Life as a Full Time Artist: Day 1

Originally Published August 6, 2015

I recently left the (relative) security of a senior management position in corporate America to pursue my passion as an artist and writer. While my corporate job was creative and fulfilling to a degree, there was something missing. I needed something more. I made the decision last year (2014) that I would take the leap “some time next year.” In January of 2015 I once again said to someone “sometime next year.” That’s when it hit me. It is next year! So I had to put a real date on it. I decided July 31 would be a good one.

Last Friday, I packed up the last of my things, took a walk around the building, hugged some folks, and then left the building for the last time as a “colleague.”

In the days before my leap, several people had asked me, “What will you do on your first day?” My canned answered was, “Go to the passport office.” Not what they wanted to hear, but it was the truth. I’m going out of country later this year and I need a passport. So that’s all I had planned for my first day. Get that biggie out of the way, then I can think. Then I can focus.

I’ve been questioned and advised by many good intentioned supporters. “What’s the first thing you’re going to work on?” “Give yourself time to get organized.” “Take a little time off before you get started.” and “Do you have any events on your calendar yet?” The thing is, I’ve got so much on my mental “to do,” I need to take a minute and sort through it. Write it down. Organize it.

Here’s how day one really shook out:

  • Woke up at 6:30 (really? on my first day of self-employment?)
  • Arrived at 9:20 for my 10:00 passport meeting.
  • Realized I’d forgotten my checkbook. (The nice man processed everything and set it aside, advised me where to find a bank.)
  • Found said bank, obtained cashier’s check
  • Back to passport office. Task complete!
  • Back in my car. Now what?
  • Checked phone for anything exciting. Saw message from my writer friend, Susie, who sent me info on a “art collective” meeting that evening. Bonus!
  • Took a nostalgic drive to old neighborhoods, just because I could.
  • Stopped at Ruby Tuesday for lunch. Salad bar – good. Beer – because I could. Said yes to an upgrade to XL on the beer for only $2 more – maybe not so good. Three tiny (tasty) little cheesy biscuits that magically appeared on my table while at salad bar – evil!
  • Drove to The Global Mall. I’ve heard so much about it, I wanted to see. Nothing going on inside the mall on a weekday. Elected not to drive around back to see library and skating rink, as I was feeling the heat by then and also a little sleepy.
  • Home again. Nap.
  • Did some online research (seriously) along with some Facebooking.
  • Sent a couple of emails.
  • Made a couple of calls.
  • Made a sandwich for dinner.
  • Headed out for art collective meeting. Listened to a couple experts talk about branding. Good information. Some I’ve heard before, some not, but it was good to get out and do something related to my new career. (My friend Susie was so sweet to break away from her packing for a personal trip to make sure I knew someone at the meeting! )
  • Back in the car, heading home I returned a call from my friend Megan who had tried to reach me during the meeting. “So…how was your first day?” (My friends are really pretty awesome!)

Sending Out Negative Vibrations: Lesson Learned

Originally Posted June  30 2012:

I was reminded recently of the power of the law of attraction. It happened just last week. You see, as many of us do, I often find sayings and pictures on Facebook that I think are funny and repost them. Well last Tuesday evening, I stumbled across a drawing by It was of a woman with a wine glass. I had seen the same drawing before with another saying on it. The saying on this one was “Your dumb shit is what makes me want to get tanked at 11 am.”

I’m not gonna lie…it made me chuckle. And while there wasn’t anyone in particular who came to mind at that moment, I could think of several people who had the potential to cause me that level of frustration from time to time. So, even though it’s against my rule to post negative messages, I decided to share it.

Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. I had a training event scheduled, which I was to lead. I bet you can’t guess what happened? Yep – it blew up! The manager in attendance derailed it, challenged me in front of my team and completely undermined my authority to speak on my chosen topic. Nice.

I spent the next several days recovering from that incident, first getting over my anger with the manager and then forgiving myself for allow me to get so worked up about it, and finally, forgiving myself for allowing myself to fall into that particular situation. There were, after all, things I could have done differently that might have prevented or at least minimized the negative response of the manager.

It was last night that I remembered my posting of the ecard on Facebook. Lesson learned.

Make Money From Home…Not!

I recently stumbled upon an online ad that sent me back in time. It said, “Make Money Stuffing Envelopes.” You know where I saw it? Come on. You do realize this is a con, right? I mean, if you fall for this one, you deserve what you get.

I know. I fell for it when I was young and gullible. It was 20+ years ago, shortly after giving birth to my twin daughters at the ripe old age of 21. At that time I was determined to be a stay-at-home mom – at least until my girls started school.

The ad I fell for promised I could make $200-$300 a week stuffing envelopes. I was stoked! I filled out the order form, wrote out my $10.00 check and then excitedly checked the mail slot every day, anxious for my “kit” to arrive so that I could start pulling my financial weight at home.

When my package arrived, I was dismayed to find that it was nothing more than a poorly printed booklet containing lists of agencies and types of businesses I could contact who may need envelope stuffing and other clerical services. The other option that was suggested was that I could recreate the booklet and market it as my own. I read the booklet from cover to cover and briefly considered whether it really would be possible for me to build a business in that manner and decided…no. It wasn’t for me. I tossed the thing in the trash – lesson learned. Nine months later I was back in an office job.

The ad I saw on last week claimed I could make $1,000 a week stuffing envelopes. Well, the pretend paycheck has gone up, as has the “initial investment” amount, but other than that, I’m sure things haven’t changed. Even if this were real, I can’t even imagine how many envelopes a person would have to stuff in order to earn $1,000 in a single week. It just doesn’t seem possible. There are so many obvious problems with that idea I can’t even justify listing them. It brings to mind the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza’s fiance dies from licking the envelope glue on their wedding invitations.

But you know what really chaps me? These ads are EVERYWHERE! Including legitimate employment sites. I did a search on for “Work at Home” and got 160 pages of results! gave me 10 pages.…I don’t know how many…I stopped scrolling at 30.

While some of these jobs may be legitimate, I’m pretty sure they’re not the kinds of jobs you would feel good about having. For example, my search resulted in a slue of listings for “Call Center Agent.” I think there was one for every possible city/state combination. You know what that job is, right? It’s answering inbound calls and processing orders from those infomercials you see on tv. Glamorous!

There’s also a “Diet Gum Company” claiming you can make $1,500 per week processing orders at home. Even better – there’s a “Diet Company” that is going to pay you $6,000 a week for taking orders on your home computer. If these jobs were legitimate, first, instead of “Diet Gum Company” you’d see the real name of the company, and second, everyone would be working from home!

While the “Call Center Agent” job may be real, I have to ask this…Does anybody out there know anybody who has really made the money stated in those other ads?

These types of ads prey on people who have to make decisions like, “Do I go to the dentist to have my abscessed tooth pulled or do I feed my family?” They are desperate. If you’ve ever responded to one of these ads I’m guessing you didn’t do it because you were financially independent and just needed something to pass the time. You responded because you really needed the money and were fresh out of ideas for getting it any other way (legally).

I’m think I’m going to take some time and explore some of these listings over the next few weeks. I’ll report back on what I find.