Six weeks ago Molly quit her job after a long and patient preperation period and has started off on a whole new professional path. In the last eight years her skills as a sharp writier, being a copy editor’s copy editor, and having a near-encyclopedic knowledge of music had only generated her slightly better paying cube jobs in dead-end Internet music companies. Writing articles about music became writing 50 character web blurbs, which became editing those blurbs which became editing data cells in spreadshits and finally directly on the database. In fact just before she quit they planned to advance her skills not by sending her to a music conference or their japan office where 25% of their music lookups are coming from, but by taking a SQL class, the near-archaic workhorse query language of database administrator and software engineers. All this company has to sell was a directory of every CD ever made and they wanted their senior music editor to become a database jockey. Just what every writer dreams of!
But back to the thrilling me part. Change breeds growth. I’ve quit my last 3 “important” jobs and each time, after getting thru a period of struggle and demanding self-examination my life has been bigger, better and brighter. One time it was going on a trip that Men’s Journal just did a brief cover of the July issue month. Other quits have led to, moving to San Francisco, working in Bangladesh doing development work for a year and starting my own web company, which evolved into Dogster, the happiest I’ve ever been professionally.
Molly’s big step has been enrolling in the 1940′s throwback, Apparel Arts School of San Francisco. Courses are a fraction of today’s colleges, student teacher ration is under 1:10 and all training is hands-on-sewing-machine. She will learn how to make clothing patterns for any item based upon anyone’s measurements. She will learn about fabrics, draping, pleats, darts, whale boning, weights, and all other ways of the force. If it’s been used in clothing in the last 300 years, she’ll be learning it. She will learn how to offer these skills to fashion designers or how to run her own business. Right now complex fraction equations are her nemesis, but instead of using computerized tools or allowing calculators each student must learn all the traditional analog skills to ensure they truly grasp the entire process if they do move over to computerized tools or other 20th century conveniences.
Change, as well, breeds opportunity. After turning her back on professional writing due the ennui of soul sucking work environments (really, even just visiting these offices I could feel a cold clammy tug on my own heart) she has already landed a weekly fashion column. She’s also gotten back with old co-conspirators and will be putting on the first Webzine in four years. Webzine is a conference for those that want the Internet and desktop publishing, not to get rich but for passing on their message. For people that want to transfer thought to make life better for others and themselves. For people that would prefer to make something that is used than something that is sold.
MGL, I am thrilled for you and thrilled by you. It always felt such a shame when you would come home from a 90 minute commute on 3 means of public transpo and were dumbstruck to see that I was still at my computer working away. Sometimes my work sucked painfully, but for the most part web design and construction has been an unexpected creative outlet that I’ve found to be challenging, rewarding and motivating. I hated that your jobs offered you none of that and when I see you at your sewing table with pencils in your hair and piles of paper and fabric scraps at your feet I’m so happy for you. To think you may have found your creative outlet that challenges, rewards and motivates you that may also be your profession or a part of it is simply wonderful. Sew on MGL, SEW ON!