Photo by Oh La Lali
I used to be an artist.
For a few years I worked as an illustrator and colourist and at the same time, worked part time jobs at call centres to supplement my income. Then I had the perfect job for about 2 years – I was working as a colourist, doing projects for comic books and advertising storyboards. It came to an end when I got fed up with being underpaid, overworked and undervalued so I took a 9-5 job in a financial services company.
The work wasn’t particularly interesting for an artistic person such as myself but the pay was decent and they treat their employees very well (annual ski trips, anyone?). It was ok for a couple of years but then it started becoming hard to get up go to work every morning. I decided I needed to change my life and pursue other options. The opportunity came soon after I made that decision and I was offered a job abroad, still within the same company.
While everything was new I was doing fairly well but soon I started feeling dissatisfied once again with my work life. I needed to do something that I enjoyed as well as more creative, in order to be happy. But what could I do? I didn’t want to go back to being a freelance illustrator (I honestly wouldn’t know where to start) nor did I feel I had any other job worthy skills besides call centre agent or admin, which would be more of the same of what I was doing already.
Around the same time I decided to start blogging again, to at least have some creative outlet in my life. Blogging about personal style and travel really kept my sanity and I took it seriously: I started skipping going to the pub with my friends to stay in and practise my writing or edit photos. One day it dawned on me that I could actually do this for a living and that would be perfect, because I loved it. So I started paying more attention to Social Media and Marketing websites and attended a few blogging seminars.
At the same time I started applying for Marketing related jobs but wasn’t having much luck as besides my own blog, I didn’t have any business experience in the area. But I didn’t give up. After all, happiness and fulfilment were at stake – I started having work related anxiety issues and depression and didn’t want to live like that for the rest of my life.
So I carried on blogging, networking and soaking up as much information as I could. After applying for numerous jobs that I didn’t get, I decided to go directly to the right people, to let them know how passionate I am about blogging, social media and how much I wanted to learn. All the preparation I made on my spare time paid off as I was given the opportunity to do an internship within the Marketing department, developing my own blog project (and a pay rise too!). I currently have a job that I enjoy, learn a lot every day and I am on my way to developing a career and a future – and this is only the beginning!
I just told you my story. If you feel you are in the same position I was in, read on as I will tell you a few things I have learned that might help getting you through a slump.
- Despite what we might think the Universe can actually conspire in your favour. Many times you may get disappointed because you didn’t get something only to realize later that you had something better coming your way after all. Patience is key.
- That doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for things to happen. Hard work is necessary at all times.
- If you really are passionate about something, you have an advantage over people who do a job just because they have to. Experts are people who are passionate about something and try to learn as much as possible about it.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people and let them know your worth. Sometimes there is no other way of getting on their radar. Unfortunately, sitting quietly in a corner waiting to get noticed doesn’t usually work, except in Hollywood films.
- Have a clear objective of what you want to do in your life. Saying ‘I want to do something different’ isn’t enough. Decide what you want and go get it!
- Self-motivation is extremely important and don’t expect to get it from other people as most will not understand why you are not going out for drinks with them, until they actually see you progressing. In my case, not wanting to be depressed was a huge motivation (plus the prospect of having a real career I enjoyed).
- Quite often we are actually better than we think we are. Trust your instincts and don’t let self-doubt get in the way.
- And most importantly: never give up!
What about you, do you have a similar story? If you have any other advice, leave me a comment as I want to know!
This article was also featured in Project Eve – Inspiring Women Reinventing their Careers. Yay!