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Changing Careers: From Health Care to Jewelry Design

Posted by learntobead on June 19, 2020

For many people, jewelry design is a career choice that comes later in life. You work hard, continually frustrated or disappointed or unsatisfied in your current job. And you reach a point where you want to find something — a job or hobby or avocation — that makes you happy. That gives you a personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You want to make a change.

That’s what happened to me.

I had been in the health care field for over 25 years. I never really liked health care as a field, but it paid a lot, it was a big source of status and power for me, and I did very well. I reached a point where I was near the top of my field, and no longer could push myself to take the next step.

Money had been one of my prime motivators. But that was less important to me now. I had traveled a lot, had lots of stuff and collectibles, a $10,000 wardrobe of the finest clothes and shoes. Except for the travel, I didn’t care about much of these things anymore.

Proving myself to myself had been another motivator. And I had proved myself to myself. I had accomplished some Herculean tasks and projects, under difficult conditions, with good and not so good people. And, though I hate to say it, I didn’t care about promoting health care and health care access anymore. I had done my part thoroughly and thoroughly well. It was time for someone else to take over these reigns.

I was at the top of my field, and social relationships equated with work relationships. I didn’t have friends outside of work. Many “friendships” were shallow in that they involved the machiavellian maneuverings you have to do when involved with work. My staff were not particularly honest and forthright with me, unnecessarily fearing for their jobs, if they were. And while I was surrounded by people every day, and I talked with people every day, and I played and worked with people every day, I felt very alone and lonely. My social connections were shallow or political or discolored by events. A few years earlier it was fun and challenging to manipulate these relationships. But now I yearned for something more real, more personal.

My life was going to continue to wither on the vine if I didn’t do something more drastic. I had to stop my world, and step off.

I had grown up in retail. My parents owned a pharmacy. They put me to work when I was 11 years old. I did so well, that they never put my younger brother or sister to work. [Still a psychological issue for me, though this is for another story…..]

When I graduated college, I looked for a non-retail pathway, because the money potential wasn’t there, and the social status potential wasn’t there, the hours were terrible, and the stresses that come with the monthly ups and downs in business were unpleasant.

Yet “retail” was in my blood. I always envisioned having a little retail store on the side. And when I was ready to make my change in careers, it was retail to which I jumped.

It wasn’t one big jump. Rather it was a managed transition over a period of two years. I made deliberate decisions. I pretested each of my ideas. I assembled the funds I needed to get started. And I started small.

The retail grew, had set-backs, grew again.

After a few years, I evolved from a passion for selling jewelry to one for making it. A lot of things were trial and error, but gradually I began to define a philosophy of design and build upon some great ideas.

I’m very happy to make a living in the creative arts. And to have some of my income and success flow from my designs for jewelry.

I have to admit that my family and friends were horrified at my decision. The saw it as a come-down. Loss of prestige. A failure.

But that is not what it felt like to me. I was happy, motivated, and reconnected to the world.

It’s less money. Less status. Less opportunity to travel. But every day, I wake up and go to work at something I love.

Some final words of wisdom:

1) Be purpose driven.

2) Surround yourself with other creative people who can be supportive of you as a person and as a designer

3) Be a continual learner. Styles, techniques, technologies and materials constantly change. As do fashions and tastes. And there are always new jewelry designers to admire and gain insights from.

4) Always set aside some time each day for reflection and self-care

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Oy Ve! The Challenges of Custom Work

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

Don’t Just Wear Your Jewelry…Inhabit It!

Two Insightful Psych Phenomena Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

A Dog’s Life by Lily

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Design: An Occupation In Search Of A Profession

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

Beads and Race

Were The Ways of Women or of Men Better At Fostering How To Make Jewelry

The Bridesmaid Bracelets

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

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