Have a career question? Ask the Career Guru.
Dear Career Guru:
I don’t feel like I am on the correct career path right now. About ten years ago I was my own boss with a growing business in high performance auto after-parts for Japanese and European cars. While I was on vacation my partner cleaned out the bank account and disappeared. Now I am doing service work for a commercial real estate company. I just got married and my wife wants to have a baby. I feel that I should get my career back on track before we start a family but I just don’t know how to do it. Any advice?
– Competing Needs
As you know, starting your own business takes a great deal of energy and time as well as the financial commitment involved with startups in addition to the cost of supporting yourself while your business takes off. I don’t know how old your wife is and what that might mean in terms of her biological clock, but if she has the time it probably would be better to wait until you established yourself before starting a family.
That said, let’s take a look at what it was that you liked about running your own business. First, let me tell you a little story.
There once was a man who loved his job helping build boats for poor people overseas. When that stint was over he looked around for the next thing to do. He figured that he loved helping people so he got a job doing another kind of altruistic work. Unfortunately, he hated his new job. He tried again and again with the same result. After going to a career counselor and taking a battery of tests it was determined that what he really loved was not helping people. It was building boats.
The point of this tale is that people often think that what they like is one thing when really it is something else. You might want to start another business, but then again, you might find that what you liked most about it could be found working for someone else. Did you like the variety of tasks, the ordering, customer interface, or the financial aspects of the business? Are you a born manager, sales person or marketer? When you had your own business, what about your day did you find the most satisfying? If you need help discovering what vocation would give you the most joy, the Washington State Career Services can help.
The fact that you had the skills to build a business is going to look great on your resume. I wouldn’t say too much about it being your own business, however, because there are some people who are concerned that the entrepreneur in you will make you too independent.
There are wonderful resources out there for people in your position. The Federal Small Business Administration can guide you step by step with its online resources if you plan to start a new business. They can also help guide you in terms of where to look for financing.
Seattle, has job hunt and career services that can help you find work if you want to be employed. Washington State has a go2worksource Job Fair calendar and free workshops in most career centers around the state. http://www.wa.gov/esd/workshops.htm. which cover a range of skills including job search strategies and interview techniques. Good luck, and let me know what route you decide to take.
Dear Career Guru:
I have a BA in Art History and am currently working in a gallery. However, I am interested in going further by becoming a museum curator. What daily tasks does a museum curator perform and what is the best masters program to get me there? I am particularly interested in African Art.
-Not Nikkied in the Budding Artist
Dear Not Nikkied:
I checked with Natasha Lewandrowski, Curatorial Coordinator for the Seattle Art Museum. She says that the best masters program depends on which art specialty you intend to pursue. Some programs are best for Asian art, for instance, and others for European, Modern or Art History. According to Natasha. you might also want to consider going even further and getting a PHD. Apparently, many of curators have that advanced degree as well.
Natasha sent along this wonderful description of what a curator is involved with. Follow this link to get to the complete rundown. She says, “an art curator’s job is to act as a translator between objects and the viewer. She does this by providing the context and historical interest of works of art as well as by guiding the viewer in how to understand the installation as a whole.
The first part of the curator’s task is to choose which objects will be shown. A Curator of contemporary art will spend this time speaking with and visiting artists and galleries, while a curator of ancient art would be researching objects and contacting other museums and collectors about objects. Once the curator has established a list of works she would like to display, she works with the museums’ conservation team to determine which works can be displayed.
After the curator has confirmed what will be in the installation, her next job is to decide how it will be shown. The curator coordinates the visual, written, audio, and special aspects of an exhibit in order to convey a particular telling of the objects to the viewer. She is responsible for writing the descriptions of objects that accompany them, as well as any dialog that might be present in an audio tour, or supporting auditory effects that might be present in the gallery.
Together with exhibition designers, the curator decides how the exhibit will look visually. In cases where the object was not originally meant to be viewed in a museum, she must take that into consideration when showing it.
The curator is also responsible assisting in the writing and editing of publications. She may be asked to give press interviews, lead tours, and give lectures about a show, or about her area of expertise. Many curators are also professors of art history and balance their curatorial duties with teaching.
The curator not only acts as a mediator between the art and the viewer, but also between the art and the museum. The curator helps the museum choose which objects to accession by considering how the piece will fit into the museum’s established collection. Once the curator determines a piece should be added to the collection, she presents her position to the museum for decision.”