Dilbert.com has a nice comic today about self-proclaimed artists.
It reminded me of a female manager I once encountered during an internship at a very large company. She often said the same thing — that originally she “wanted to be an artist”. Unfortunately, you could not see it it her “artworks” she used to decorate her office with. And I think she used it as an excuse for her lack of managerial ability (aided by a good measure of manipulation and intimidation). Perhaps she had realized that she was not good as a manager and used the “artist dream” to keep up her self-perception as herself as a competent being.
But honestly, who are these people kidding? I think that people, even — or rather especially — if they are creative, should manage to be creative and earn a living. If not by their art (which is very hard even for talented artists) then by doing a “mundane” job. And there is simply no excuse of doing an inferior job “at work”, because your “real calling” is being an artist. Being a good artist requires competence and professionalism that is not limited to your artistic endeavors but shines in every work you do — or to use the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and Earth will have to pause and say,”Here lived a great sweeper, who swept his job well.”
You owe it to yourself, to your employer who pays you, and to your customers, whoever they are, to do a good job, even if you are Michelangelo on paper or da Vince at the workbench.