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Career change to something more sensible with an arts degree, am I totally screwed?

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 10:28 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Jespah of a2k made a series of transitions, having started out in law, passing the bar, and working in the field. She moved into web tech (I'm a dummy on it, but she has written about it on a2k), is an administrator here, helps others with websites, and managed to win a national fiction bookwriting contest, and is keeping up writing. You might PM her, if she doesn't happen to see this thread.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 11:24 am
@ossobuco,
Ah, here's her profile, which will give you an idea of what she has been upto..
she's busy, of course.

http://able2know.org/user/jespah/
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 12:14 pm
@engineer,
Those are excellent points for most professions. The best way to learn about any profession is to do some internship, and watch first hand what they do.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 01:42 pm
@engineer,
That is true, but I kind of figure 80% of my current job is menial labour (networking, constantly applying for positions, residencies, funding applications, raising money, emails etc.) already. Plus my second job 2 days a week to play the bills. I dunno, I just figure there might be a way around this that isn't completely scratting and scraping all the time.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 01:50 pm
@ossobuco,
Amazing! She sounds super interesting.

I guess I forgot to add that as well as my opera stuff I have done the following jobs (in case this is useful for anyone who needs more info):
writer for Classical Music magazine, piano teacher, careworker for children with speical needs, call centre worker (that was ******* awful), I have written essays for a model essay company, and am a primary school music teacher one day a week, in addition to the opera directing and writing and company stuff. Oh and I used to teach little kids english in china.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 01:55 pm
In our town we have a classical music society that is strictly sponsored by affluent patrons. The director of this music society came from NYC a few years ago and made this small town music society to a respectable music venue having invited gifted artists and entertaining the society with spectacular orchestras.
He holds several fundraisers a year and has charmed very influential philanthropists to donate to his society. He is constantly out there campaigning for his music society. Through donations he's building a giant new music hall and is relentless in asking for donations.

In essence, you need to be an excellent promoter and solicitor to get the affluent to donate. If you add courses in PR and sales, you should be able to continue with your music career. Look for jobs as music director in affluent districts and go from there.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 03:34 pm
Oh my gosh. And here I am, sitting eating cereal at 4 PM. Thanks for inviting me. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. God, I know your position all too well.

So! Career changes.

I have done more than I care to recall (and probably don't recall anymore, anyway).

They always cost money and time. No exceptions. It's painfully difficult to step into something new, and even if you do so, there are really no overnight successes, I've found. We're in such a hurry up world these days, it can feel like failure to have to wait. But wait you must.

Your friends and family (including us, I might add) will steer you in directions which work for them or which they know about. I am over 50 years of age, and my own mother still pushes me to become a librarian. Why? Because it worked for her and was a satisfying career.

For her.

When I last looked, she and I were different people.

Hence I think the best things to do are to consider what you enjoy or what satisfies you, whether it is for work or leisure. Let's say, I don't know, you enjoy knitting, playing the bongos, are satisfied with an orderly home where you can find everything easily, and you make the best tacos.

Let's look beyond the superficials here (assuming these four interests/skills define you; adjust as needed):
  • Knitters are patient, they're crafty, they're creative, they're tidy (yarn must be unraveled for the whole shooting match to work at all), and they create a finished product. This might be for themselves or Xmas or baby gifts or just for fun, even if they unravel it all at the end of the day.
  • Playing the bongos probably doesn't take the skill of, say, playing the cello, but it requires some rhythm. It's usually a social activity as solo bongo-playing rarely has a point (not that everything in life has to have one). It spells whimsy to me, too, that a person who does this for fun probably doesn't take life quite so seriously.
  • An orderly home hints at organizational skills or even data skills, certainly the skills of sorting, comparing, and drawing conclusions. It hints at pride, too, and a degree of patience also evidenced with knitting. It's a physical activity, too.
  • Making great tacos involves some patience and organization. This isn't a 'set it and forget it' food; it requires construction. You might not even realize why you're doing certain parts of it, but there is an attention to detail in there.

What do I take away from that? Someone who might be able to start a small business, maybe crafting or a food truck or cleaning houses or working as a professional organizer. Or maybe working as an analyst, and keeping the other fun things on the side for leisure time. Or maybe in a more social setting, even as a less formal party planner, even.

Your skills, your interests, your desire should all be satisfied as well as possible, but also know (as chai2 says), which hill you want to die on. If it is absolutely important to you that bongo-playing gets into whatever you do for a living, then you're probably going to be limiting your options. But if you allow it as a leisure activity, or you step back and look at the bigger picture and instead view it as a form of whimsy in your life, you might be satisfied with different forms of whimsy that are just as good or almost as good.

Because any major change will take both money and time, do what you can to keep working during the transition because you still need to eat. I also highly recommend some form of schooling, even if it's a certificate program, as the sense of accomplishment is helpful but it's also because the time is going to elapse anyway, and you may as well network. School is primarily for education, yes, but when you're looking to make a career switch, a close on the heels second reason for it is to make industry contacts.

I hope this helps. Recognize, BTW, that what you're great at might not have been invented yet, or might not be big yet. Expect a pay cut; be pleasantly surprised if it's not too much. But be happy.

And save for retirement ...!
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 03:46 pm
@jespah,
For the 55-64 age group, their average savings is around $45,000; hardly enough to retire on. I believe savings need to begin when young to establish the habit. Most people think they'll begin 'later' which never seems to be the right time.
My wife and I started saving 15 to 20% for our retirement early in our careers. We have no money worries even though I've been retired since 1998, and we live in the heart of Silicon Valley where the cost of living is deemed high.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 08:55 pm
Engineering degree: How does it work?
Science degree: Why does it work?
Finance degree: How much will it cost?
Management degree: When will it be done?
Arts degree: Would you like fries with that?
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  3  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 10:07 pm
Well I can't contribute a whole lot to this discussion as a non-businessman but I will say this:

In my first java class, the professor asked whether there were any musicians in the class because people who excel at that apparently make decent programmers. If you're interested I would buy a book on html and make some webpages. It's a good gateway drug.
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Chumly
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2016 01:15 am
Why not just keep it simple and safe and become a high school music / drama teacher?
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2016 06:29 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
I know an actor (up in the North) who worked for quite some time as a barkeeper in the theater's snack bar (besides some advertisement roles) until he finally was engaged for this winter season.

Quite a few years ago, I became acquainted with some actors, operetta/musical and opera actors. They survived doing children theatre, giving seminars, teaching theatre pedagogics as lecturer at universities ... while waiting for the big chance.

I'm not very optimistic that the situation in Germany is generally better than at yours. But being from "England" gives you some advantages.
0 Replies
 
Lordyaswas
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2016 10:18 am
@Chumly,
I've got some leg warmers she can borrow.




Sings.......

FAME! Baby remember my name....
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2016 10:23 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

I've got some leg warmers she can borrow.




Sings.......

FAME! Baby remember my name....


Or...

0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 Jan, 2016 11:57 am
@jespah,
Hey jespah,
Thanks! It does help because it is always reassuring to know it takes money and time and you have done it many a time and still found a way to save for your retirement.

I think I've only made £500 from directing in three years and although that might change but all my money has come from teaching really.

I got massive help from this ted talk:
https://www.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling?language=en

Althkugh i haven't got any more money yet, it's stopped the panic which came with feeling that I had to have one career which was my identity and purpose in life. I can have many!
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2016 01:35 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:
I have run my own opera company since 2012, and recently got on an incubation programme from a conservatoire, in association with a development charity to expand the company and give me business skills. I took this opportunity because I do want to see the company grow and realise projects, but I also thought the skill set of running my own company would be transferable if everything goes to **** and I decide I need something else. Does anyone know if these do count as real transferable skills?

Yes, they do.

The question I would ask you is, do you enjoy exercising those skills?

Not sure if you are a performer, composer, conductor, or what. Would you be happy doing it as an avocation rather than a full-time job?

But the skills you are building in running a business will definitely transfer.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2016 02:36 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
You could pivot towards more commercial areas of creativity (ad agencies etc) and work in art direction. That is what I'd do in your shoes, at least.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  3  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2016 02:47 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Hmm. I just looked at that, because that does seem like a really good idea. I got depressed looking at the client bases of most sites though, which is a shame because you're right it does seem to be the most obvious application of my skills.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2016 03:12 pm
This is my thinking at the moment:
(Sorry if this is getting self indulgent but you've all been such a massive help, it's helping clear my head a lot).

At school everything was very segmented, business was about corporations, IT was about maths etc. I, therefore, developed a tunnel vision for the arts, and was good at them and developed a very strong self-identity as an artist.

This might be something I have to change about myself. The 'artist' as we know it (Picasso etc.), I think is dying or dead. Yet many people in the arts have an image of themselves as some kind of creator-figure. I would be being dishonest if there isn't a part of me that still wants this identity, but there are just too many of us to make this kind of impact now, I think, unless you're very lucky.

Since I'm on this entrepreneurship course with my company this year, I've really really realised a lot of my presumtions were false, and it's helping unpick my notion of what creativity and innovation really are, and undo the dichotomy between 'creative' disciplines and 'uncreative' ones. I find management strategies super interesting, and that is business.

In line with what Jespah's point about 'my job might not even exist yet', I have been thinking of learning to code because apparently musicians are good at it, and, although I don't know enough about code to know whether I will like it or not, I know that it is a job you can work in any industry in, and what really fascinates me is connections between disciplines (how theatre direction meets management has been fascninating, how music meets academia, how entrepreneurship meets academia... I find these connections so fascinating), AND also, of course, rendering fictional realities. Maybe there's something in this.
I'm not naive that this is a large task, but my friend actually made this transition 2 years ago with a company where she worked at break neck speed for three months then they put her on a placement and she's been in work ever since.
I'm starting a coding progammme so I guess we will see!

If not... I'm just going to keep open try and discover myself.

I think the things I really need to try and answer are:
1. Is my identity as a 'pure' artist really that important to me? How much is this built perhaps as a safety mechanism or judgement against other people?
2. Is this type of artistry really more important to me than being successful?

Even ten years ago you could come out of a conservatoire and go about calling yourself an opera director without much competition, the downside is that since that happened it made it so much more appealing for everyone else, and now there are many many many directors in a very niche industry which has a business model that relies totally on philanthropy because it's so bloody expensive.

Anyway, if anyone has any feedback on this it would be useful, but thanks guys, main thing I can say. I've really appreciated the suggestions.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2016 03:39 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I think the key is not to look for "art" and look for "creative" careers. There is plenty of art in work like design, graphic artists etc.
0 Replies
 
 

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