The year isn’t even half over but I can’t recall a period of time where I worked harder than I have these past few months. In addition to working on Uptown Girl and The Retros, I’ve also been working at my job and working on finding a new job. In December I found out I was losing my job, but no one knew when. In January I was told my last day was in June and I started the job search process. Knowing I had six months to find something, I didn’t go hardcore into applying to places. I used the time to write cover letters, revise my resume, practice interviewing and networking.
Looking for a job IS a job.
But I had time on my side.
On May 9th, I was told my last day was bumped up to May 20th. Full on job search. Panic mode. Long story short, over the last few months, I talked to dozens of people, wrote a ton of cover letters and applied for over fifty jobs. I went to interviews, marketed myself, networked and lost a lot of sleep. I was lucky enough to get a job offer on my last day and I start my new job tomorrow.
I am very lucky.
My job provides many things, most of all a way to support my family and my art. Superman doesn’t talk about Clark Kent’s life, and I usually don’t talk too much about my day job, but it’s necessary for my cartooning life to exist. I learned a couple things over the last few months that I think are very relevant to my creative life, though.
I’ve talked about how I’ve always been bad at submitting my work to publishers and literary agents. I hated doing stuff like that. I would create something that I thought was publishable and sort of…did nothing with it. Sure, I sent it to a few publishers but I stopped pretty quickly and moved onto the next creative project while the old one sat there.
I am not going to get into the quality of those projects, but ultimately they are/were not good enough to get published, anyway. I was/wasn’t good enough, and neither was the project. I’ll get into the OTHER thing I learned about all this next week, but I don’t think I have an amazing project sitting on my hard drive that book publishers or the Cartoon Network would die for.
What I learned from the job search was how to write letters, how to network, how to market myself, how not to give up, how to keep hammering away at something. I know from experience that sometimes a drawing takes a few days to get right, how it needs endless revisions and despite my plans, a book can take longer to finish that I expected. I learned that the hard, boring, non-creative work pays off and is necessary to get what I want…whether it is in a professional setting or creative.
You are likely reading this and thinking “well, yeah…” but so much of my life has been going about things in a non-traditional way. I didn’t mean to set out to do comics, I just stumbled into them at the suggestion of a friend. I found my most recent job through my wife’s sister. The past few months I had to be an adult and I adulted pretty well.
But I get it. I know what to do, I know how to do it and the cool thing is that I feel I am at a point where my creative life, drive, goals, skills and timing have synced up perfectly with this epiphany.
My next two projects are planned for the post-Uptown Girl life. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or what I wanted to do but I do now and I am excited.
Thank you to everyone who wished me luck on the job search, LinkedIn with me, gave me advice, provided connections, suggestions, job leads and support. Really. Thank you.