Transitioning because of a Move
The last move I made was from Washington, DC to Huntington, NY. I spent a few months preparing and turned my ~15 groups over to 2 art therapists. It was quite a process to train others in the business and logistical side of contract work, but also a tremendous relief to know my clients would be taken care of once I left.
Now I am embarking on a new kind of move from Huntington to Brooklyn. Very exciting and different in that I will only be an hour or so away from my current jobs. This has allowed me to transition more slowly. Some of my work will end before I move while a couple jobs will end after and one I will keep until I am more established in Brooklyn and can afford to let it go.
There are many different ways to make transitions like this. I think the most important part is to realize what you're leaving behind and how it might be able to help someone else.
Questions to ask yourself:
Can you hand off your jobs or at least find someone interested in interviewing for the facilities?
This could create jobs for other art therapists and continuity for your clients.
Will everything end at once or can the transition be gradual?
There are benefits and challenges either way.
Are your facilities open to taking on someone new or will the art therapy program end with you?
Sometimes there is no control over what will happen next and it's up to you how hard you push to keep it going or if it's something that will have to sort itself out.
No matter his close or far away the move will take you it is a big change. The last month will include packing, changing addresses, and doing all those crazy little things that get you to your destination. One of the smartest things to do is make the jobs as self sufficient as possible during that time. Projects that don't take a lit of prep or at home work, doing things that are not pivotal on your use of home supplies. If supplies are not already at the site than this might be a good opportunity to broach the matter. The less chaos the better and realizing you packed a key ingredient for a project in progress can be stressful, costly, or just plain frustrating.
So, take your way of working into account, plan ahead, and remain flexible. It's a tiring process to move, but the load can be lightened by a little planning and support from friends. Decide what works best for you and realize there is no right way to do this. A new chapter is about to start, so don't forget to enjoy it!
One Step at a Time
This weekend I took part in the Shambhala Level II training in NYC. Meditation has been a part of my life since 2004 when I started studying at Naropa University and my personal practice has been an interesting on again off again process with varying levels of intensity and breaks. In one of the discussion groups we were talking about fear and fearlessness and the misconception of the meaning behind the words. One person brought up Nik Wallenda crossing a canyon near the Grand Canyon. It was one step at a time, keeping faith that he could do it (and had done everything he could to prepare), and letting fear exist to keep him safe while driving him forward without letting it overwhelm him.
Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It's being willing to do something and to be informed by the fear that arises without letting it become panic or immobility. Fear keeps us safe and alerts us to things we need to pay attention to. Without it we would have very short lives and our ability to make it over the mountain or across the abyss would be much less meaningful.
We need fear, but how you work with it or how much power you give it is up to you. Think about a scary obstacle you overcame. How did it feel once you made it through? Many people describe fear as a wave that, when doing something that scares us, at times seems overwhelming and will then fade back for a minute. It comes and goes until we either back out or push forward. What did you feel after pushing forward? Relief, exhaustion, exhilaration? What about the times you backed out? Neither is wrong or bad. It's okay to back out and sometimes the fear is very insistent for valid reasons that we should all listen to. It's tha ability to engage with the fear that allows each person to make an informed, courageous decision.
So, go out and face your fears. Let them help teach you and you will be surprised at how full your life can be.
Here is a excerpt from a talk Chögyum Trungpa Runpoche gave on fear. Read it!
Moving to Brooklyn!!
It's official! I'm moving to Brooklyn, NY! I just signed a lease and now have about 6 weeks to get ready. The excitement of new possibilities is great and there's also the wonder about how I will find new jobs, will there be enough, what if I can't find the jobs I need?
My friend's answer "You literally wrote the book on how to do this. You have nothing to worry about."
I understand her perspective and I am still worried because picking up and moving, no matter the circumstances, requires a leap of faith. Faith that there will be the jobs and everything will turn out okay. A belief that it's a move in the right direction both personally and professionally. When moving because of a job offer it's the hope that the job will be as amazing as we think it will.
So, as a contractor, what can you do to make the transition as positive and smooth as possible?
1) Apply for jobs
This may seem obvious, but it's the hardest step. Update your résumé and cover letter. If you need a little boost, get new business cards. Most importantly send everything out! Don't wait for it to be perfect and don't procrastinate (which is what I'm doing right now, but at least it's productive!). Just get your info out there. Bottom line- if they don't know you exist how can they realize you are perfect for the job?
2) Be Creative
How many places can you send your info? There does not have to be a job posting in order for you to send your information to someone. You can send things anywhere at anytime. I target different places for my traveling art therapy work versus my private practice, but even there I have some overlap.
Adult Day Programs
Basically anywhere the issues I deal with (seniors, adults, Alz disease, grief and loss, bereavement, caretaker support, respite) or people I work with miget be. Again, the bottom line- if they don't know I exist how can they ask for my support, help, or services?
3) Follow Up
Call or stop in to make sure they received your information. If they have no idea who you are, introduce yourself and take the opportunity to briefly (2-3 sentences) explain what you do. Then ask about them and their program or facility. Use the opportunity to figure out who you should resend your info to and connect with. If they aren't sure and suggest more than one person or position, recreation and HR, send more then one copy of your info. Can't hurt!
4) Get Your Foot in the Door
Figure out a way to have a face to face interaction. I offer a free group for my traveling art therapy. This gets me in the door and I have only come back out twice without a job. That will happen when people just want to take advantage of a free group, but more often than not it's worth it.
For other types of work try to get a meeting with someone. If it turns into coffee or lunch than just make sure you aren't the only one talking and order something that is easy to eat and drink while holding a conversation. Most importantly, order on the lite side. Not to impress the other person with healthy eating habits, but to make your time flexible. For me, it's so I can talk and eat at a reasonable pace without feeling rushed or messy on either account. What if things aren't going well? What if the lunch meeting needs to move along? What if everything is going great and it's time to go back and discuss scheduling? Having something that is easy to eat or take home helps and you can always suggest coffee/tea if you both want to prolong the meeting.
5) Send Out More Info
Do it again. Even while having meetings and making follow up calls you can send out your info to other places and people. Don't wait. It's better to have too many offers and interviews than not enough. Keep the cycle going and make the contacts/connections.
Alright, I hope my procrastinating from sending out my own letters has helped. Now I am off to print out my résumé,get some snail mail out, and send some emails. Can't wait to see what Brooklyn has to offer!
I'll post again soon to let you know how it goes.
Book and Summer
Just got back from the annual art therapy conference and it was amazing! Felt inspired and rejuvenated. Seattle is an amazing city and It was fun to catch up with everyone. I didn't present this year, but had my book on sale. I was able to speak to a lot of different people about what was in the book and how it might help them in their lives. It was both an exciting and humbling experience to hear what everyone is doing. We are such a diverse group of people that it constantly amazes me how rich the world of creative arts therapy is when I hear each person's stories, challenges, and achievements.
I have a chapter in the book that is other people's stories. I felt it was so important to show how many ways this work can be approached and I know it is more inspiring than hearing from just one voice. Anyone who would like to guest post on this blog please email me and we will set it up.
Transitioning from one set of jobs to another because of a move.
How to combine self employment with part or full time employment.
Balancing life and work when they feel like the same thing.
Have a great 4th of July!!!
Emery is excited that Water & Stone is becoming a reality and hopes this blog will inspire others and be a place to share challenges, success, and exciting moments.