Aptitudes In Action: Sarah Gorsky

When she took the Johnson O’Connor aptitude tests in 2012, Sara Gorsky was working as a project manager for a boutique web design firm. “I always had this generic technical knowledge, above [the average person], in terms of knowing my way around computers and knowing basic programming,” she said, “At that job I learned how to apply design to websites.” High in Analytical Reasoning and Number Series with an Objective personality, her aptitude pattern has all of the earmarks of an effective manager and computer whiz (“I taught myself Photoshop,” she adds), but she possesses many additional traits that were going unfulfilled, aptitudes such as Foresight, Rhythm Memory, Color Discrimination, and Structural Visualization. These talents she found outlets for in her artistic career, as an award-winning actor and theatre designer. “I’m a theatre artist, I consider that my primary job, but it doesn’t pay me enough.”

In 2012, Sara was working 40 hours a week for the design firm while she grew her artistic career; her employer at the time gave her the flexibility to go to daytime auditions as long as she met her deadlines. “That was wonderful,” she says, “but there comes a point when you start to get enough artistic work, and as more and more of those gigs accrue, it becomes more and more difficult schedule-wise,” and in considering her future and her long-term goals (which included doing more touring and regional theatre as well as film work), a change was in order. “As a freelancer, on my own schedule, Sara scores much like engineers do, but never had specific interest in that field. Many other hands-on creative activities and spatial tasks appeal to herwith my own workload managed, I can take on more or less design work depending on what’s happening artistically. And I can take a [theatre] job out of town, for example, and continue to do the freelancing in my free time, whenever that is. So I have the flexibility to take artistic jobs that are more far-reaching.” That’s really necessary, she says, to follow the path she’s on, “As a performer, to make a living, you have to be more mobile, open yourself up to other markets. I can take my freelance work on the road with me.” With the balance of website design and artistic pursuits, Sara is finding a balance that satisfies more of her natural gifts.

Sara scores much like engineers do, but never had specific interest in that field. Many other hands-on creative activities and spatial tasks appeal to her, though. She loves space-planning (she becomes very animated when talking about rearranging her office) and even though the web design exists in a non-3D virtual arena, she sees the activity as a kind of building. “And I want to take up knitting as a hobby,” she adds.

As a spatial thinker, she says she craves visual stimulation, and seeks out activities that force her to visualize tangible end results. That’s something she’s always known about herself, but her test results confirmed it for her. “I found [the results] more validating than surprising,” she said, echoing an experience that is common among many Johnson O’Connor clients. “The thing that changed my life, though, was the idea that aptitudes can’t be learned,” she says, recalling her results summary, “my whole life to that point, I felt like I should be able to do everything, I just have to work hard to learn that skill and get good at it. And so when I failed at something or wasn’t good at something, I’d beat myself up. ‘Why can’t you just do this right? Why can’t you do this faster? Why can’t you be better at this?’ So having that realization that even if you work hard to get good at something, someone with natural aptitude will always perform higher.” She leans back in her seat with a huge smile on her face as she says, “That completely freed me from this trap I’d put myself in of feeling like a failure if I couldn’t do all of the things I felt like I should be able to do.”

Recently, Sara launched Get Art Seen, her own freelance website design business, with services targeted specifically at artists trying to make a name for themselves. She realized that many artists, while driven and highly creative, may lack the business sense to proactively market themselves, or may be uncomfortable doing so. “Artists, whether we want to admit it, we’re independent contractors, and we have to get ourselves out there,” she says, “You can get jobs because you’re lucky and because you know people, but you also have to pursue that work and push yourself. You have to have goals, and you have to go towards them, and a lot of artists don’t know where to start or how to start.” She began making simple websites for friends and for friends-of-friends, and realized that there was a niche she could fill. Get Art Seen, for Sara, is more than just a freelancing business. It’s also an endeavor with a mission in which Sara sees herself as helping others in the arts industry reach their potential. That aspect of the business is very satisfying to her Foresight aptitude (an ability that often creates a need for long- term goals with a focus on the big picture).

Sara’s Objective personality is front and center during our meeting as well. As we chat at her local coffee shop, she makes several new business contacts and is quick to lend her pen to the man at the next table. She’s eager to connect and get involved with what other people are doing. Though even within her business, she enjoys being a generalist and seeking out variety from project to project; in addition to designing websites, she also consults on content and strategy, offers editorial feedback, and customizes her offerings to suit the individual goals of the artist. She also plans to expand into more work for non-artists and businesses, as well as lead workshops to help others learn the skills they need to create and maintain their own webspace.

Looking ahead, Sara is most excited for what she describes as a paradigm shift in her life. Whether on stage or behind the computer, she’s finding outlets for her many talents. “I want to be busy all the time, and I want to make a living as an actor, but I’m not so naive to think I’ll only be able to do that” she admits, “part of this move is the thought that if I can do enough freelancing, it will supplement my acting, and so I’ll mostly be doing things that fulfill me, both aptitude-wise and artistically.”

 

Learn more about Sara’s acting work at www.saragorsky.com

Learn more about Get Art Seen at www.getartseen.com