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Was it worth quitting a well-paid job? Or …Insanity

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in General Announcements

Last year in January I quit my job as a paralegal, which I was for 17 years and decided to dedicate my time to the n*Studio full time. Do Art and teach workshops. If you would have told me 10 years ago when my ambition was still to be a successful lawyer one day, that this would be my future, I would have told you that you are NUTS!

Recently one of my former lawyer-bosses and I had coffee together and he asked me how I was doing with teaching workshops and “Was it worth quitting a well paid job?”. He didn’t mean it in a disapproval way -quite the opposite – everyone in my former law office supported my idea although they are still telling me I should come back. (if you read it…sorry Dudes – the answer is still NO – LOL)

This was an excellent question -I am sure there are people in my family and friend’s circle that wonder about the very same thing. And it is a good question to think about and put it in words.

Now let’s be honest and state the reasons that are not part of WHY I teach – let’s get over this first:

I do not teach because it is such an awesome money-making machine…quite opposite – LOL. I will not deny that it is my living and that it is important for me to make some money, but I do not in my dreams expect this to be something that will make me rich. I sweat as much about bills and spending as any other person that probably reads my blog. It is also a big risk if you do not know, if you will teach next month, next year, if the sign ups will be well for the next class etc. And yes …it sometimes leads to a bit sleeplessness. But you know what ? All the reasons below for why I teach make it worth it!

I do not teach because I work less than in a law office. Yep- surprise huh? Even with all the stress in a law office and all the deadlines I was not working as much as I do right now. Yes I worked over time there too a lot but my weekend was a weekend and when I finally went home, I closed the door in my mind to that office and didn’t open it till I was back there. But…believe me…I smile way more now when I did working at the law office;)

I do not teach because the traveling takes me to all those different countries. Yes, I do see a lot of the world and that is awesome, but I traveled before a lot too and that was just for pleasure. There is many many times were I just fly in to a place, see maybe a tiny bit of the neighborhood and then the store, my sleeping place and the airport and that is it. If I would add more days to see the area, I would not make any money at all. Traveling for a job is tiring but it also makes you appreciate everything you have at home even more.

Here are the reasons why I enjoy teaching:

When I teach I do what I love …playing with paint and paper and other media

I love meeting so many different people. I can truly say that I have enjoyed every single class I taught .When I was working as a paralegal I saw people non-stop too but they weren’t there because they were happy. There is rarely someone going to a law office because they have a really really good time right now and just wanna hang out with a lawyer. But in a class I have people who want to do something creative and on top they are generously spending their precious time with me, because they want to. That is quite amazing and I am so thankful for this!

I am so giddy about all those possibilities to be creative – I want to share them. I mean really why would you not share them?

I truly believe that EVERYBODY is creative and that this creativity just has to be free-ed. I thought for the longest time of my life I wasn’t creative and I am so happy I was proved wrong.

My Students never cease to amaze me and inspire me to no end. I learn constantly something new in my workshops through my students. Seeing their creative take on my lessons is the best of all. Even in an Online Workshop seeing the work of my students is my favorite reward.

Teaching pushes me to do new things, get out of the box, check out things thoroughly.

I was never as happy in my entire work life as I am right now. I feel so full filled like never before. I am curios of every single new workday and what it might bring, what projects might get done, what people I will met .

;

;

So, was it worth quitting a well paid job?

What would be your dream job if you could choose (think no boundaries) or if you love your current job, what do you do?

huge hugs

Nat

Nat

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Comments (47)

  • Louise Nelson

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    Thank you so very much for sharing Nat :) It is something I had been wondering myself :)

    I ed be an abstract contstruct painter or a fashion designer :)

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Louise – an abstract construct painter- that sounds cool. A fashion designer- I would have never imagined that you dream of that- how cool. I love hearing the dreams :) Hugs Nat

      Reply

  • kissinia

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    Hi! Brilliant post. This is what I always think about. I just got a job I was looking for for ages. However, I am still dreaming about course in Art Therapy – and this is my kind of plan. I want to work as an art therapist in a foreseen future. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      That sounds awesome. Art Therapy – I love it! I am sure you can make you dream work! Think in small steps :) hugs Nat

      Reply

    • scrappegal

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      What is an Art Therapist? ;)

      Reply

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        Nathalie Kalbach

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        Renate – from Wikipedia – because I couldn’t say it better

        The American Art Therapy Association describes it this way:

        “(a)rt therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.”

        Reply

        • scrappegal

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          Cool!!! Especially since that is exactly how I started scrapping for real! Going trew something bad, my scrapping kept me going! :)

          Reply

  • Finnabair

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    Nat, I’m so happy to read it for 2 reasons:) First – I’m so happy for you! secong – it expresses well the feelings I have too about myself and quiting regular job… thank you!!!!!!! :* Love you girl!

    Reply

  • Luciana True Colors

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    Adorei o que vc escreveu hoje !!! realmente devemos seguir nosso coração e fazer aquilo que mais gostamos !!!!
    Beijoooosss

    Reply

  • Michelle

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    WoW! That is the question that I receive often as well. Being a marketeer was fun and creative, and in some way even easy compared to the life I have now. But being in the place I am right now, makes me happier. Having a scrapbookstore and developing workshop is not something that is easy in that way: economicaly hard times, the margins and costs for shipping or having a store, etc, etc. Not to mention the hard work and long days. Defenitly making less money while working harder. But I feel the same: Even do you have to work hard, working on creativity, being your own boss.. it makes it worth while each day!
    Enjoy what you are doing, as long as it makes you happy! Happiness is not expressed in money.

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Michelle, so happy to hear this! And yes you are right, Happiness is not expressed in money :) huge hugs , Nat

      Reply

  • scrappegal

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    Thank you SO much for sharing this experience!!!
    My ultimate BIGGEST dream is to manage to work with art/mixed media/scrapbooking for a living, one way or another!! I just have to find out in what way I can manage to do that, what kind of approach that would be doable….
    My husband wants me to start something for myself…. But I have to find out as I said, which approach I could use….
    For now I am the founder of a Norwegian scrapbooking forum. I am learning a lot about sponsoring, organizing, and about operating a “business”…

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      The Norwegian Scrapbooking Forum is awesome. If that is something that you love, make notes of what you like about it. Is it the bringing the people together, is it the writing, is it the community, is it the shared art. Slowly slowly it will bring you the answers of where you will find your passion and it might be totally bring you to different path, but it is worth listening ;) hugs Nat

      Reply

  • Kelly Belton

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    Hey Nat, as someone who also finds fulfillment in exploring her artistic side, thanks for posting this. Every time that I have to work out something stressful, it is in my studio surrounded by paint and ink and paper that I find my answer. I think that’s why people get so much out of your classes, because you encourage us to just let go and see what happens, and that is just so much fun! And freeing, and hard to imagine yourself doing. And that is why it is so much fun! See you Toronto EH!

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Ahhh Kelly – I love you bunches! Thanks! I so can’t wait to see you soon :) EH huge hugs, Nat

      Reply

  • Lin Brown

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    Well said Nat!!! So many artists feel exactly the same way as you and you explained it soo beautifully. I too really enjoy teaching and I enjoy it so much more now that I do not have the pressure of running my store.

    Lin x

    Reply

  • corinne (march)

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    bravo ! j’espère qu’un jour je pourrais faire un atelier avec vous ^^

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Merci Corinne :) I hope I will met you some day too ! Nat

      Reply

  • lh281106

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    It’s great to read about your change of direction, and I do understand very well your passion for sharing your enthusiasm for colour and what you can do with it with others not only online but also in real life. That is what I enjoy, when I once in a while teach tailoring and other crafts. :-)

    Reply

  • Ilona

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    It’s great to read about your change of direction, and what a change! I really like your idea of sharing your knowledge and ideas with others. Also, I do understand your passion for teaching, the positive energy that emerges, when people are sharing their ideas is great to experience.

    Reply

  • Lynn

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    Hi Nat;
    I loved reading your post. About 5 months ago I also gave up my job to work with my art full time. My husband told me to just quit everything and concentrate on what makes me happy and “see where it goes”. I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity. Since then I’ve been doing design work for my local store, have been so excited to be on several design teams and met my goal to be on a manufacturer’s design team. This is who I always was, and just needed the opportunity to realize that. Every morning I can’t wait to wake up and go into my studio. I’m truly blessed. I do miss working with my seniors with Alzheimers but now I volunteer. It’s not always about the money, it’s about what makes you happy! i always tease my husband and say “I work for buttons”. Have an awesome day!

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      I love “I work for buttons” you should make a button with this quote and wear it :) I am so happy to hear that you do what you love and that your husband is such a great supporter! and how wonderful you still volunteer working with Alzheimer patients. Huge hugs! Nat

      Reply

  • Birgit Kunte

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    Ein wundervoller Post, ich musste mal wieder bis über beide Ohren schmunzeln, du bist soooo süß :-), liebe Grüße Birgit

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL- wasn? War doch diesmal one Bee Gees :) Sei Gedrückt! Nat

      Reply

  • Vicki Dunn Chrisman

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    What an awesome and inspiring post Nat! There is NO DOUBT you are doing what you should be doing.. you are GREAT at it!

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Thank you Vic- you had a big impact on this :) huge hugs
      Nat

      Reply

  • Andrene

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    I dont think there is enough room here for me to become philosophical – lol. From childhood I have always wanted to be a veterinarian, preferably large animal. Flash forward to reality (haha) I got into law enforcement after college and have been doing that for 30 years which means I have to love my job b/c its not a profession you can stay in if you don’t enjoy it. In 3 years I will retire from my career and hopefully will be able to focus on crafting as a hobby that brings a little money in. (Of course a sugar daddy would be a big help financially ROFL). I admire you for taking that step away from the high paying job to do something you were destined to be. It would be a loss to the art media world if you weren’t doing what you do. So I dream of the day when I can have the time to create and play all day, everyday if I choose.

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Ohhh Andrene- I had a phase where I wanted to be a veterinarian – I even took Latin in school to be prepared for this- hahahah. Until I figured out that there is sometimes blood involved and that you have to put pets to sleep… ;)
      And you are right about that you sometimes have to learn to love your job! That is so true!
      And you made me laugh about the sugar daddy- hahahahah.
      Huge hugs to you!
      nat

      Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    I would like to teach scrapbooking to dogs. Thus combining two of my favorite things.
    OK, how about owning a scrappy store so that all the supplies are there and then also watching peoples dogs attached to the building (a huge fenced in area).

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Hey- Sue, maybe you are on to something with the Scrappy Dog Kennel :) How about being a dog whisperer who teaches the human beings how to be a good dog owner through scrapbooking? huge hugs!

      Reply

  • LaurieJay

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    Great post, Nathalie! In my working life I was not able to find something that made my heart sing. I stayed with jobs that would pay the bills and provide me some security in my old age. Now that I’m retired, I guess this is my old age, right? :-) But now I get to play to my heart’s content, even if I am spending all my pension money on supplies. Speaking of which……I took classes with you in Toronto in July (that’s me in the picture, on the left side, right behind Vicky) and you have unleashed the monster called spray inks!! Glimmer mist, Maya mist and Dylusions up the ying-yang! Such fun, and it keeps me off the streets. :-)

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      I so remember you Laurie!! You came all the way from Florida- where i am coming to teach in December too :) It was awesome meeting you. You made me laugh so much with the comment that the spraypaints keep you off the streets- LOL Wouldn’t that be a great advertisement for Spraypaints (think graffiti ;) ) Huge hugs to you!Nat

      Reply

  • shabbyshedkaz

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    Hi nat
    Omg this is so relevant to me right now, I so want to quit the pay the bills job…..more than anything!! I just need some courage, some balls and to just do it!! It’s difficult with family……but I just want to create full time……maybe one day it will happen :0)

    Thank you Nat xxx

    Kaz x

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      Kaz, there is a saying “what we fear the most is our calling!”. Go slowly, work towards it and it will happen. Believe it, make it happen, one step at a time. With your talent – I have no doubt you will do it! Huge hugs Nat

      Reply

  • Michelle LaPoint Rydell

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    Oh Nat, it makes me happy to know that you are happy with your career change! YOu are an awesome artist, and so good at relating to people – a perfect combo for teaching!

    Reply

  • Riikka

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    Thank you for this! <3

    I would love to make a living crafting and scrapbooking. It would be wonderful to be your own boss and maybe have the kids home part of the week…

    Reply

  • Carolyn Dube

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    Your passion and love of creativity shines through! The way you share your art encourages and inspires! Thank you!

    Reply

  • Rosie

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    How inspiring! I admire your courage and passion!

    Reply

  • Marsha.

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    So happy that you feel this way!!!

    BTW, I’m behind on the home art. In fact: I haven’t even watched the video’s… It’s been a crazy two weeks AND I’ve been to visit Berlin! I’ll catch up soon, I hope :-).

    Reply

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      Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL- Marsha- you can take all time in the world for your home*art :)
      I saw the pictures of Berlin- awesome!!! It reminded a lot of my trip with Julie there last year :) Huge hugs to you!

      Reply

  • Jean Marmo

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    Love that you took the step and it seems to have been the right one.

    Reply

  • Milagros

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    Great decision, the most important thing is to do something that makes you feel happy!
    Hughs

    Reply

  • Connie

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    Good on you! Always great to pursue your passion and share your talents and gifts with the world.

    Reply

  • Maria

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    Wow!! Natalie hi! I am a new follower on your blog and I am in a phase in my life that I am wondering exactly the same. Stop being a lab doctor- which was my dream- and follow my heart discovering the world of art, painting, paper- creating. But, as you mentioned, I have to make some money and in my part of world people don’t appreciate art so much. In one hand I have to think my family, my 4 children and on the other hand I can’t live without dirtying my hands with paints and inks and all this stuff that makes me a full person!
    Maybe I have to find a way to combine both! If something like this can be done!

    Reply

  • lisa

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    Love you Nat!!
    I think it’s takes a certain person to make these things work. When people ever use the work ‘luck’ to describe when you have made your own business work, I believe that little luck goes in to it. It’s down to hard work, perseverance and determination.
    You rock Nat and totally deserve what you have achieved xxx

    Reply

  • Shawna

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    I just googled jobs travel scrapbook classes and was scrolling through a bunch of nonsense and stumbled upon your blog. I am a paralegal and literally LOL’d reading your post. I am wanting to turn this paper crafting hobby of mine into a career (as you may note from my google search phrase I have no clue where to start) and loved reading your real life perspective on the fantasy vs. the reality of making your living off art and teaching. So thanks for this post!

    Reply

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