From Factory Girl to Creative Provocateur


Once upon a time I was a factory worker making Oreos for America. It was a great union job that paid well. So well that despite the long 13-hour shifts and infrequent time off, I was willing to forego a life balance of work and play. I did not create very often or see friends or family nearly enough due to the demanding schedule of the job, But It Paid Well. So well. Too well.


Even though the job was crushing the life right out of me, I couldn't imagine leaving. I suffered from what is known as Golden Handcuff Syndrome. This is seen most often in the corporate world where someone is making bank but the corporate job is draining on their vitality.


My factory job was depleting me in body and soul. I finally had my crossroads moment where I needed to decide what kind of life did I want to live. "How much is my vitality worth," I asked myself, "and am I just selling it to the highest bidder?"



With that question my imagination was provoked to begin to daydream and imagine a different kind of life for myself. I began to realize that if I wanted to make a big life change that it was going to require big life decisions. Disruptive decisions. Reckless decisions, like leaving a well paying job for an uncertain path.



But if you want a different outcome -- and I did-- then you've got to be willing to make different decisions, and I was .... I was more than willing :


I was Resolved.


I hired myself a lifecoach to help me sort out how to go from being a factory worker to living a new life with a creative path. The first thing and most important thing we had to tackle was my Mindset about money and security. I could write a series of posts about that process (and in the future I will!!). Eventually I sorted out how to think about earning money in a different way as a creative entrepreneur and that there was plenty of opportunity for someone like me to make a go of it. With my art skills, my ability to teach art to others, and my Indomitable spirit to change my story, I knew I had to just make the leap of faith and go after it. If not now, then when? I did not want to let another year or two or ten to slide by while I planned the perfect escape. I realized I had to accept an uncertain outcome and loss of security if I was going to discover whether or not I had what it takes to build a creative way of life for myself. I had to make the leap of faith and trust for the proverbial net to appear.




It has not quite been two years since I resigned from wearing my blues. In that time I have accomplished quite a bit. I am a core instructor at Vancouver Art Space. I also teach at the local community college and will resume classes there once COVID permits in-person classes to resume. I have launched online classes and have a Facebook art group of nearly 300 members. I sell art on a regular basis and am steadily growing my patronage.


Just today I spent my time getting a print made for a buyer and dropping off art to a local winner of a giveaway I just had. Later this week a local buyer will stop by my studio to pick up their art and another potential patron will stop by to view a large artwork they are considering. Earlier this week I taught a class at VAS. New students are signing up despite the pandemic. Just about every single day I make art. I am living the life I daydreamed about when the whir of factory machines filled my ears. I've had some panicked moments for sure. This new life I'm forging has had it's share of restless nights and tears as self-doubt pummeled me. But I have stayed the course.


I am no longer a factory girl. I am an artist, a full-time Creative Provocateur who inspires and provokes the imaginations of my students and patrons just about every single day. I am building the life I once dreamed of day after day. It is my greatest art to create : my very own life.


To learn more details about my transition from factory worker to full-time creative, click HERE to listen to a podcast interview I did where I fill in the blanks.




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© 2017 by Pamela Sue Johnson