It’s 7 am, the birds are beginning their morning song while your alarm goes off. You roll over, smash the snooze button and curl back into a still tired ball of a human. Eventually, you have to give in. You fall out of bed and make your way, zombie-like, to the shower.
You eat breakfast, something quick that doesn’t take too much effort, make instant coffee, because who has time to make quality at this time of the morning, and you head out the door to work.
Work is fine. Just fine. It doesn’t excite you but it pays the bills. It has stressful days and boring days. You don’t complain, you just get on with it.
By the time the clock reads 4.59pm, you’re logging off, ready to walk out the door bang on 5 o’clock. When you get home, you make dinner, open Netflix and watch the latest Marvel series until it’s time to go to bed.
Then, you repeat.
For the record, I like routine. It helps my ever busy mind get on with the day. The less thinking I need to do with everyday activities, the more functional I can be.
However, the job was what was getting to me. After 7 years, I was ready to get out. I was bored and stagnant. I needed a shakeup.
I am a creative, despite the fact it makes me feel like a fraud to say that. I always long to be creating something. I need to do something that scratches the creative side of my brain. I can go a little crazy if I don’t.
I knew if I quit my job, I would want to do something that would allow me to flex those creative muscles. There were two problems with that, 1. I didn’t know the direction I wanted to go, and 2. Making a living from creative work is HARD!
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work for myself. It is the dream. To be my own boss, to work my own hours, on the things I actually want to work on.
When I finished film school I began to live out that dream. I was freelancing as a camera operator and editor. I had made a couple of good connections that led me to get work reasonably quickly. It just wasn’t enough work to sustain me.
I decided to apply for a full-time job to be able to afford life and try and build up a portfolio of work on the side. When you’re working a full-time job it is hard to find the energy and motivation to take on side-projects. I got sucked into the comfort of a steady paycheck and the dreams of living the creative life took a backseat.
However, the benefits of working a full-time job were great. It meant I could take paid time off to travel. In 2016 I spontaneously decided to take a trip to Vietnam. It was so last minute, I didn’t have time to convince anyone to come with me, so I went alone.
I flew into Hanoi with no plans other than a few ideas of places I should go. Luckily in Vietnam, everyone is a travel agent which made it easy to find things to do. It was a bit of a baptism by fire. Being dropped in South East Asia where people and motorbikes are everywhere and few spoke English. I was hooked. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to keep exploring this beautiful country.
One Christmas, I was working with an old colleague who contracted during the holidays. He had quit his permanent job to return to university and do something he truly believed in. It was a bold and courageous move.
On his last day of that contracted week, I stopped by his edit suite to thank him for the work he had done. We got talking about the company and my job. I told him how I wanted to leave and do something else but I didn’t know what that would be. I considered travelling but thought that was too scary and a potentially unwise thing to do. He told me his story about how he travelled the world and some of the great experiences he had. He told me about why he left the company and how that was the best thing he could have done at that point in his life.
Sometimes you need to hear things from other people to gain the courage to make these seemingly risky moves. I don’t think I realised at the time that this conversation, in the back of an edit suite of a broadcast facility, had given me the needed push to commit to quitting my job.
And that’s what I did, I quit.
Change is scary but change is necessary. Without change, we don’t grow, and we don’t accomplish greater things. It’s theoretically easy to make changes in our lives. Practically, not so much.
Giving up financial stability in order to do something new, something that I could end up loving, is scary. However, I had to do it. I had to know what could be. I didn’t want to live with the regret of, what if?
Over the next few weeks, months, years, this blog will share my story. My journey to, who knows where. It’s not a story of success, yet. It is just the beginning. I’m writing this as a challenge to myself and a way to be held accountable to whatever it is I go on to do. I hope that you will join me to share in my successes but also pick me up when I inevitably fall. I also hope that in sharing my story, maybe you will find the encouragement needed to make a change that leads to your dreams becoming a reality.
Next week – A new job, or a plane ticket…