by Natalie Good, Guest Writer
Growing up, many of us are given mixed messages when it comes to career choices. As children our teachers tell us we can be anything we want to be (even princesses!). Our creativity is nurtured and rewarded; and as we continue through those formative years, we crave the validation that came with creating something wonderful.
As children become teenagers the creative career perspective shifts. We are surrounded with a plethora of mathematical and scientific study options. There’s biology, trigonometry, chemistry, algebra, political science, and the list goes on; however, we are presented with only a handful (at best) of courses in the arts. The days of “look at this beautiful picture Susy drew!” are replaced with “Jonny got an A in math class!” This eventually leads to, “You should meet Mike, he’s a lawyer.”
I was one of those teenagers that continued through life carrying the messages of my earlier teachers. I believed that with the right amount of passion, drive, experience, and effort anything was possible. After completing my degrees in English and Fashion Design, I ventured out into the creative world with guns blazing. I was going to make it. After all, there are successful designers. Just check your labels!
After years spreading my seeds across various areas of the fashion industry, I decided it was time to take my future into my own hands and I started my own label with a friend. Perhaps I should have taken it as a sign when my partner decided to leave, but I was stubborn and relentless. I was going to make it.
Three years and mucho dinero later, I feel left further behind than where I started. My bills are bigger and it only seems harder to find work. The few fashion companies that actually do business in Toronto are barely hiring. If they are hiring, they would like you to perform circus acts (see: kiss major behind, have no life, or be always available) for as little money as possible. We are no longer living in the days when our creative skills were applauded. My dreams have been placed somewhere in some cubby with a pair of rain boots and a box of crayons.
So where does this leave me now? Good question. See, the thing is, I am still that girl who believes I can be anything I want to be; only now I believe in the power of patience. We all have the ability to achieve the goals we’ve chosen, and it is nobody’s right to tell us otherwise. The experience I had owning and operating my business was invaluable; I have learned so much and developed skills that will be highly valuable to future employers.
Though we all occasionally lose our footing, the key is to keep on going. It’s not about finding a job, it’s about finding the right job, and that can take some time. But in the end it’s worth the wait… and the work!