No one said that just because we are self employed that we have to like every aspect of our jobs. As with any occupation, there is good and bad. I suppose the trick is to be able to do much more of the good stuff and keep the bad stuff to a minimum. I think for the most part, I am able to accomplish that. But sometimes you just can’t avoid doing stuff you don’t really like.
Some of you may remember way back in January when I teamed up with another designer who makes awesome painting patterns and created a surface that she would be able to paint on for a piece that she was publishing. It was a giant snowflake puzzle, based on my original snowflake candle tray design. She had seen the tray somewhere and had a great idea of making the center area a puzzle.
Her name is Monika Brint and I think she did a fantastic job of making a cute design. Her website is HERE if you want to see her other wonderful designs. Here is the finished piece:
Monika asked me if I would be willing to provide the surfaces and be listed as a source in the article for those who don’t cut their own wood and want to purchase the wood pieces. I naturally agreed to do so, as I thought it would help bring new customers to my business and also would be a way to make a little extra money on the side.
Long story short, I spent part of yesterday cutting out some of the snowflakes that were ordered.
I did not have fun.
When I got my new Excalibur 21” scroll saw, I was asked a couple of times by others why I didn’t go for the 30” saw. Having a bigger throat meant that I would be able to cut bigger pieces. In this world of people always having to have the biggest and best of everything, I will be the first to step up and say that I don’t need (or want) the biggest and bestest scroll saw. After cutting this 16” diameter piece for a couple of hours, I couldn’t imagine myself wanting to do anything bigger.
My good friend Cari and I used to have a saying between us.
“We never wanted to know how to milk a cow.”
What the heck does that have to do with anything you may wonder? We figured if we had a cow and knew how to milk it, it would open the possibility that someone, some day would ask us to do so. And that is one thing I can’t ever see myself wanting to do.
Now I am going to add to that list and say “I never want to own a 30” scroll saw.”
Now before all you guys and girls who make gigantic pieces start harassing me, let me say with there is nothing wrong with cutting bigger pieces – if that is what you enjoy doing. Truth be told that I see nothing wrong with cutting large items. As a matter of fact, I admire people who do it a great deal. I just don’t find any pleasure whatsoever in doing something like that myself.
I found yesterday that the couple of hours I spent cutting the snowflakes was the first time since I got my new saw in April that I really didn’t like what I was doing. It was cumbersome and heavy and my arms and wrists got tired and even though the cuts in the piece were very simple and basic I considered the entire job -well – a chore. I found every blade change a pain in the patoodie and even though I put on my favorite music to try to make an icky task more pleasant, when that final cut was finished, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed or sad as I usually am when I finish cutting – I was thrilled!
They say that in order to appreciate what you have you need to walk in someone else’s shoes once in a while and this was a very clear example of how effective that philosophy can be. I am not one to use absolute and extreme phrases, but I almost want to say that I will never enjoy doing pieces like that, and it will be rare before I get myself into something like that again.
Now I had a couple of ways to wriggle out of it. My partner Keith offered to cut it for me. So did Leldon. But me being my pigheaded self decided that I was going to be the one to do it. Why? I just don’t know. I suppose I still have the mentality that I need to do these types of things within my business. Oh, and I also wanted to earn the extra money to be honest. With Christmas coming up and all, the little bit of extra would be nice.
Do I regret taking this job on in the first place? Not at all. I think that it may be another branch that I can add to my business. Monika was a dream to work with and I have admired her designs for many years. Just being able to collaborate with her on a project was a treat and I hope to do it again some day.
I think that the most important lesson that I needed to learn in all of this is that taking on jobs such as this is sometimes necessary in order to help my business grow. However, I need to allow myself to let go on this type of work and sub-contract it out to others who are willing and able to do it (and may even ENJOY it!)
Thank goodness everyone in this world doesn’t think the same. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea, doesn’t mean that others don’t like doing this type of cutting. Just as all others don’t always enjoy cutting some of the small intricate pieces that I like doing so much. That is what makes the world so interesting.
So the moral of the story is that I need to learn to choose when to let go of things and allow others to help out. I may lose a little control here and there, but trying to do every single aspect of my business will only serve to limit how successful I can be. I am only one person. In this case, my time would be better spent designing I believe and the business will benefit from it far more than if I continued to take on jobs such as this for myself.
Lesson learned. :)
I see this as a crossroad in my businesses’ life. I need to make some important decisions on these types of things. I need to have trust in those who work with me and little by little let go of small jobs like this so I can concentrate on the big picture. Only then will I be able to continue to grow.
Today will be spent getting my materials to to the magazine for my calendar project and finishing up the new ornaments. I look forward to seeing them come to being and they are all cut and just need the embellishments and finishing touches. That is the part of my job I love to do and I am always thrilled to see them come to life.
I can’t wait to get started.
I hope you all have a great day too. Remember – it isn’t a ‘job’ when you are doing something you love.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"