On risk and loving what you do

Personal

P&H blog

If you need motivation to get something done, here’s what I suggest: throw away all hope of steady financial security and stability. Nothing like feeling that fire under you when you know that this is IT. Go big or go home. Get your big girl pants on because we’ve got some serious work to do.

For the past month I have been feeling increasingly unhappy with my job. Unhappy is probably an understatement — it was this terrible, congealed mixture of dissatisfaction, doubt, and defeat. It seemed that the universe kept throwing signs at me that I was not right for that position. Like I just shouldn’t be there at all. I stumbled across Marie Forleo’s video about transitioning from your day job to your dream business. I watched as strangely relevant pins filled my Pinterest dashboard with quotes so spot-on that I should have been suspicious. I found this fantastic interview with Jessica Hische, one of my all-time-favorite designers and letterers, and her husband, Russ Maschmeyer. Just read this quote, this one right here:

“Listen to what you want and the things you’re passionate about. Don’t let career sexiness or things other people say you should be interested in guide what you want to do. Something might seem like a really great job title, but you might find out that you hate what you’re doing for nine hours a day. You want to be in a career that you love every minute of and you want going to work to be a joy. You will spend a third of your life working—hopefully for us, it’ll be the rest of our lives.” – Jessica Hische

UGH. Jess, girl, you GET me.

Sure, my job title is “graphic designer.” I have a fancy desktop sitting underneath my shiny nameplate, and I guess (for lack of other employees in the department) I could get away with calling myself the Art Director. But… I don’t love it. I kind of hate it, actually. I work 40 hours a week doing “design” that should really just be called “putting this terrible logo on this terrible PDF with terrible typesetting.” Creativity? Nah, maybe the next project. Update our websites via Frontpage 2007 and then, maaaaybe, you can work on something that might have you going home feeling fulfilled.

In the beginning I was hopeful that the position would turn into something long term. The length of time I told myself I would stay quickly diminished; a few years, one year, six months, oh my gosh can I even make it six months? I realized I couldn’t. Or, at least, I wouldn’t. If I don’t love it, it’s not worth it… right?

I gave my thirty-day notice yesterday. It was both amicable and pleasant. My boss could not have reacted better — he even gave me tips about how to start up my own LLC. Still… it’s terrifying. I got a job almost right out of college, and I’m giving it up. I’m worried what people will think of me. That they’ll think I’m making dumb decisions, or I’m naive, or I’m lazy and just don’t want to work. I almost thought that I couldn’t go through with it because I was so worried about what others would say. That, I think, would be the worst decision I could make. My parents can worry all they want — all I know is that I would regret not doing what feels right and natural and meant. I would hate myself if in ten years I looked back, still working in a cubicle 8-5, and threw around a few what-ifs. So I quit.

Terror aside, I felt phenomenal giving that notice. I FEEL phenomenal. After this month, I am finally going to have the time I’ve wanted and needed to start exploring my other interests. I can put those 40+ hours a week to developing my paper goods line, taking on more freelance design projects, and turning this blog into something serious. I can explore photography and handlettering and sewing and whatever else I want to do. I truly, truly believe “If you love what you do, you won’t have to work a day in your life.” It may take me a bit but I will get to that point someday. I have quite a bit of growing in my future.

[divider] [/divider]Print by Therese Sennerholt

  1. Torbald says:

    GET IT, GIRL.

  2. […] Mae were easygoing, funny, and patient. I could tell that they truly love what they do, which is something so important to me. After getting our files a couple of days ago I am beyond with our choice and their work. Check out […]

  3. Aubrey says:

    Thank you for those links. I loved that first video, especially how she talked about enjoying that job you hate because otherwise you become exhausted when you go home to do what you love. I never thought of it that way but it’s so true.

    That is probably the best boss reaction I’ve heard about, a supportive and respectful reaction.

    My husband and I are in the same position and would like to follow our creative dreams and be self-employed. Thanks for this post- it’s just one more bit of support to tackle what can seem daunting and scary but I know will be so rewarding and fun.

    Cheers!
    -Aubrey

  4. […] a full-time design job and the pride that comes with it, gaining some real-world experience, realizing the vastness of how much it isn’t for me, and quitting. It was absolutely terrifying and absolutely […]

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