My Right Livelihood Story
It was apparent to my family that I was born to make music when I exhausted them by singing all 15 verses of “The Friendly Beasts” at age 8. I then relentlessly lobbied for a guitar, which I received at age 11. Eventually I graduated to electric, partially supporting myself through my time in the English department at the University of Kansas by playing in rock bands. Music and I were clearly headed down a lifelong path.
But it would be a circuitous one. For the first 4 years after college, I continued performing in bands all over the Midwest, recording on a local record label, and doing showcases on the West Coast, hoping to generate interest from a major record label. When I came to grips with the fact that this was unlikely, I moved home to Kansas City and landed a secretarial job (remember those?) in an ad agency in 1979. Finding myself at home with these wildly creative advertising people, I rose like Peggy Olson into the world of writing copy, creating jingles, shooting TV commercials, attending the network “upfronts,” and managing ad budgets in the millions.
My advertising and marketing career lasted almost 20 years, and it was a creative, exciting ride. But I had never stopped making music, continuing to play solo and in bands – and by then delving more deeply into songwriting. By the time I had lived and worked in Charleston, SC, Los Angeles, Cedar Rapids, IA, and home again to KC, I was performing mostly original songs, appearing on other people’s records, and finally recording my own self-released record.
After hitting the glass ceiling in the agency world, I moved into recruiting for marketing and creatives, matching people and jobs – aligning with my values and leading me to discover my passion for helping people find their ideal work. I worked in a woman-owned recruiting firm for over 20 years, and I stayed so long I was made a partner.
Around 2002 I had headed back to school at night at Rockhurst University and earned my career coaching credential. In the years since, I have coached over 250 people through career transition – those who are choosing to change direction, those who have been thrust into change by job loss, those who are returning to work after time away for family care, those who are seeking new types of work as they move into retirement, and those who want to turn their experience and skills into a business. I identify now as a Coach for all of those livelihood quests.
I spend a fair amount of volunteer time with college students, especially juniors and seniors who are finding their way toward their work, and I’ve helped launch mentoring programs on several campuses – and I also coach and present through job clubs, social services non-profits, and professional associations.
And music and me? We’re still good. I’ve deepened my relationship with music, continuing to write, perform, and record. I’ve been blessed to have my music placed in TV and film, but my happiest music moments now are in collaborating with others. My right livelihood has been to find a way to pursue all of my gifts. It is a huge new gift to be able to help deliver the Your Right Livelihood experience.