Once upon a time I was a graphic designer. I put a lot of years and effort into my career and one day I stopped and asked myself the dangerous question: “Am I happy”? The answer was a painful and resounding “NO”. But what was I going to do about it? I was working freelance and was truly miserable. And because I hated what I did everyday, it was like playing the worst game of make believe trying to convince potential clients that I was the designer they were looking for.
And then COVID made it’s grand debut. My projects shriveled away with no prospects of new work. I spent months trying to find another job. I cannot even count the amount of interviews I had and not one of them worked out. Either the position was terminated due to budget cuts or they had gone with another candidate. It was brutal. Crushing. And the worst part? I didn’t even want any of those jobs! I wanted a paycheck and stability! But I knew it was just going to be the same thing as always. I’d be so deep-down exhausted from just getting through the day that all I’d want to do when I got home is stare mindlessly at the TV with a glass of wine.
Oh my dear heavenly God. I so desperately do not want that for myself anymore! It was in my days of unemployed purgatory, that I started renovating my home. And guess what, I felt myself come back to life! I was having a blast! But I wasn’t quite brave enough to cut the ties to my graphic design career all by myself.
It was October. I’d had my 4th interview with an impressive ad agency. It was obvious that I had this one in the bag… and then the email: “Due to budget cuts, this position is no longer available”. I cried and cried and cried. I was so close! So close to stability! A 401k and dental insurance! You’ve got to be kidding me! And then you know what happened?
I stopped crying… I wanted the stability that that job would have offered. But everything else? I knew I wasn’t going to be happy there. I had been considering making an Instagram account where I could post all of my fun home projects. I’m not sure what was holding me back, but that final rejection was the push I needed. I decided to do it. And then I raised the stakes. I added this blog to the mix. I dove headfirst into the world of blogging and social media, not having a clue how this could someday make me money but hoping against hope that somehow it would.
Let’s be clear, I still don’t know what I’m doing and I’m a long way from making a steady income from this. But I’m trying. When I got that final email, I decided 1) I just couldn’t take the constant rejection any more and 2) maybe this was the universe’s way of getting me out of a career that was crushing my spirit. I certainly wasn’t going to do it myself! I’m way too big a fan of safety. And for that reason, I often feel a sense of turmoil over this decision that I made. I often feel scared it isn’t going to work out.
And while that’s a legitimate fear, what if the opposite could be true? What if I decided to put more weight into the positive “what if” instead of the negative “what if”? What if I believed in myself? What if I took a chance on myself? What if I followed my heart? Call it cheesy all you want, but this stuff makes me ridiculously happy and if I could also get paid for it? Why in the world would I not give it a try?
If no one else is going to bet on me, then I’m going to bet on myself. So here I am folks, placing a big fat bet on yours truly.