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In honor of Labor Day, here are my favorite job-hunting resources:

1. For figuring out what it is you are looking for, I love Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd.  By focussing on your life priorities, you can learn how your job fits into the big picture, especially if you are creatively-inclined.

2. To help structure the job search process and prioritize strategies that work best (networking) over busy work (sending out resumes), I love Get Hired Now! by C.J. Hayden and Frank Traditi.

3. For some great examples of what you can do on your resume to package your experience, take a look at Expert Resumes for Managers and Executives by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark.

4. For support and connecting with great resources, I recommend the Bay Area Career Center. I can’t recommend The Monday Night Job Club hosted by career counselor Hilary Romanoff highly enough!

5. Best advice ever from the job club (opposite of what you’ll find online about looking for a job in a tough economy): Don’t try to job-hunt like it’s your full-time job.  Get out there and see your friends over coffee or lunch and tell everyone what you are looking for, even if it’s fun and doesn’t feel like the pain of rewriting your resume to respond to a craigslist post.

6. I love/hate craigslist job postings.  It’s like shopping in a superstore.  It works if you really know what you want, and you get in and then out.  Otherwise, there are just too many interesting things to look at and consider and the next thing you know you’ve spent a whole day online, “looking” for a job.  Ouch.  That said, I did discover my current position on craigslist!

7. Second best tip courtesy of job club: Make a table of the job description you are considering.  Put what the employer is looking for in the left column and what specifically from your experience fills their need in the right column.  Use the table as a reference when you tailor your resume and cover letter to apply for the job.  It’s also a great study guide for the interview and will remind you at every stage that it’s not about you, it’s about their business needs.

8. Use social networking tools (LinkedIn and Facebook) to let others know that you are looking and what you are looking for.  Encouraging words from friends will help you stay positive about the job search and give you ideas about where to look and who to talk to.

9.  About staying positive…much of the well-meaning advice on job-hunting on the Internet started to bring me down.  Maybe it was all the Do’s and Don’ts and Musts and Shoulds!  My light-bulb moment was “hey, I don’t have to read this stuff anymore if it’s not helping me feel great about looking for work.”

10.  Still, you’ll be seeking answers to questions like “what should I put on the job application for my salary expectations?” or “what’s the best way to follow-up after an interview?”   Check out  Quintessential Careers.

Job-seekers, I salute you!  May you find your job in good time.


Every now and then, I am turning over the reins to my creative friends and letting them show and tell about their work-in-progress.  I also asked them to address the issue of how they make time in their busy schedules for their own work.  This week’s guest is photographer and entrepreneur Tanya Boggs.

Tanya, what are you thinking about in your current work, Daily Dose?

Some of the themes you will see repeated in all of my personal work have been about collecting, archiving, mortality and memory, and an exploration of personal history.  And those ideas are even more evident in this current body of work Daily Dose.

This is an ongoing self-portrait of me and my daughter and is a continual work in progress.  Everyday, at approximately the same time, I place us as the subject of a photograph.  Day in and day out, each image, taken at the same distance from the camera, with the same lighting, and the same background, begins to compound and grow.  Days become weeks.  Weeks become months.  And soon months will become years.

By choosing to keep some of the elements in the image stable and by placing these seemingly arbitrary restrictions on the project, the nuances begin to come to the forefront.  This gives the viewer the opportunity to notice small details like when I have a headache, or when my daughter is exhausted or not feeling well.  You can begin to see some of the subtleties of the relationship and the individuals.

I began the work in March of 2009, so it’s been just over a year.  I plan to continue this project until my daughter grows up and moves out.  Most if the time in art, I think tightly editing can be crucial. This is one of the few projects where I think more is more.  The accumulation over time will really begin to shift and change this project.  I am so excited to see where this journey takes me.

Tanya, how do you make time for your own creative work (and all the other things you fit into your schedule)?

Given the nature of this current body of fine art work, making time for it is built into the project.  And it doesn’t take too much time everyday so it has been easy to commit to doing.  It’s probably a little easier as a photographer since I’m not making oil paintings or something more time consuming.  But it does require that I commit to the project daily.  There are some larger tasks and overall upkeep which I do in chunks on a weekly or bi-weekly basis: Color balancing, adding titles, updating the images on the website, applying for shows.  It’s been pretty easy to find small blocks of time to stay on top of the work because I’m really excited about the project.  I try to find 30 minutes or an hour here and there.  Which can easily turn into a larger amount of time as I get lost in the project.  Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part.

The other thing I have done to make time for my creative work, is that I have made my art into my craft and my livelihood as well.  I was frustrated that I never had enough time in my studio.  And one day a light bulb went off.  I want to do what I love and have someone pay me for it.  Given my medium of photography, it wasn’t that far of a leap.  Just a leap of faith really.  Now making time for my personal work just blends into my life a little more seamlessly.  I work with images all the time, so it’s easy to flip right into my personal work for 30 minutes at lunch or for an hour on Saturdays.  I hardly notice the difference between the two anymore.  I’m no longer frustrated by my lack of studio time and both my personal and my professional work organically blend together in my daily workflow.

My advice to others who might struggle to make time for their creative work is to first remove as many barriers as possible between you and getting it done.  If your commute to your studio stops you from making work… remove the commute.  Second, figure out how much time you realistically have and then schedule it for you.  Make a date with yourself and don’t break it.  And lastly I’d say, commit, commit, commit!  If it is really a priority for you, then you have to devote the time and energy.

Thanks Tanya!  Where can we see more of your work?

My Solo Exhibition for Re: incarnation at the School of the Arts at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA was cancelled for the 2009/2010 exhibition season due to budget cuts.

Currently on the fine art website for my personal work, the Daily Dose images begin in March of 2009 and move to the present, but I am going to switch that shortly so that the most recent images are the first one’s you see on the site.  I want to update the site weekly so the content is always current and easy to get to.

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Nancy's paintings in her Napa Valley studio

Every now and then, I am turning over the reins to my creative friends and letting them show and tell about their work-in-progress.  I also asked them to address the issue of how they make time in their busy schedules for their own work.  Today’s guest is painter and teacher Nancy Willis.

Nancy, what are you thinking about in your current work?

I am excited about this work because…

I have a new studio space in a redwood barn on a vineyard in Napa. To me, it looks and feels like France which I love. But the amount of working space that I lost in downsizing from my old studio is still challenging me. I can stand back to see a painting that I am working on, but do not have much space to move laterally. It is difficult to see the work in relation to other work.

I have been working on the Chandelier image for about three years, mostly in printmaking and painting on paper.  Those decisions were equal parts economic downturn and current space restraints. The smaller scale work really helped me know the form, which I realized when I recently started back in on larger format paintings.

I am striving to move away from a direct view of a chandelier and eclipse or mask it. A major theme in my work is the fragmentary aspect of time and experience, so I think this move supports that.

The larger green painting has been in progress for over a year. The source image is a chandelier in daylight in southern California. I wanted to encapsulate and simultaneously shatter the chandelier form while representing the incongruities of the form with daylight and ocean/nature. My process involves many layers of painting and sanding to find the way color and light reflect, refract and shift. The green keeps changing. This latest version may not stay as bright, or deep but for now, it pulled the form into focus. I will give it a few days and see what it tells me.

And how do you make time for your own creative work (and all the other things you fit into your schedule)?

I teach at the Napa Valley College and a local art center. It is not enough to support me, and while I have some modest gallery representation, I continue to supplement my work with catering shifts. I also produce workshops including a painting tour to France. I am responsible for everything in regard to itinerary, logistics, instruction etc. Right now, that is commanding most of my attention. Since my last solo exhibition in 2007, much of my studio time is plugged in around my “other” work. It is frustrating and deflating at times.  The days of 6 to 8 hour painting sessions are a distant memory. I am aware and can be proficient in a 2 to 4 hour period. On a good day, I feel fortunate to keep it all going, but often I feel like my “real” work gets interrupted, and the glass is half full.

I find the more I paint the easier it is to find the time from an already taxed schedule. In that, I mean there is the spark that comes from a day painting in the studio.  The process seduces all of me away from spreadsheets, syllabi, and documentation. It is a jolt, validation, and curiosity and reminds me of what is really important.

Nancy has a solo show of her work scheduled for 2012 at Robert Mondavi Wines. You can see more of her work at I. Wolk Gallery in St. Helena, the gallery at Sundance, and online at: