I guess I'll talk a little about how I started out in my art career. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design. During my last year of school, I worked at a company as a co-op student (an internship that allows you to earn credit). I was lucky that the company hired me to work full time after I graduated.
The company also offered tuition reimbursement. So a couple of years later, I decided to go back to school to get my Master of Arts in graphic design.
I worked for a few more years but was laid off in 2002. I decided to try to get some freelance work and go back to school to work on my Master of Fine Arts in painting. I had taken a painting class and was toying around with the idea of doing the MFA part time. Being laid off gave me the freedom (as scary as it was) to do it full time.
Freelancing didn't really work for me - it takes a lot of time to get clients and (I soon discovered) even more time to get them to pay you. So I dedicated most of my time to school. I'm also a single mom and have a son. Being in school gave me a chance to hang out with him in my spare time.
I didn't really know what I wanted to do with the MFA. I didn't really want to teach, but I knew I wanted to get the degree. I also just really like the academic atmosphere - being able to get feedback, share ideas, and talk with other creative people is really valuable.
Anyway, after teaching a couple of classes, I realized that I really didn't want to teach. :-)
I'll talk more about teaching later...
I volunteered with the local art league and got involved with organizing shows. I also worked as a grad assistant in the university art gallery and volunteered as the director of the student gallery. So I realized that I really liked gallery/museum work (packing, unpacking, hanging artwork, etc.) or doing something that assists artists in some way.
After I graduated, I spent a whole year looking for a museum or gallery job. Problems - they're very competitive and I wanted to stay in the area because of my son.
I worked part time and scraped by as best I could until I got a full time job as a secretary at a local university. It's not such a bad gig, really. Doesn't pay much but has good benefits, five minutes from my house, not a lot of work (low stress), and I don't have to move out of the area. I have a lot of down time so I get to do a lot of my own stuff (like this blog).
So that's where I am now. Later I'll talk more about what I'm doing to promote my artwork.