Yes, I have another new job. No, I did not replace Crazy Wisdom, but my other job at a grocery store. I now spend half my week at the new Ann Arbor location for Catching Fireflies, a "whimsical gift gallery" that sells all kinds of fun, crafty things for the home and more. (You can shop online, so even if you aren't in the Southeast Michigan area, check it out!) My roommate Kimmy got a job there first, then when another position became available, I was ready to throw my hat in the ring, too.
Leaving the grocery store was extremely anticlimactic. I'd worked for the company since 2008, starting in California and transferring to Michigan to be closer to my family when my father became ill.
On my last night at work in San Francisco, a girl brought in a cake and the managers wrote off some goodies for us all to share in a little farewell feast. Later, I had a going-away party at a nearby bar and many coworkers came to show their support. Everyone knew why I was leaving, and many had separately come to me to offer hugs and wishes of luck. When my father passed away two months later, they all signed a card and sent it to me. The store I was actually working at, the one I just left, did nothing. A few managers and new friends came to me and offered their help and support, but no grand gestures. And leaving there was just another night. A handful of people told me they'd miss me, which was very kind of them. I'll miss them, too, though I am sure I will still see many of them on our off days for coffee dates or when I go in to shop.
The rough thing about leaving is that I am losing my insurance and a good chunk of my retirement fund (since I wasn't 100% vested yet). But I had to leave. I was no longer proud to work there, and I just couldn't take the depressing atmosphere. I kept hearing this from so many transfers over the past couple of months, and I'm going to agree with them: the store I came from was like a family. This one is not.
I'm also taking a cut in pay. But what is life without risk? I've done the math, and I think I can make it, though a few published stories would certainly help. (I'm waiting to hear back from you all!) Also, Catching Fireflies is, so far, an absolute joy to work for. One of my goals is to start selling my crocheted creations, and just as Crazy Wisdom pushes me to want to write and get more stories published, Catching Fireflies makes my hands itch for crafting. My boyfriend Greg and I are planning on turning the second bedroom in our future apartment into a craft room so we can both pursue our artistic interests (he does a lot with metal while I mostly deal in fabrics and yarn).
April, the woman who started and owns both Catching Fireflies and the Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley, got her start selling crafts right next door at the Ann Arbor market while she was student. It seems like a daunting application process to me, though I think once I amass enough stuff (and can rope Greg into joining forces with me), it's quite do-able. With this new position, I will be inspired almost daily to get in gear and work toward that goal.
Creative people thrive on creativity. Without it, our souls starve and life loses meaning. (Just look at all the artists and writers who have committed suicide.) I think I am right where I need to be right now with my twin passions becoming my sources of income. Becoming self-employed is a little frightening, though, so baby steps. And maybe some connections along the way?
**Check out this lovely article at AnnArbor.com about the new store's opening!**