I Was Never Made For A Full-Time Job: How Did I Get Here?

What do you do when the regular 9-5 just isn't for you? Read about Vikki's career path as a freelance artist!


 In this series, How Did I Get Here? I will be sitting down (and logging onto Zoom) with individuals that have a career path that resembles a roller coaster track more than a sidewalk.

By the end of her Bachelor of Design degree in 2006, Vikki Wiercinski had worked multiple small freelance jobs and realized “Woah, wait a minute... I don’t have to live a standard office life.” To this day, she has only worked one full-time job. Throughout her journey as an independent artist and designer, Vikki has picked up various accolades such as Edify’s Top 40 under 40 in 2021, being featured as part of the Women in Canadian Design project in 2019 and creating a product line, Mezzaluna Studio, which was awarded the 2017 Maker of the Year award by Western Living Magazine. Vikki also co-organizes and co-curates the Royal Bison Art and Craft Fair in Edmonton twice a year. “I am following who I am as a person because I was never really made for a full-time job.” 

While Vikki is ultimately happy with the freedom that comes with being a freelancer, she also highlights the challenges that come with such a fluid work environment. “It’s definitely financially precarious, that doesn’t really go away," she says. But as with many aspects of life, Vikki says that there will always be a need to balance freedom and security when it comes to your job — you just need to figure out where you lie on that spectrum. As someone that has recently let go of the belief that they were made for a full-time nine-to-five-type desk job, I was surprised and delighted to hear that Vikki also knew from early on in her career that a traditional desk job would not fill her cup—and has found success outside of this structure. 

“The biggest challenge is explaining to your peers or family that you’re giving up a really good job to go out on your own,” Vikki says. Growing up in an environment where the traditional 40-hour workweek at an office job is the norm, I can understand why it may be hard to fully understand why someone would leave a seemingly stable job for a more unpredictable lifestyle. But at the end of the day, Vikki knew herself well enough to know that being in an environment that wasn’t challenging enough wouldn’t sit well with her. “I’m just not built for quarterly office reports—it just didn’t suit me at all and I saw this gleaming new option.” 

I can only dream of having even a fraction of Vikki’s resolve! As Vikki discussed how she built Mezzaluna Studio from the ground up, and how she was constantly fueled by the drive to build something that is completely hers, her passion and devotion to her work was seeping from her voice. “It’s very much an expression of who I am creatively, and what I do as a person— and it's just incredibly satisfying to work on.” I understood how she was able to make the choice to carve her own path because it feels like her love and pride for her work could fill up a whole building.

Behind the scenes of Mezzaluna Studios!

Despite Vikki’s immense love for her work and her many achievements during her time as a freelancer, it is important to remember that Vikki is still human and is not immune to the stumbling blocks and hurdles life throws at us. “Failure happens all the time and you just kind of have to learn to separate it from your well-being as a human.” This can be incredibly difficult when you're making something that is very personal to you but Vikki encourages aspiring artists and designers to keep in mind that failure really is a natural part of the creative process.

At the same time, sometimes a deep desire to constantly create and be at your best can lead to many artists’ worst fear: burnout. Burnout is something that can happen to anyone and often, for artists, a creative slump and burnout usually manifest at the same time and go hand in hand. It’s not always an easy process to tackle burnout and a creative slump; Vikki even admits that it has taken her about fifteen years to even come to the understanding that adamantly sitting in front of your work thinking to yourself, “Why is this not working??” just isn’t going to do any good for you.

Vikki offered some valuable advice for aspiring independent artists on tacking both burnout and worries about success: “Don’t take on too much, and don't worry about creative success — it’s going to steal your joy.”

It is going to steal your joy.

I don’t think those words will ever leave me. As a creative individual, especially one that earns money as a result of their creativity, it can be so easy to get lost in the motions of finding different jobs in order to pay the bills that a dampening of your passion seems almost unavoidable.

Understandably, it makes sense to worry about making money—especially with such a fluid job like freelance. “Sometimes the part time jobs I did to support Mezzaluna Studio weren’t the most exciting—but that's work,” admits Vikki. “Still, I don’t have lots of regrets choosing this path.” Remembering why you have chosen to pursue your passions is so important and I think it could even make the difference between living a life you would be proud of versus one filled with regrets. 

If you decide to carve your own path like Vikki, don’t let anything or anyone steal your joy. Stay critical about the path that you are on but never forget why you chose to create it in the first place.


About Francine

Francine is in her fifth and final year of the secondary education program with the fun combination of being a physics major and English minor (she swears there’s more overlap than it seems!) She is very importantly also an avid lover of bread and cats. When she's not spending time working and studying, you can catch her reading a book, playing video games, or finding various ways to be a loaf.