestigious something-or-other. I wanted to buy my freedom and escape the ultimatum that's much worse for the lower-paid career aficionados. I decided I could live with being a starving artist, but I could not inflict "you starve too" on a family. My SO, as it turns out, is a starving artist! It works out nicely because she is trying to make art/writing work and has my support to do it (I never stopped valuing these things, my view now is just that "art supplies" includes "FI fund").

Salim

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #115 on: March 09, 2017, 12:38:13 PM »
Hargrove, you've chosen a fast route to get where you want to be. Your wife is fortunate to have a patron. My route was longer and slower, but I got there... pant... pant.

I'm glad you told us the inspiring story about your friend learning to embrace the commitment. I hope our discussion has been useful to the OP.