Can't concentrate at work at all.
June 29, 2015 7:54 PM   Subscribe

I've been going from day job to day job for the past few years. There's always a point where I start to lose focus and my work suffers. Is this a sign that I should leave? Or is something wrong with me?

I'm an artist and I usually concentrate all of my energy into my work. I've been making a lot of progress lately. I don't have a college degree so I usually find employment in menial shipping or data entry jobs. I'm 29 and I've been feeling a lot of anxiety about where I should be professionally. And how much money I should be making.

Just today I was evaluated at my current job and I've been having problems staying focused. They consider me a good candidate for supervisor but I have no interest. Mainly because the job is shipping and receiving. They feel I have a lot of potential. The job is incredibly easy and gets very repetitive. I don't have much in common with my co-workers (who are younger) and another is bullying me by ignoring me completely. The job pays well and I've only been employed for a few months. Sometimes I beat myself up over the fact that I'm 29 and I can't get a real job. I create and sell prints and I'm striving to better my art skills. But as I get older, I'm getting scared that I'll never make enough money as I should be making. I'm also paranoid that I'm lacking an important skill. Is it weird for a person my age to still be working these kind of easy jobs?

I'm currently looking for a new job and I don't want to run into the same problem. Should I find jobs that are more related to art? Or that have more creativity? Does a job exist for someone without a degree?

I'm sorry if this explanation wasn't very clear. It's hard for me to express how I feel when I'm distraught over a lot of things.

Thank you.
posted by morning_television to Work & Money (4 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Just be a supervisor. Then you can get other supervisor jobs. And you'll get a raise.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:58 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

Take the supervisor job and be distraught while making a little more money (and socking some away if you can).

It's totally normal to feel concern and fear about your career -- but you seem to be performing okay at your job, given that promotions are in the offing. Keep putting in enough effort to do well while you research what your options are for jobs more suited to you. Take advantage of the fact that you have the luxury of being gainfully employed while you figure out what to do next, and take another job if you can find one that pays more.

You obviously aren't happy doing this long term, that's totally understandable, and going to college now is not out of the question. I'm not an artist nor do I know what kind of art you do, but graphic design seems like an obvious field to do some research into.

I don't think you really are as confused as you seem to think you are. You know you don't find your work satisfying and want to at least try to find something more suited to you. You know you want some financial security. You know, or should know, that your odds of making it by doing fine art alone are next to nil -- for the most part even the best regarded fine artists out there make their money through teaching, and it's a pretty meager living, and they take a long time to get that far.

Some people find that a menial job and time outside of work hours to pursue their passion is enough. It doesn't sound like you do. Some people are happy throwing themselves into demanding careers and get their satisfaction out of that. I don't think that's you. So do your research and figure out a career that will keep you comfortable and engage your talents enough to hold your interest, and then continue to pursue more pure forms of art outside the office. I've worked with graphic artists who did that, and I suspect there are probably other similar fields that have a nice balance between providing career security and some creative engagement.
posted by mister pointy at 8:23 PM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

I have friends who worked their asses off in art school, and did every freelance assignment they can. They have really successful careers out of undergrad, and are in very high demands due to their networks. I don't think being a fine artist is always necessarily the gloom and doom that gets portrayed here in AskMeFi. It is very difficult with a slim margin of success, but I also don't think it's impossible.

If you want a change in direction for art school and really can't tolerate what you are doing right now, what you could do is talk to some good college counselors about scholarships and fellowships for art school, especially for non-traditional students. Because you're nearing 30, are independent, and can qualify for financial aid, there are probably schools who will fund you full tuition based off your income levels. If you can do art school with as little debt as possible, go for it. The best art schools have incredible access to so many different types of art that you may not even be familiar with, and could be a path to look into. Please, look towards some new paths, rather than trying to stay on a wheel that you already are dreading.
posted by yueliang at 12:57 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

By day, be a supervisor. By night, go to school and work on your art.
posted by pracowity at 2:30 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

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