Life’s Too Short…

so you can't let people push you around. Not for money, Not for your love of a job, Not for anything–you just don't have time and energy to waste on that! At least, I don't.

I love teaching classes and I totally love this hobby–I'm immersed in it every day. I guess technically it really is a “job”–a friend of mine today who I used to work with at the County was just saying she really envies me because I get to do what I love for my job. I don't make much money compared to her though! LOL I am really happy with where I am at in my scrapping “career” right now–I am teaching at great stores, on a super fun creative team online, get to meet awesome ladies at all of the stores and on the forums I am on, get to chitchat with long time customers/friends, work with some really nice store owners, and I make my own schedule, 100%. That is pretty darn cool! And I get to help charities through Scrapbook Royalty too!!

This wonderful scrapping wonderland isn;t so wonderful all the time, sadly. Once you start working at a store, or teaching there, or being involved on boards and really just any kind of “putting yourself out there” as they say, you hear (and sometimes even experience) things that just make you wonder where on earth have you ended up. Luckily I am not in that place right this second but I have experienced some pretty nasty things while just trying to enjoy and share this hobby. And I have seen several other instructors/designers, alot more accomplished and well known than I'll ever be, expressing discomfort and sometimes downright suffering lately because of the things going on with their “job”. It just makes me wonder, “When did it all get so sinister and nasty?” And then there's stuff like blogs where people attack each other, emails in all caps back and forth between people….yuck! I'm glad to say I know firsthand it isn't all that way–thank goodness!!

I know this hobby is about fun and when you mix that with the business part and making money parts, well, sometimes there is a mismatch–like trying to mix oil and water–it's just always a balance and always a challenge and you never quite can get it to work just perfectly. It might be the people involved–in fact it is almost always based on the people involved. And the people who sometimes get caught in the middle are instructors and designers–we love our craft and because at least someone thinks we are “good” at it (thanks goodness!!), they have given us the chance to teach or design for them. But there are strings attached, some long, some short, some invisible, some made from barbed wire—you never know what you are going to get until you get in and start teaching for someone. And then once you are in, esp in the bad situations, it is really tricky trying to get out. For me, I have had my share of the entire rainbow of experiences. Right now I am enjoying several stellar stores who are just awesome and we have a great relationship. But in the past I have been in some pretty gnarly situations.

Sadly, I think the root of any problems I have ever had has been communication. And it seems so as well for the other people I have seen be affected in these situations. And throw in some immaturity, lack of experience, a need for the cash, and then you have the mixings for a really unhappy relationship. And how does that foster creativity?

For the last year or so I have been working on developing a way to deal with these kinds of problems. And also a way for instructors to share their successes, share their creativity, share their knowledge, and to create a network and place for creative fellowship. Because in the end we all want the same thing essentially–to do what we love and make a living on it if we can.

I am starting a guild. My vision is that the guild will provide support to instructors and designers as well as provide a professional certification for those instructors who are members. That latter part is a little far off I think but the guild itself…it will be taking off shortly. So if you are an instructor or designer and are intersted in sharing your expertise, learning more about the business end of teaching, and just finding other instructors and designers with whom to swap advice and support, then please contact me. I'm looking for a few good designers and instructors to share in the fun! ‘Cuz life is just too short to wallow in the crapola–let's rise above it all!

Author: Jennifer Priest

It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer enjoys crafts of all genres from sewing to scrapbooking to jewelry with a little dabbling in the mixed media world. Her style is approachable and she wants everyone who sees her work to feel that they too can embrace creativity and make their home and life beautiful.

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