From the archives! I originally wrote this post two years ago in January 2016. Two years on and it provides a great opportunity to look back and reflect on my progress. I will be blogging about this soon so here’s the original to provide a line in the sand of where I was at not all that long ago.
I’m going to start by going back, to a post I wrote in March 2015.
“Time to stop lying”
In January I will be moving to Australia. As I’m sure you can imagine I have been asked numerous times if I’ve got a job lined up or what I’m planning on doing job-wise. When asked this I usually lie, well maybe not lie, but I can get pretty vague; “I don’t really know yet, I’ll see when I get there “, “get a job I guess, I haven’t really looked into it yet” or “I’ll take January off and then start job hunting”. I have a whole vocabulary of answers that don’t really answer anything on the tip of my tongue!
But the truth is that I know exactly what I want to be doing, I just haven’t worked out how yet, so I go for the easy option, vagueness! If I were to be honest with people I might reveal a little bit more of what I actually want
I want to have a portfolio career, freelancing on varied and interesting projects, from anywhere of my choosing (yep I’ve still got itchy feet yearning to travel!). Or even better, to have my own business, a dream for a long time but one I’ve dismissed because I’m just not the right sort of person.
I want to be free of the 9 to 5, 5 days a week schedule. I want to have a dog and the flexibility to be around to walk him (or her!) during the day. Or to work into the evening one night knowing that I will be able to take advantage of the good surf that’s coming in the next day! I want to stop weighing up which holiday/adventure I will go for and which to postpone for another year because I never have enough annual leave to fit it all in.
I will work hard and put in long hours when required, as I have done in every job I have worked so far. But I would like it to be on my schedule every once in a while. And wouldn’t it be lovely if the benefits of this dedication could be a little bit more beneficial to me!
And yes, this might sound like a dream, but that’s because that’s what it is, it’s my dream!
Fast forward to the present: January 2016
I never published that blog, I guess I wasn’t ready to make my intentions public at that stage. But as the rest of 2015 played out my answers to the questions about all things job, work & career related did become a little less vague.
I slowly gained the confidence to vocalise my dreams, when asked what I was going to do, (dependent on who was asking!). I might mention wanting to work as a freelancer, possibly through coaching or maybe as a virtual assistant. Then I would pause, and see what response I got. For the “is it possible to make money doing that?” or “yeah, doesn’t everyone, keep dreaming!” or even “it’s hard to get work in that area, have you got any experience” type answers I would revert back to my simpler, vague answers. Because my ideas weren’t developed enough or my confidence strong enough to be able to argue their case.
But on occasion a really interesting discussion would ensue about how I could make it happen, or someone that I could speak to, or a website to look at. And that’s when I was glad I hadn’t just used my stock answers, and my excitement and longing for my dreams would grow.
In December 2015 I quit my job
It wasn’t because I hated it or was brave enough to leave a job without something else lined up. My life was changing, I was emigrating to Australia, my job wasn’t transferable and I wanted to seize the opportunity to try something different. In my last blog I made a (vague!) declaration about stepping away from the 9 to 5 and put it out there for everyone to see. A small step maybe, but to me it felt big and bold.
Still I dance delicately around the questions; “what are you up to?” and “have you got a job yet” with tales of being a Sydney tourist (& feeling incredibly lucky about it!) or waiting for my tax number or waiting until the holiday period is over. Yet more vague, well-practised answers! The hours I’ve spent at my laptop (on the balcony when it’s not too hot!), exploring my interests may not get a mention. With my current interests being a somewhat random mix of coaching, dog walking, virtual assistant and bush adventure therapy it doesn’t really help my case!
When I say I have lots to do I often let the assumption lie that it’s the settling in and moving to a new country type stuff (which some of it is!). Not mentioning the researching, reading, learning and planning that I’ve been doing or how I’ve spent hours delving into WordPress so I can continue to play with my website. Or that I feel a little overwhelmed by how much there is still to do. Because my mind is currently sparking with so many ideas that there is never enough time in the day to read & learn & all the things I would like, or to contact all of the people who may be able to help me along the way.
So what’s with all the vagueness?
If you’ve been thinking about a career change then you may well know of Marianne at Free Range Humans (and if not you should check her out!) A paragraph that I read in one of Marianne’s love letters a while back really struck a chord with me.
“Stop letting their doubts and opinions into your discussions and dreams. A new idea is like a baby: it is vulnerable. It needs nurturing. It is your responsibility as your idea’s sole parent to provide that. That means you, my dear, had better get mother-hen vigilant about the company you let near your beautiful fragile unsure baby idea.”
Which is why I sometimes opt to keep quiet, adopt my old friend vagueness, and choose not to share the details of what I’m doing or planning with a colleague, a friend or even with those closest to me.
Because every doubt I hear, no matter how well-intentioned & caring, makes me question my ideas and dreams. Every doubt makes me wonder if I’m wasting my time or being self-indulgent. And if these doubts come on a bad day I can start thinking that I should just get job hunting again and give up on my freelancing dream. With so many doubts of my own I do not need to invite or add the doubts of others.
The truth is that I haven’t been lying, I’ve just been guarding my dreams.
So if you get some vague answers from me, please don’t push or question too much, just know that if and when these ideas are a little stronger I will happily share them with you. And chances are I may well ask for your help as I work towards achieving them!
In the meantime I’ll be working hard, but in a job defined by me rather than someone else (it’s currently a voluntary rather than paid position!). I’ll be doing my own thing to see where it takes me, desperately hoping it might just take me somewhere wonderful. And I might pay the occasional trip to the beach too, after all, it would be rude not to!