Georgia Man Laid Off After 20 Years and Forced to Follow His Dream

Michael Swaim of Norcross, Georgia loves to draw. Like many, though, he did not choose his passion for his living. Instead, he chose the path that paid the bills. Now, unemployed after 20 years, Mike is rethinking his ideas about what counts.
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Norcross - Georgia - US

May 15, 2009 - PRLog -- Michael Swaim of  Norcross, Georgia would spend every waking minute drawing if you let him.  With the exceptions of his wife and his pets (3 dogs and 2 cats), it is the love of his life.  Like so many of us, though, he chose the safe path, the one that would pay the bills.  Or so he thought.  Getting laid off after 20 years of working in a frame shop is reshaping Mike’s ideas about what counts and what doesn’t.  

Everything seemed like it was going along much the same way it has always gone.  Wake up, go to work, come home, maybe take a walk, DRAW, eat dinner, kiss the wife and go to bed.  Next day, start all over again.  Until one day it wasn’t going to just start all over again.  Mike no longer had a job.  Laid off due to cut backs.  “Sorry Mike, we have no choice,” is what he heard.  “I know the economy is bad.  I think everybody does, but I just didn’t think it would affect me.  I guess that is what everybody says right after it affects them,” Mike observed.  “At first I was depressed.  I didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills,” said Mike.  “Then I thought, I have loved drawing for clients on the side for all these years.  Why not make it my J O B?  Truth is, I just cannot face another twenty years doing something that is just not me,” said Mike.  

And in comes Mike Swaim Art – born of love and drive and talent and determination, living on not the promise of tomorrow, but the promise of today.  “Today is a day I spent doing what I love,” observed Mike.   When Dr. Neil Shulman (author of “What? Dead Again?” the book on which the movie “Doc Hollywood” is based) heard about Mike’s decision, he said, "I am glad to see Mike finally taking his path, the one that was always intended for him."   Mike and Dr. Shulman have worked on a number woddf of illustration projects together over the years.  With unemployment numbers and credit card debt spiraling out of control, maybe we all should try a different approach.  “I know everybody can’t (and shouldn’t) quit their job, and I would have never done so either.  But maybe we should start focusing on the things that truly make us happy and try to do more of those things,” commented Mike.  

“It certainly helps that he is so darn talented,” observed Jo Shepherd Ripley, author of Jolly the Elf, the first illustration job Mike got after deciding to start Mike Swaim Art (  Like Mike, Jo is finally doing something she wanted to do for more than twenty years.  She is publishing her first children’s book.  “I think we are all like Mike in some ways,” said Jo.  “We do what we need to do to survive, and many times that has nothing to do with what makes us happy.  There are no guarantees, so take your shot, and follow your heart.  In the end, it is your only real chance at happiness.”

Mike Swaim lives and works from his home in Norcross, Georgia with his lovely wife Shauna, their three dogs Oliver, Pandora and Max and two cats, Zore and Ralph.  Please feel free to learn more about Mike and the projects on which he is working at or give him a call 1-404-509-4565 (he’ll call you back).
Source:Kacey Cahill Law
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Tags:Books, Human Interest, Illustration, Cartoon, Art, Children, Economy, Job Market
Industry:Arts, Books, Business
Location:Norcross - Georgia - United States
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