Friday, 28 May 2010

The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People

I've had this book for a while but only recently began to delve into it's wisdom. I use the word 'wisdom' because unlike career guides that simply match you up to a fitting career then send you on your way, TCGFCAUP goes on to explain why creative people often find it difficult to fit into conventional jobs.

In my past life as a secretary, I was sent on a course that would match my personality to suitable careers. My then employer was closing down and they were doing all they could to help their staff on their way to new jobs. I daresay they were trying to reduce the amount of redundancy money they would have to pay out but at the time it seemed a very decent gesture to make.

There were five of us on the course - a manager, two supervisor level staff, another secretary and me. Over two days, we worked through the exercises, took part in discussions, filled out questionnaires and generally enjoyed time away from work. On the third day, we met with the leader of our course and were given our results. My four colleagues were all pleased to learn that they were well matched to their jobs. Well done. Pat on the head. Off you go and apply for another 'more of the same' position. My results, however, were different.

I was told that I was not 'conscientious', not a detail person and most definitely not secretary-material. To be fair, I knew this already but hearing a professional careers counsellor confirm my opinion felt good, in theory. What didn't feel good was the underlying attitude to the reveal that not being conscientious, not being a detail person, not liking routine and repetition meant I was lazy and of little value to the 'normal' world of employment. In short, I was left with the impression that I should "buck up my ideas" and apply myself, forget my dreams of being a writer because dreams didn't pay the bills.

The book's author, Carol Eikleberry, a careers counsellor and a self confessed creative, explains that artistic people are not only worthwhile in themselves but can add value to the world. Their divergent thinking and ease at finding problems (to be solved) are key to their personality type and not simply the foibles of a moody, arty farty type. In essence, TCGFCAUP empowers creative people to have confidence in the validity and value of their skills.

The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People is available for purchase from Amazon and other book outlets.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Colour Inspiration

My new favourite things are these gloriously orange sandals. I wore them yesterday for the first time. The metal buckle may have chafed the toes on my left foot and I'm unsure whether the wiggle they created resembled the lurch of Frankenstein's Bride rather than the gait of Marilyn Monroe, but they made me smile.

It got me thinking about colour - how it can affect our mood and the associations different colours have for us.

Orange for me speaks of optimism, enthusiasm and joy. It makes me think of sunrises, of roaring fires and exotic tiger lilies. To other people. it could bring memories of Hallowe'en pumpkins, autumn leaves or the robes of a Buddhist monk.

Using those associations as inspiration for a story can lead to interesting scenarios and plotlines. Take my sunrise for instance. Sunrises suggest new beginnings. A roaring fire can be romantic or a vehicle for introspection. Beautiful tiger lilies may be a gift from a lover. Fallen tiger lily petals can signify the decay of a relationship or the end of passion.

Take a fresh look at that blue sky or the colour of your favourite scarf and see what associations, and inspiration, you can find.