In my career counseling work, I don’t help create starving artists. But I do help idealists create realistic dream careers. It is far easier to do so with my twentysomething clients than with my fortysomething clients who live in big houses with a couple of children in the Connecticut suburbs. That whole pay the mortgage, save for college, and start saving for retirement stuff is real!
In the last year, I’ve had the good fortune to meet several twentysomethings who were stuck in the wrong career path but where our career counseling sessions were part of the process that led them onto paths that are more aligned with their realistic dreams.
One such woman was actually an artist of sorts. As always, I’ll stay away from getting too specific because some of these small Connecticut towns are small enough that she would be recognizable. She had great talent in her artistic discipline. What she didn’t have was the know-how to make her art a career. Twenty years of entrepreneurship and career counseling have given me the benefits of what mistakes to avoid and how to create a small business. In the last year, she went from being a full time waitress who sold her artistic wares on the side to a full time artist-business woman who occasionally waitresses during slow times. (She makes a lot of money during Christmas, Valentine’s Day and less so during the fall).
One of my favorite stories that I can share involves The Meadows Brothers. They are amazing musicians in the Shoreline, CT area. If you get a chance to see them, do. They are GREAT! But like most anyone, they pondered whether going the full-time musician route made sense. To reiterate – particularly to parents – I am highly practical. I do not tell young people to follow their bliss. I take financial security very seriously (being the primary breadwinner of a family of 5 for the last 20 years will do that!) But The Meadows Brothers are not only incredibly talented, they are simply meant to be musicians. Ian, the older brother with whom I worked most, wondered if he should pursue something more practical in the health care field. He’s smart and personable and could be a success in many fields. But everything about his personality and character seemed well suited for the life of a musician. We worked on a practical plan to ensure he could pay his bills. And, away he went. Three years later, they are award winning musicians with a growing following.