Working like an artist

As published on Medium here

My friend Billy Frey is a prolific artist. One of my favorite things about his art is that it’s constantly changing. Every project is totally unique, while clearly a product of the experience he’s gained along the way.

I’ve had lots of jobs in lots of different industries. Restaurant, nonprofit, marketing, social work, teaching, startup, and traveling the country in a van with my best friend selling on Etsy to later live in our friend’s garage in Minneapolis and shuck oysters for most of the summer… to name a few.

I’m super proud of everything I’ve done. I’ve never been fired and *almost always leave on great terms. *eat one belittling bosses x 2 🙂

I proudly carry my experience to the next job and do better work because of it. On a yoga mat last night I realized this is the Billy Frey way! I (and maybe you?) reinvent my career like an artist!

If this is why I love Billy’s art, why can’t my job experience be a great reason to love and believe in myself and career path?

Not boring: Billy Frey – THE AGE COCOON

Trust your boredom. It’s your spidey sense. The hum that never goes away once introduced.

When a job gets boring I get restless. If you want to pay me to stare at a computer mindlessly and are offended that I’m moving on, you’re a little bit cray.

Society commonly looks at this negatively. You seem to jump around a lot. How long do you think you’ll you work here? I try to answer honestly, not knowing what the future will bring. I explain why I’m a good fit based on my professional experience.

Do they really want another person to lie about a 10-year plan? I’m finally realizing I don’t want to work for someone who does. I’ve signed 1-year agreements that all parties quietly realized were completely non-legally binding. All of us can walk whenever we want.

People come and go, this is a fact in any industry. Let’s make the process a whole lot more constructive.

Real chefs know: The Captain ft. Manimal — Word Up


Chefs get it, but with much sacrifice (long hours, physically-demanding work, low wages, lack of benefits). They might leave in a few months if it’s not a good fit. They give notice or leave on the spot if a wack owner doesn’t hear them and take action to make things better. It’s up to the next restaurant to value their experience and create a badass-enough environment to keep them.

Fact is we all can do this, we’re just scared. What if other industries stepped up their game and we didn’t have to be?

Companies could strive to make work awesome. Regular check-in’s creating a space for honest dialogue about your level of motivation. Next-level transparency obviously improving the work you do for them.

Let’s remove the doom feeling around asking a manager about movement, or telling them you’re thinking of transitioning. After a couple months and 200+hours of dedicated hard work, I’d like to believe a supervisor knows I’m not going to leave them in shitty situation.

What if we could sit down and talk about specific reasons I’m not feeling motivated or challenged. On top of that, what if we didn’t need to make a rash decision right then? We could regroup in a week to see if either side came up with good reasons for staying vs leaving.

Supervisors — doesn’t this sound better than employees secretly job-hunting at work, carrying negative vibes around the workplace because of wanting to leave or feeling trapped and discouraged, creating a toxic environment of false-security and entitlement to a position they no longer want to do or aren’t performing as well as they could be anyways?

Maybe staying in one place is the last thing we should do. Maybe getting all the experience we can will keep sending us in awesome new directions — creating space to learn even more.

Whether or not you consider yourself an artist, be proud of your ability to reinvent yourself! Don’t let people treat the knowledge you gain from trusting your heart as pipe dreams or failures.