[dropcap]E[/dropcap]arly this year something happened to me that has become an annual tradition for most struggling Millenials; losing their job. This particular layoff hit me pretty hard. I hated the thought of searching for a new fulltime opportunity, starting somewhere new, and eventually feeling my soul being sucked from my body. Even worse, I knew that when I did find a job I probably wouldn’t find it fulfilling. I knew my future boss’ only desire was to squeeze as many skills from me as he could until I’d burn out. The thought of going through that entire process again sent me into a total meltdown, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it again.
The 9-5 world was starting to look like a prison, and I began to ask myself if I really wanted to live my life that way. I decided to try something new, and took a chance at freelance work. With my work ethic, my skills, and a whole lotta bravery I started to build a career. It wasn’t easy, but by the end of the summer I was able to support myself. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my career is complete, but I can say that I’m a fulltime freelancer. I can also say that I’m a whole lot happier. Yes, I work hard (maybe even harder than the corporate drones), but I’ve realized that careers are real. They aren’t these mythical ideas that our generation is never going to acquire. They’re attainable!
There are some things I’ve learned while building my career, and I’d like to pass on my lessons to you:
Go For It
Whatever it is, go for it. Want to be a juggler? Go for it. Counselor? Go for it. If you have a passion you can’t ignore it. It will never go away. It will only go from “gee I wish I could” to “Goddamn it I wish I did.” You don’t want to be 40 years old looking around your house wondering what if. Thats the worst thing you can do to yourself. If you have a passion it’s who you’re supposed to be. I can’t help but think of one of my favorite scenes from Six Feet Under when Claire is told she’s not an artist. If you’re a writer you know it. If you feel like you’re supposed to be something you should just go for it. Believe me, when you follow your passions you become a lot happier, because work will be much easier when you’re doing something you enjoy.
Check your Ego at The Door
You’re going to have to make some career sacrifices in order to get ahead in this world. Sure, I’m a blogger and Production Assistant–but I also have to feed myself and pay my mortgage. Sometimes I take jobs that aren’t glamourous–but beggars can’t be choosers. Yeah sure, I’m a karaoke host on the weekends and that may not seem like the most “high brow” job, but I’m good at it. Sometimes…I even have a little fun. If you’re going to try to reach your career goals you’ll have to take some jobs you aren’t 100% proud of. Don’t ever think you’re too good for a good paying job. I know some actresses starting out that won’t do background work because they’re “too talented”. Guess what? Your talent will never see the light of day with an ego like that.
Work Your Ass Off
How many hours do I work a week? Hmmmm….I really don’t know. But if I could guestimate I’d say–a whole fuckload. Maybe even a shitton. If you’re going to chase your dream and financially keep yourself afloat you’re probably going to have to do a lot of work around the clock. When I work on a film or commercial I sometimes work up to 15 hours a day. After working during the day I come home at night and take care of my social media clients. Sometimes, I might have to do work and not get paid. Nowadays I can’t afford to do many free gigs–but this website and The Pincushion Podcast take up a lot of my time. I don’t make any money off of it, but my name is getting out there. You have to have a lot of drive to work more than you normally wouldn’t at a 9-5 job.
Never Lose Hope
Sure, there are going to be times when you’re sitting in the back of a grip truck in the woods alone at 2 am with a flashlight thinking to yourself; Why the fuck am I doing this again? You’re going to question yourself. The thought of retreating back to the corporate world WILL tempt you. Stability is a dirty dirty minx, but you can’t let her seduce you. Shake off those thoughts of doubt and hopelessness. The more positive you are the better your chances of success. When you’re confident and hard working the universe will always have an opportunity for you.
I really can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve starting freelancing. I guess it’s true when they say time flies when you’re having fun, and I’ve been having a lot of fun. So, If you’re struggling with a career decision in 2013, do what I did. Follow your gut. Bite the bullet and just go for it. You’ll be surprised at what happens, and how you feel about yourself.
As for me, I hope 2013 is even more successful than 2012. I have a lot of big dreams, and a lot of hope. Wish me luck.