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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One more thing

After I wrote the last post I drove over to feed my daughter's cat. On the way I remembered something smart I once read about career planning:

Don't do what you love, do what you are.

Think about that.

I feel we are not being truthful when we tell young people do what you love and the money will follow.

If that was true someone would be paying me $200,000 a year to sit at my dining room table and order fabric online. Or someone else would make a good living telling funny golf stories at family dinners.

In fact my own experience is that doing what you love is too important to let the demands of trying to make money too mess with it.

Instead if you do what you are - a bossy person, a person who likes to make people feel good about themselves, a person who likes to go off on their own and figure it out - and you can find an environment where you are able to be this person, then you will find a job you love.

The difference is important.

So the question the young person needs to ask themselves is who am, I not what do I want to do. And if they have no idea who they are yet (and who does) then figuring that out and how to discover that, what experiences might make that clearer, is far more important than trying to tick off a course box on an application form.


Deb Cameron said...

Well said!!!

Sew Maris said...

Good advice, Barbara! Sometimes the two intersect, but not always. Luckily they did for me!

Lynn Barnes said...

It's just as important for young persons (well, for all persons) to figure out who they are NOT as well as who they are. You may have to spend the entire rest of your life coming to peace with that discovery, but better to learn early that you are not cut out to be a ballerina-actor-veterinarian. The world needs more good plumbers and carpenters than it needs investment bankers, f'rinstance.

Nana said...

Love the advice!!! Maybe if someone had told me that years ago my career would not have been so stressful. And, if you find someone to pay you to purchase fabric.....let me know, I would hire on for less :)

AngelatheCreativeDiva said...

What a timely post. I hope you don't mind, but I must share your words. I have sputtered the mantra, do what you love, yada, yada, yada, on many occasions. But I need to rethink this, because being a bit beyond the half century mark, it really is time to embrace the fact that I could be compensated quite well for who I am. You've given me something to think about. Thank you.

AlaskaBerninaGirl said...

I wish I had read this 6 years ago before my son spent 4 years at the university to only discover through a two year internship that he hated being tied to a desk!(not unlike your own son in the shirt) He just finished a year at a technical school and though he will love being un-tethered I can see that the vocation he chose is limiting, especially now that he is looking for employment and in 5 more months the state will be looking for its payback...

"We have to be careful that an education that is meant to open doors doesn't close them."
(best advice ever!)

Bunny said...

Priceless advice, Barb. You really do need to write a book for our upcoming entitleds. You really have your hand on this pulse.

badmomgoodmom said...

That's a really good point about not making what you love your job. I've never heard it expressed so well before.

I would also like to add that it's a perilous financial time in the US with so many inequities. However, there are two things that are somewhat within your personal control: how much money you need for your lifestyle and developing the talent that has the highest market value.

Obs, you need a certain amount to live. But, if you can live more frugally, then you have a wider range of professional choices than just investment banking and the kind of lawyer that helps rich people sue each other.

The other thing is also important. I was working as a wardrobe mistress at a well-regarded Actors Equity union theater when I realized that the union card was only going to give me a small bump in pay--not nearly enough to provide a living.

My quantum mechanics professor said that I could earn a middle class living in physics if I went to grad school; he'd write me a letter of rec to get into a good school. He did, and I did. Nowadays, I don't recommend a PhD in physics if one wants to be middle class.

But, the point is to take stock at what you are good at and people will pay for. Then work hard to develop those skills further so you can earn a living and still have some life force left over to enjoy the things you love but have little market value.

And don't confuse true value with market value. You are more than your paycheck.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

What wise, wise words!