Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday-A Leap of Faith Part Two!

I was overwhelmed by how many of you took leaps of faith by going to school, getting your GED or just putting yourself out there for a new love. Everyone is so inspiring! My friend Melissa has a wonderful story about her leap of faith.

When I went to college, I was a pre-education major. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, though, and romantic and other interests sort of distracted me from school. After my 2nd semester, I quit school with the intention of it being temporary and went to work at a preschool, which was my most likely candidate for an age group.

I loved my work and I was good at it, but I was pretty young (19) and I wasn't really mature enough to detach in a healthy way. I fell in love with my kids, and cried at night over things that happened to them. After about 2 years, I realized I couldn't do it. Not then, anyway. I was too close and wasn't sure I was capable of distance. I was giving away little pieces of myself, and felt tattered.

I had no idea what I was going to do. I put in my 2-weeks notice and cried all night because I wouldn't get to see my kids anymore. And the whole emotional mess destroyed for years any ideas I ever had of being a teacher. That had been the only thing I seriously considered majoring in. Wishy-washying back and forth between biology and theater and a dozen other fascinating subjects wasn't helpful, and teaching was a good way to get a little of everything plus a feeling of having done something worthy, and without that goal, I was floundering.

While I was in high school, I had taken a silversmithing class. The class wasn't a school thing, but was run by an ex-boyfriend's mother. I loved it. So here I was, soon to be jobless, recently robbed, by my own emotional immaturity, of the only goal I'd ever been able to finally light upon. And all I could think of was silversmithing. And also how ridiculous it was to think of that as a career possibility.

But, one afternoon I opened up the phone book. I turned to jewelers in the yellow pages, and I started down the list. "Hello, I'm a semi-trained silversmith and would like an opportunity to learn the trade. Do you do your repairs in house?" Most of the jewelers in Lincoln do NOT work in house. Those that do are owned by their smiths and don't hire much in the way of outside help.

But somehow, I got two interviews, with the request that I bring a portfolio. And then came the man who said, "Oh, are you calling about the ad in the paper?" What? There was an ad in the paper? A month earlier he had run an ad looking for a full-time apprentice. I never saw it, and it hadn't been run for over two weeks. Today, I was calling every jeweler in the phone book, just on the chance that someone might want an apprentice, and there he was.

I went to my interviews. I took a portfolio made of things I created for my family over the years I took the silversmithing class. I took a letter of recommendation from my instructors. He met me at his shop in the morning, looked at my things, told me I was lazy about under-side finishing work but that my things were lovely, especially considering the tools I had to work with. And then he said, "Come back on Saturday afternoon. I won't be here, but Sue will. She'll point you to the silver stock, and give you 2 hours to make something. If I like what you come up with, you're hired."

And that's what happened. I made a pair of textured hoop earrings that Saturday afternoon, and I started work on Monday. I worked as an apprentice goldsmith for just over 2 years, and I was very, very good at what I did. An unfortunate mis-match of personalities led to my eventually quitting that job, but it is the one job I have ever had where I felt my skills were really showcased, and if I had to pick one thing that I was good at and do it the rest of my life, it would be smithing. And all because I opened up a phone book.

What an amazing story. I have a piece of Melissa's jewelry and it is beautiful. One glimpse in the phone book changed everything for her-what a great leap!


Zombie Queen said...

What a great and inspiring story!

Becky said...

That is ah-mazing! Thanks for sharing.