Tomorrow marks the beginning of a tectonic life shift. Google/Skybox and I are parting ways, and I intend to take a few months off before deciding on a new career direction. High-tech project management, while lucrative, was devouring my soul. After twenty years, I feel done with that.
But what to do next? That’s more complicated. I’d love to work in the craft arena, because that’s where my heart is. However, creative pursuits, particularly craftwork, are notoriously underpaid. And the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live. That means I need to earn enough to pay my share of a Silicon Valley mortgage, since we have no intentions of moving. That makes it unlikely that I’ll be able to make my entire living from working in craft or craft publishing.
But there are other possibilities that might combine high-tech with the craft sector – for example, web development at a sizable craft business. Or I could continue to work in high-tech, but in some more creative role: web design, marketing, user interface design. I need some time to brainstorm, contemplate, and choose a new role for myself. And then I’ll have to retrain.
I also plan to take time to explore jacquard design. My long-term goal is to be a professional artist, and I don’t want to lose sight of that. So, lots of time exploring artistic ideas and techniques, studying things like color theory, composition, and digital painting. And plenty of weaving time! There is so much to learn about jacquard weaving.
Fortunately, I do have a good chunk of money socked away: enough to take an entire year off, if I need to. I’m planning to spend the next two months unwinding – chocolatiering in November and relaxing/visiting family in December. In January, I plan to spend some time seriously thinking about what to do in the next phase of my life. I’ll probably spend another 2-3 months retraining and developing skills for my new role. In the spring, I’ll start serious job hunting again.
So, professionally speaking, this caterpillar is getting ready to cocoon. It will be interesting to see what emerges in the spring!
(If you have ideas for ways to blend creative work with making a good living, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!)