I’ve been feeling restless again. Oh, you know me…it’s nothing new, but I’m feeling like I need to do SOMETHING. A change – and I will be the first one to admit that this feeling is cyclical – but here it is again, for the umpteenth time. I have lost count. That feeling. Perhaps I am fickle. Or bored. Or unchallenged. Or restless.
I know I declared this very thing almost 2 years ago. That I wanted to make the moves to transition careers, but then….I had the best year ever as a freelancer, after having my best years as a freelancer the 2 years before and I was busy, no room to even breathe. The surprising thing about it was that I actually felt fine being a designer. I didn’t hate it or make excuses about hating it as I have so often done in the past, plus we weren’t struggling financially like we were before. It was nice to have money and be able to take a yearly vacation and to buy not only things we needed, but wanted. Ironically, we flourished during this recession and built something from nothing in the process.
But, it doesn’t feel like enough.
There is still so much work to do if we want to grow our brand, but I have yet to figure out how my skill sets fit into this puzzle on a daily basis long term. It may not be enough. I want to do more.
Sometimes it’s really difficult when you are your own boss and you work independently to feel any real quantitative measures of success when you’re not on that corporate ladder climb. There isn’t anyone to give you a raise. There aren’t promotions with job titles. There aren’t co-workers or staff or a boss telling you that you did a good job. Those affirmations that are traditionally built in within a corporate structure don’t really exist in the freelance world. When you’re the boss, all of this is on you. Often, you feel like you’re just moving laterally and not up. And so, this is what I’ve been feeling. That despite the fact that I’ve worked on some pretty interesting and high proile projects, I feel like I’ve been moving laterally for the last 10 years, but not really going anywhere professionally.
There was an interesting thread on my NYU grad school listserve about a month ago. Someone had posted their frustrations during a job search because of the ambiguity and changing nature of the jobs in their field. They wanted to shift to something related but still within that discipline, but was having a hard time defining that role to possible employers. Someone replied back that it wasn’t until she started calling herself that role and thinking of herself in that role that other people started seeing her that way too. I think that’s really good advice.
So friends, an answer to a question has finally emerged that has been so elusive to me in the past. “What do you enjoy doing? What do you feel passionate about?”. It may not be the one and only thing, but for now, I can stand by this answer and believe it to be true, and it’s that I like taking photographs and I like telling stories. Let’s see where this goes.