My Economy

Business school felt like a better bet than art, but an adviser encouraged her to take the plunge

Reema Khrais and Sarah Leeson Aug 5, 2022
Heard on:
Devin Tormey paints wedding scenes live. Casey Durgin Photo
My Economy

Business school felt like a better bet than art, but an adviser encouraged her to take the plunge

Reema Khrais and Sarah Leeson Aug 5, 2022
Heard on:
Devin Tormey paints wedding scenes live. Casey Durgin Photo

My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

The July jobs report came out Friday, and things are looking up for workers. The U.S. economy added 528,000 positions, bringing unemployment down to 3.5% and the total number of jobs back up to pre-pandemic levels.

With the tight labor market and employment still expanding, workers have more flexibility and freedom. Some are using that freedom not just to find a job, but to venture out and create one.

Among them is Devin Tormey of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. She graduated with a business degree this year, but she’s revisiting another passion now: art.

“I know that art is something that I’m very interested in — something that I’m naturally good at — but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make money doing it,” Tormey said.

She’d put aside the idea of art as a career after high school, focusing on business instead. But for her senior capstone project, her adviser pushed her to make a mock-up business plan for a potential full-time art endeavor that included a key requirement: Make it a reality.

“He said, ‘I will guide you along this process of you writing a business plan to become a full-time artist if, and only if, you follow through with it. You need to put the plan into action afterwards, and you are gonna surprise yourself.'”

That business plan turned into a lucrative wedding painting business, and she said she loves what she does these days.

“My first wedding, I had the sweetest couple,” Tormey said. “They had asked me to paint their first kiss. … At the end of the night, I was pretty excited about how it looked, and when I got to deliver it, it was wonderful.”

To listen to Tormey’s story, use the media player above.

Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story may be featured on a future edition of “My Economy.”









There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.  

Half-priced hoodies! 😲 

This weekend only, get our new Marketplace zip up hoodie when you donate $8/month instead of $16/month. Don’t wait this offer ends at midnight Sunday!