It's Just the Beginning
What's the calling of my life? The question that excites me - yet haunts me. Is what I want to do with my life ultimately God's will? I've been busting my head for the past months trying to figure out who I am as an artist, but most of all figure out my worth as an artist.
Coming straight out of college was such an accomplishment! I walked out feeling 4 years smarter, wiser, and stronger. I walked out "ready to face the world" - until reality struck and sat me back down. Sure, I grew during these past 4 years, but my mistake was setting myself an unrealistic high standard when walking out. When in reality, walking out of college is just the beginning.
As the job hunting began, interviews rolled in as well. However, my problem has been stepping into these past interviews without really knowing who I am as an artist and what "I'm worth" -- or at least I thought I knew. Unconsciously, I was walking into the interviews expecting for people to tell me what they saw my worth as. And THAT, my friends, has been the worst move on my part. NO ONE should tell you what your worth is because, YOU and ONLY YOU know what you're actually capable of. However, when speaking about your financial worth, you can't expect to make $30 an hour right off of college either -- that's just unreal. In order to land a job, you must also understand, companies want proof (that's what your portfolio is for). You have to put yourself in their shoes. If you were hiring a designer for your copmany, how much are you willing to invest for their creativity and talent? Interviews are an open gate to help sell yourself. What makes you RIGHT for this job/company? How will you be helping them? It's just a matter of walking in and proving that to people.
So, what should you do to know "how much you're worth or how much you should be getting paid?" Here are a few key factors that I've learned so far that might help you figure it out:
1. WHO YOU ARE. Take some time to jot down what qualities you have as an artist. What can you do? What can you contribute to a world full of creative people?
2. WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Now, compare who you are to who you want to be as an artist. By doing this, you will be able to re-align yourself. Like me, if you enjoy creating with different subjects/mediums, this will help you focus on your MAIN goal as an artist.
3. RELEVANT JOB. Then, look for a job that is related to what it is you want to become! For example, my dream is to be creative director of my own magazine one day. Therefore, I need to find something related to that. (publishing, print design, etc.)
4. RESEARCH. Do your own research. Look up the average salary on how much you should be making in your city. Click Here to open one of many links that helped me get an accurate estimate of how much I should be getting paid at my level.
5. ASK AWAY. Take advantage of other artist's experiences. Ask how they got to where they are now, what challenges did they face getting there, how much they were paid when first starting off, etc. The more info, the better! You'll start discovering a pattern along the way. But again, don't ask expecting for them to tell you what you're worth either. They can only speak from their own experience.
Therefore, to answer my previous question: "What's God's will for my life?" I'm still figuring that out, but I've learned to accept that that's ok! During this job hunt journey, the fear of "making the wrong choice" grew as the days went by, to a point where I became paralyzed. Fear of looking like a fool, fear of not fighting for what I want, all froze me! Until I realized I was only psyching myself out.
If you stumble upon this same fear, my encouragement for you would be to know that there IS room to make mistakes. God is a God of grace and the cool part is, if you screw up and fall flat on your face, He can heal you and pick you up. After all, we all learn from trial and error.
So please my fellow graduates, don't expect that the journey of discovering yourself (as an artist) has ended! If anything, it's just the beginning.