RoyalTenenbaumFilter: You're a precocious artsy wunderkind
. You have a nervous breakdown and the years fly. How to claw your way back up?
posted by mykescipark to Work & Money (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What I need, really, is some life advice.
Like generations of too-sensitive artistic types before me, I grew up in the suburbs, relying obsessively on art and music to get me through a latch-key childhood and years of emotional and physical isolation. Both as a form of personal therapy and from sheer drive, I worked obsessively on my art (prose nonfiction and songwriting) and became very, very, very, very good at it.
In high school, I started a record label, put out a crapload of records, and got a great head start on a freelance writing and publishing career. I moved to a big city for college, got an amazing job at a well-known record label, and started making the local "Next Big Thing" lists with my own music the next year. By the age of 24, I'd put out four CDs, published a crapload of articles, done some modeling, had a press kit the size of the Webster's dictionary, toured the country a handful of times, had played with (or at least met) most of my lifelong musical and artistic heroes, and generally had my shit together to a ridiculous degree. I had aimed for the stratosphere and, Icarus-like, I was getting pretty close.
Then, one day, the stress of burning at both ends totally exploded in my face. I had a nervous breakdown onstage in the middle of a high-profile performance. Battle-scarred, embarrassed, and embittered, I dumped everything and ditched it all to go live the domestic life in the suburbs, where I tried in vain for three years to live a normal, picket-fence, day-job life.
In the suburbs, work-wise, I was screwed. Because I had always arrogantly assumed I'd be living primarily off of my art, I had either temped between tours or took low-paying, demeaning administrative jobs to keep the money coming in. I had great entrepreneurial and creative skill sets and experience, but because "musician" and "songwriter" and "essayist" don't exactly fit on a workaday resume, I didn't have much to recommend me. I swallowed my pride and did anything I needed to do to get by. As the years passed, the daily grind just ate away at me. I left my partner and decided to move back to the city to have another chance at the life that I needed.
Now I find myself at the other end of the telescope, staring 30 in the face and not quite the fresh-eyed kid I used to be. I have more "real-life" experience, which is not to be dismissed, and I've lived to survive failure, which is also important. But, on a day-to-day level, this endless stream of career-hopping jobs has killed me more than anything. Music companies won't hire me for entry-level jobs because I know too much, but I also don't have the resume "bang" to get me a higher-tier job that would challenge me and bring all of my myriad experience to good use.
I'm relatively happy with my artistic life, as I've kept busy doing commissioned music/theater work and earning my writing stripes through freelancing, but it just seems like such a huge waste to be stuck doing finance administration when my friends constantly tell me that I'm squandering my talent.
To be blunt, I am dying to get back into the business of publishing and/or music. Given the opportunity, I have no doubt that I'd prove myself in spades. But, as a not-exactly-recent grad, how do I climb over all the freshly-minted, internship-sharpened, wet-eared BA candidates and editorial whiz-kids to get in the door with such a ... unique back-story?