I just read this question from another creative and it hit a hard cord with me. I know this question very well...because several years ago - this is EXACTLY what I was asking when I was in grad skewl. I couldn't wrap around that fact that we were all being taught about social justice, environmental issues, etc. - but NOT how to make a living as a creative being. This floored me at the time because creativity was what we all did as creative beings for a living - it has value - A LOT of value. But I found that people tend to think that we just did it all for fun...you know pushed crayons around on paper for shits and giggles. So when they would approach us to do a project for them or create something for them - there was always this expectation that we should work for free. Yep...FREE...never mind the fact that there are always material costs which also seemed to be included in the deal - so literally we were being asked to PAY for their project out of our own already empty pockets. Can someone give me the logic behind this?! I, myself, have experienced this frequently throughout the years. Even if they just want your time - TIME IS MONEY. But here was always the KICKER - if you said NO or turned down the project - they made it out like YOU were THE ASSHOLE. When in reality THEY WERE for asking in the first place and putting you in the precarious situation of having to decline. Apparently you should STARVE and do their project for them because they feel entitled and like it's no big deal to do it for them...for FREE of course. Now play that back on repeat and ask yourself - would you do it???...EXACTLY...HELL NO YOU WOULDN'T. You would expect to be paid for your work no matter what the profession it is that you do.
Here is where being taught in academia "how to build a successful creative life" would have come in handy and been extremely beneficial to us academic artists. We were taught the skills of our trade...but not the business side of that trade. So when we all got our brand shiny new diplomas that were funded by exorbitant student loan debt - we were absolutely clueless as to where to begin to make a living from it all. A lot of us - self included - wound up going on to grad skewl after undergrad because we came to the conclusion that in order to be an artist and not starve...we needed to get a "real job" that paid "real money" - so now let's get our shiny MFA degree and teach at the local college. Only no one prepared us for the FACT that colleges don't actually seem to hire teachers these days - if you can even get in that is - it's as an adjunct teacher. Yep...part-time...no bennies...and no guaranteed J-O-B. I've literally been trying to just get an interview at the two local colleges in my area for over seven years now and apparently I'm not alone in that. It's beyond frustrating.
So I have literally spent the last ump-teen years having to train myself in marketing, networking, and business because I wasn't taught those skills for my profession academically when I should have - ALL artists in college should be. Art shouldn't be a side-hustle if that is the career path we have chosen...it should be our primary profession that we make an actual living out of that can support and sustain us. My thoughts on this topic. Enjoy your day!