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How Tech Skills Saved My Multi-Passionate Career

 

When I watched marketing and business expert Marie Forleo’s video about multi-passionate careers, I breathed a big sigh of relief. Finally, someone who understood me.

I’m one of those people with a lot of irons in the fire. I find myself wishing that I could divide my life into 4 recurring cycles, so that each year I spent 3 months writing, 3 months playing music, 3 months cooking professionally, and 3 months learning something completely new. I’m not ruling out the quarterly creative model, but for now I’m left pursuing ALL of my passions at once, AND trying to earn income.

The world said, “Pick one thing and do it well.” But my whole being said, “How can I choose?!?!”

from Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

from Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken

A year ago, I was having a meltdown about my multi-passionate career conundrum. After traveling and cooking in restaurants after college, I was just leaving Boston with a fresh graduate degree in English when I decided I didn’t actually want to teach college. Erm, oops. On top of my academic career misfires, I was having a crisis about moving to what I referred to as “the middle of nowhere” (::cough:: Waco, TX), where I would work alongside my husband (then fiancé) at the pizza restaurant he had opened in my absence.

I had worked in arts administration in Boston, and I maintained my food blog, but Central Texas isn’t exactly a hiring hub for museums and arts nonprofits, and my blog wasn’t producing what you’d call “income.” I didn’t want to use my six years of higher education to do office work I was qualified for out of high school. So I ended up pouring beers and tossing pizzas in our restaurant, thinking about my student loans, and feeling like a burnout.

And it’s no longer the 90s. And this wasn’t a Richard Linklater movie. Burnouts aren’t cool.

I didn’t know how to cobble together a meaningful career that felt empowering, challenging, and creative, but was also financially lucrative. I had a notion that I should learn more about “computers,” but I didn’t know what that would look like.

So, I made like the recovering academic I am and I signed up for a class. Only this was a Skillcrush 101 class, where I went from knowing nothing about “tech” to building my own personal site with HTML and CSS within three weeks. OMG it was so…FUN! I was instantly addicted to building websites. Not only was it so much more creative than I had imagined, it was also challenging and (thankfully!) it paid. For the first time, this English major knew how to do something that other people wanted to pay for.

Whoa.

At first I had a minor panic attack about how I had just added YET ANOTHER passion to my bag of tricks. ::flaps arms:: This was not the plan!!! I realized quickly, though, that tech isn’t an isolated passion. It runs into all the other aspects of my creative self. Instead of hiring someone to revamp my blog, I can do a lot of it on my own, for example. And there’s a lot of mental crossover between making something happen with code and making it happen with flour.

And did I mention that it pays? I’m no Bill Gates, but unlike my writing or cooking, there is a more direct relationship between how much work and dedication I put into tech and how much financial payoff I get out of it.

As in I can count in $100s not $1s…

I recall a mentor in my early days at college telling me that if I majored in computer engineering, I’d secure a stable income and plenty of time and freedom to pursue my artistic passions. At the time I thought, Sheesh, why would I spend my limited time learning to computer program when I could just sing and read and draw things, like I already know I love doing? I’m starting to see how much truth there was in that advice, though.

So, creatives out there: I’m here reporting from the other side. All that “computer stuff” really can give you the time and financial security you long for to pursue your other passions. And I don’t think you can ever have too many (or too few) degrees to get started.

Plus, there’s an EVEN bigger secret I want to share with you: all that “computer stuff” is actually as creative as your “creative stuff.”

Want to dive into a new career in tech? Join Skillcrush’s supportive community of learners in a Skillcrush Web Design or Web Development Blueprint.

 

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13 comments

  1. Verma Mohanlal Replied

    I am Verma Mohanlal and want to make a new Website for Typing at Home job and Typing Institute also. Thanks.

  2. voxprincess Replied

    Wow, this really spoke to me! Thanks for sharing your story… it gives me so much hope that I can do this, too! I recently graduated with my degree in history and have been working as a museum tour guide. I also play music, collect fossils, you know how the list goes on. I just signed up for the Skillcrush Web Developer Blueprint and I’m so excited to get started!

  3. chauees Replied

    There’s hope! Loved your article, Randle, about being multi-passioante and making it through. I’m a (hopeless) recent college graduate, and have been struggling between my writing, blogging and cooking passions as well…not as lucrative as I’d hoped. I’d already explored the graduate school option, realized I was just copping out, and have finally sat down to ground myself in my job search – while getting as much as I can from SkillCrush. I’ll be taking one of the blueprints soon enough (once time and money comes in!), and felt so relieved (and inspired) when I read this article. (THERE IS A GOD!)

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  10. Jennifer K Replied

    Dear Randle, loved the article. I’m much the same; I have degrees in both journalism and theatre arts, I love to bake and I’m also attempting to write a screenplay! I’ve been working as a French translator for years but want to branch out and try something new. Skillcrush 101 has been more fun and creative than I expected, although I still have a few more lessons to finish. Thanks for the article!

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  12. Randle Replied

    Hi Jennifer! It’s so great to hear that telling about my creative person story has been helpful! I took the Web Dev Blueprint, but before that was offered, I took the standalone 101 and 102. I think that you could do what I’m doing with just the web design blueprint, but I really wanted to learn about Git and Github, which were offered in the web dev one. Git and github are necessary for doing professional coding (but you COULD learn about them outside of class if you really want to take the web design track). Want to talk more though? I’d love to know about you and your friends situation and what you’re wanting to do exactly. Email hello@skillcrush.com and then it will get to me. :)

  13. Jennifer Replied

    Wow! Randle, thank you for this article. You’ve described what so many of my friends and I have been struggling with and wondering, especially as creatives looking for more lucrative ground. I’ve just taken an HTML & CSS course and feel the same as you did – thrilled and, yes, a little anxious about whether this was just another bright, shiny object to chase. It is great to hear that it is enhancing your creativity rather than squashing it. Which track did you decide to take – Designer or Developer blueprint? Again, thank you so much for your article!

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