07 April 2006

A wallflower in a gymnasium of electrons

I applied for a job last week. The responses to this news from family and friends have been mixed at best. I've gotten a lot of "Why did you do that?" reactions. There seems to be quite a bit of disappointment from the stands. My beloved suggests that this is because my friends and family have a lot invested (emotionally and psychologically) in my studio success. So many of my loved ones are creative in some way themselves and they see my efforts in my home studio as proof that it **CAN** be done. It is possible to have an artistic career and a family.

Somehow if I get a job it is like saying that I'm just not making it as a studio artist. Or, maybe I'm projecting. I've wrestled off and on since the beginning with questions about whether or not my income makes enough of a contribution to our family budget. I've wondered, sometimes even aloud, whether or not we'd be better off if I just got a temp job or something. Wouldn't the money be better than the satisfaction of knowing that my esoteric skills are being practiced? Those questions don't usually go very far. We made a major lifestyle change that must be taken into consideration and factored into any equation which involves me working outside of the home. I'm not sure that I have a commercially marketable skill set which will compensate me well enough to pay for childcare. It is certainly not a net gain if we spend as much or more on childcare as I will bring home at the end of a week working outside the home.

So I decided to try applying for a job that didn't require me to leave home. The problem is, I sent the application materials and entered an uncomfortable limbo. I know that the company received ***ALOT*** of applications. I don't know how they are processing them or how long to expect it to take. I've started having these nightmare visions that the huge influx of application materials caused some sort of mailserver problem and my application was never received. (If I were the one processing the applications, I'd probably have set up an auto-responder to send a note acknowledging recipt of the materials... or maybe I wouldn't have thought of it if I weren't the one sitting at home wondering if the application even made it as far as the inbox...)

I've been checking the corporate blog of my dream employers on a daily basis hoping for some indication of how the process is going and what sort of timeline they anticipate. In the meantime, I feel a bit like I did at every junior high school dance I went to. I'm sitting here by the wall hoping that even if no one asks me to dance, they'll at least acknowledge my existance with a nod or a smile. (I got over that by the time that high school started... I avoided the dances and made fun of the whole idea.)


Daria de la Luna said...

I think that you can still be an artist while making a little money, too. By the way, your dream job, which I am praying that you get, sounds like it will be nourishing artistically as well as income-wise, if it's the one you talked to me about.

Cynthia Saraswati said...

I think it's all about balance. When you know yourself and your needs, how they affect your family, you realize that you can trust your own decisions. People who care about you do want you to succeed, not because you represent all artists trying to live by their art, but because you show us that you are the artist, and we want you to have your dream, however you are able to create it.