Continuing my series of people who made a change in their career, I introduce Traci Ford. I met her five years ago when she had recently left a Corporate America job and was working at the college where I ended up. True story: I walked in and took over from my predecessor and Traci told me the following week "I wasn't sure I wanted to like you, but it's hard not to." (Yes...I was hired to be her boss.) I've worked very closely with her now for all these years and you really get to know people and what is driving their passion: even the quiet ones like Traci. ;-)
You can call me one of the statistics of the Corporate America downsizing - but being let go from such a large company ended up being a great thing for my creative spirit. Don't get me wrong: as a single parent I relied on the salary that came with working in that field and I was also going to school at the same time (got my degree in 2003), but by being let go - I was able to concentrate more on my writing and got a job working in a creative field at the college I had been attending. Before that, my life was work, raise my son, go to school; rinse, repeat. As I am a creative person, working in Corporate America was not my "cup of java". It would leave me uninspired to write anything, therefore aside from daily journal entries, I wasn't doing too much writing at the time.
Before working in "the grind" I had always been in the creative field in someway. I graduated from the High School of the Performing Arts in NYC in the 80s and did several jobs such as working on film sets, the office assistant of producers, and even did my share of performing. I have always been a writer and have always wanted to return to the film industry. But life sometimes leads us down a different path and when you have a child, you know you need to do whatever you need to do to get food on the table and keep the roof over both of your heads. But once he was grown and I turned 40 - I figured, better now or never! But it wasn’t just one medium. I write screenplays, graphic novels and lately how moved into entrepreneurship of starting my own film company. I write every day and am now in pre-production with my first full-length feature film. Woo hoo!
Advice for someone who feels 'stuck':
Follow your dream. Even in this economy, money isn't everything! I make less than half of what I was making in Corp. America and although sometimes I miss the advantages of having a larger salary and it's a HUGE struggle, I have never been happier working at a "9-to-5" than I am now. As I said, I write more, I get to discuss entertainment all day long with my boss and co-worker(s) and at some point I figure I'll be doing what I love (writing/making movies) all the time and I'll truly be "richer" than I have ever been!