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Using Your Artistic Gifts in a Boring Job

Betty Nesmith Graham was trained as an artist, but needing money, she had to take a job as a secretary. Typing day in and day out, she soon discovered that instead of erasing her typos, she could use her artistic skills and in 1954 mixed a combination of paints, covered her mistakes and then re-typed over it. She initially called her weird invention “Mistake Out” but in 1958 started selling it to the public under the name “Liquid Paper.” By 1968 she sold 1 million bottles, and in 1979 sold the company to Gillette. She used the vast profits from the sale to support all types of artistic endeavors.
Betty Nesmith Graham believed money to be a tool, not a solution to a problem. She set up two foundations to help women find new ways to earn a living. Graham died in 1980, six months after selling her corporation for $47.5 million. By the way, her son was the Monkee Michael Nesmith.

Have you been trained, or do you feel called into one area, but are trapped in another? Do you have to make ends meet by working at a job that seems to have nothing to do with your real gifts and talents? If possible, get out. Take a risk and move into the area you really feel called. However, sometimes people have responsibilities, financial commitments, kids, and other issues that keep them trapped. If that’s the case, don’t write off your gifts. Instead, look for innovative ways to incorporate your unique abilities into your work. No matter how boring, you can probably think of a way to enhance your work by using particular skills and talents and can only come from you. And like Betty Nesmith Graham, perhaps you can reap the rewards from the mix….

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One Comment

  1. The bigger picture should be that we live in a society that does not value artistic people unless they are making millions. Artistic people are seen as crazy, lazy and a host of other stereotypes. Sad that a Liberal Arts Degree cost the same as a Business Degree but when it is earned the Liberal Arts Degree is given less value.

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