Passion vs The Economy

Mar 7, 2011 by

Fifteen years ago when I left an 18-year career in corporate travel management to become a professional visual artist, I had made a life-changing choice of Passion over Money. Little did I realize that the decision to follow my passion would soon become a cyclical battle of doing what I loved, then picking up a day job, then quitting the day job to do what I loved, then finding another day job.

I had read the book, “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow”, and while I was certainly doing what I loved, the appropriate amount of money was slow in coming.

Then the economy tanked and I found myself repeating the words I started hearing over and over in the news, on the radio, from friends and relatives, and especially from fellow artists……We’re in difficult times. Art just isn’t selling these days. There aren’t any jobs out there, so you better take what you can find. Nobody’s spending. Small businesses can’t compete with big corporations. The rich get richer, and the poor….. well, you know the rest.

I was buying into scarcity. And the more I fed the poverty beast, the longer it took to sell a piece of art. I started getting scared. At 53, with very little set aside for a pension, I began to worry about how I was going to manage financially as I got older.

So I started looking for a job. A full-time job with security and benefits and a regular paycheck. And I found one. That offered to pay me more than ten times what I’ve been paying myself over the years. I started dreaming about all the things I’d do……travel to New Zealand, buy a condo in Montreal, write a book, create more “edgy” art without worrying about whether or not it will sell. The security was tempting.

But as the interview progressed, I learned that the position being offered was not a nice, tidy little 9-to-5 where I’d have nights and weekends off to fulfill my creative inclinations. They agreed to pay me a lot of money, but in return they would own me.

Forget about lunch breaks, or any breaks at all….there would be no time. Most people stayed late. Many weekends would be spent traveling, plus I’d be expected to be back in the office, bright and early on Monday morning. Sure, I’d get days off here and there…..but I’d probably have to check in from home. I’d have a laptop that would be my constant companion, and they might call me from time to time if any questions came up.

I felt all those dreams, of travel and condos and creating art, sizzle. I might have the money, but I definitely wouldn’t have the time. And although it was a position that I knew inside and out from my former work experience, it was a left-brained job with zero room for creative thought.

Then I looked around the office. Almost everyone was at least 20 years younger that I was, and I thought, “I’ve already been down this road.” I did my time in the corporate world, working 60- to 80- hour workweeks. I left this exact scenario fifteen years ago to follow my passion……

That’s when I realized that I had been managing my art career with one foot out the door. “I can always get a day job” was my mantra when money got tight, instead of, “What can I do to bring more income into my business?”

So I stepped out of scarcity and into abundance and heard an audible “snap” as my energy shifted.

Work started selling. I started creating Prosperity Bowls and online sales took off for the very first time in over a decade. Ideas for creating royalty-based earnings boosted my pension potential. All of a sudden, I realized I could travel AND turn it into an income-producing venture. I could find ways to barter or houses-sit for condo time in Montreal, I could leverage my skills into freelance positions which would give me the flexibility to create and write. And I could certainly sell more art.

I was almost tempted to trade Money for Passion, but now I know that I don’t need to choose one over the other. Even as an artist, especially as an artist, I can have both. Stay tuned!

Serena Kovalosky’s Prosperity Bowls can be found online by clicking here.

About the Author

Serena Kovalosky Has Written 10 Articles For Us!

Serena Kovalosky left an 18-year corporate career in the travel industry in search of a more creative lifestyle. Establishing herself as a successful professional sculptor, Serena now travels with the eye of an artist, exploring artists' studios, eclectic restaurants and cultural gems off the beaten path, chronicling her discoveries and sharing stories of the creative people she meets along the way.
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  1. Thanks for the inspiration, Serena! Your “one foot out the door” and “audible ‘snap'” images are very clear and memorable. I wish you continued success!

  2. R u an an entrpreneur w/one foot out the door? Passion vs The Economy #art #careers #follow #your #passion #self #image

  3. I love all your comments! I think we have much to offer the world when we can manage to live our passion AND make the money we need to support it. It’s more powerful than any “big salary” can offer us, and it inspires others to do the same. – SerenaK

  4. I know the feeling of wanting to earn big bucks but having your life owned by someone else. Inspiring post, Serena!

  5. Rebecca Crichton

    Love this story and I needed it to remind me that I can create the wealth and life I need in my retirement by fully commiting to the activities that bring me joy and satisfaction. It means reaching our and sharing those with others instead of pulling back and thinking I am all on my own. Rebecca

  6. Awesome….to know what your passion is and then to follow it, from my perspective, is big all by itself but to really make your life work based upon it is really amazing. Love the “audible snap”!

  7. I know exactly what you mean! I just left my corporate job and I’m amazed at how much more creative I am without all that dull responsibility hanging over my head. I used to have an idea for an essay or a poem every few months, now it’s every few days! I never really understood exactly how much of myself I was selling in exchange for that corporate salary before.

    • Dorothea

      Serena – I loved this. You had the courage to do WHAT YOU LOVE and it provides with you with bliss and support.
      Thanks for sharing.

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