by Julie, wanting to wear sandals in Somerville (but wearing boots instead)
I have a few different jobs. I run an arts service organization called StageSource. I write the Clock Shop Mystery series as Julianne Holmes. I also teach arts management classes as adjunct faculty. I only started teaching eleven years ago, and I really love it. In fact, if I’d known how much I love teaching I likely would have rethought some of my earlier career and gone on the academic track, but I digress.
This time of year, with classes winding down and graduation looming, part of my job is to calm the seniors down, and get them ready for their next adventure. The advice I give is applicable to other fields, and all ages, so I thought I’d share some of it here.
Be Curious. Never stop learning, questioning, thinking. Find new ways to do things that are routine. If you don’t know an answer, find it.
Lead with Kindness. Once I turned fifty I stopped being nice all the time. But I always try to be kind. A subtle but important distinction. Snarkiness and cynicism is easy, but also lazy. Be kind.
Once You’re Done Learning, Move On. A former student reminded me of this piece of advice, which (we think) came from Michael Kaiser in the Art of the Turnaround. You can keep doing a job when you are done learning, but it is really tough to stay fresh and on point. I’ve been in arts administration for thirty years, and I keep learning. I’ve changed jobs, but I keep learning.
Be Brave. You will be afraid–afraid to make a mistake, afraid of rejection, afraid of being laughed at. The key is, do it anyway. Be brave.
Don’t Lose Sight of Adventure. So many folks are so focused on the path/career plans they are pursuing, they lose sight of the side paths, other opportunities that may actually be the better choice. Life is full of side paths. Explore a few.
Be the Person You Aspire to Be. Be classy. Dress as if you are the boss. Manage your social media profile/life well.
No One Cares About Your Career As Much As You Do. Don’t look for outside validation. Listen to other people, but make your own decisions. Then live with the decisions you make. You have to take care of you.
Don’t Be Afraid of Change. Making change, or being the change that folks need.
What are your pearls of wisdom? What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?