This month’s skirt! magazine is focused on self reliance and the work you love, so I took the opportunity to write about how I came about doing the work that I love.  You can find the original post on their blog here.


I think Confucius hit the nail on the head.  Do you ever notice that time flies by when you’re working on something you’re interested in?  It’s a no brainer that finding a job you love will make you happy, but getting a job you love is typically another story.

After graduating from College of Charleston with a finance and Spanish degree during the financial meltdown in 2010 I was just trying to find any job that would keep me in Charleston.  I eventually started working in the recruiting department at SPARC, a software development shop on Daniel Island.  The company was in the middle of a huge growth spurt and the recruiting team was in charge of hiring 100+ people.  I was in charge of the logistical side of recruiting, but I learned a lot and then had the opportunity to try something new, and that’s where things got fun…

How often do you have a job that asks what you want to do in your career and then makes it happen?  That’s exactly what SPARC did, and I moved over to our internal products team (with no software knowledge) and started to learn.  I got my feet wet working on different aspects of the software development & product lifecycle and eventually chose my favorite aspect to focus on and make that my career path.

As our Commercial Services teams grew, I took on more responsibility and have now helped launch several products internally and externally for clients.  I’ve even gotten my Certified SCRUM Product Owner certification with SPARC’s help. (Read more about my path in SPARC here)sparc_kelley

While all of this was going on, I had moved into my own apartment and started making things for my new space.  I started a blog to keep my family up to date with my life, but realized that it was slowly turning into a place where I talked about what craft projects I was working on and how to do them yourself.  That’s when Coastal Kelder was born.

What started as an after work hobby has turned into an Etsy shop and a true DIY blog.  Crafting (and having a glass of wine in the process) has become my stress reliever and I truly enjoy trying new projects and making things for others.

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I have also always loved giving back, and luckily I’ve been able to do that through SPARC and now my Etsy shop.  SPARC encourages team members to volunteer with all sorts of charitable organizations and I’ve worked with several in the area.  Recently I leveraged my Etsy shop and crafting skills by teaming up with my friend, Kelley O’Hara, to make Kelley O fan club t-shirts where 100% of proceeds go toward St. Jude Children’s Research.  I’m in the process of finalizing what the donation is, and hope to continue this type of work in the future!


It’s important to figure out what makes you happy and then make time for it. I’ve found that implementing a work / life balance is crucial to personal happiness.  Life can be busy at times, but even with my full time job I still have time to craft, blog, play sports, get involved and have a social life – it’s all about prioritizing my “to-do” list to get everything done while having fun.

If you happen to be able to make a living doing what you love, then congratulations!  If you don’t, don’t fret – my life has already taken paths I never thought were possible and led me to doing all sorts of work that I love.  Either way, make time to do what makes you happy!

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