Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Earning Supplemental Income: Old Skills Are New Again.

     If you read one of my earliest posts STEP ONE: Getting My Finances In Order, you may remember my statement about the importance of earning extra income to supplement my Social Security benefit. The idea seems simple enough, but the reality is a challenge in this tough economy. I've even interviewed for part-time jobs doing simple office work, and find I am competing with a least a dozen better qualified candidates. Lucky for me I have some old, seldom used talents on the back burner. Who knew I would come full circle to use the very skills that launched my career over forty years ago. Now I'm making ends meet in my Golden Years doing what I dreamed of doing from the start.

     When I was twelve years old I had a passion for drawing. One of my favorite things was to peruse the Sunday newspaper, studying the advertisements and the illustrations of the newest fashions, appliances, housewares and even automobiles. I knew that somewhere someone was working away at a drawing board, creating the drawings that filled those pages. I was determined that one day I would be one of those artists too. That's exactly what I did. My very first real job was as a staff illustrator for the long gone Ivy's Department Store. I was paid almost nothing, and worked in deplorable conditions in a tiny mezzanine office packed with a dozen other artists and half dozen copywriters. I was never happier in my life. 

     Now I'm finding all these years later, that there are very few illustrators left. In this new age of computers and digital everything, the skill of drawing has fallen by the wayside. Surprisingly even with all the information available at the flick of a fingertip, I am discovering that many designers, manufacturers and even Creative Directors have a hard time communicating visually. They need someone like me to turn the idea in their head into an image others can see and understand. Whether it's the conceptual design for a new light fixture or the placement of a furniture collection in a room setting, I am uncovering a whole new market for skills I thought I'd never use again. Granted I'll never get rich being an illustrator. But I knew that forty years ago. What I can do is make a little extra cash to fill in my financial gaps, and maybe even save enough for that trip to Paris. 

     The thing is you just never know what opportunities are out there. By knocking on one door, many other open up to you. More importantly you will find the skills you need you have had for a lifetime.

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