Spend nearly half a decade in university (or an actual half decade, in my case), and then graduate to find a job in the field you studied. That’s typically how these things work at my age and more importantly, what I “should” be striving for after devoting nearly my entire life to getting a proper education. When I was younger, I always thought about the job that I would work in when I finally finished the whole process of my schooling. It was always a “real” job that I envisioned: a veterinarian, a doctor, a clinical psychologist, a teacher. The latter profession, the final “real” job I planned on getting into, didn’t pan out partly because I only applied to one school and didn’t get accepted, but mostly because (I’d like to say) A) I wasn’t that into it and consequently, B) I clearly wasn’t aligning myself with an acceptance to teacher’s college, nor putting enough effort into getting to the point where I would get accepted.
The point I am trying to make here is that I was trying to act my age, to think about being a typical adult and committing myself to the next 45 years of my life; one where I’ll be working solely for a paycheque until I retire a tired senior regretting the chances I never took as a new graduate way back when I was twenty-three.
The truth is that by the end of my university career, as I approached the time where I had to either graduate and move on to a job, or continue into a Master’s program that would direct me right into a specialized career path, I realized that I didn’t want to tie myself down to a typical job. I don’t want to be locked to a particular company for the rest of my life, aside from my own company with the content that I create. I’d rather work with people that I opt to to as a freelancer, surround myself with colleagues I choose, and ultimately, make my own hours. I want to be able to drop everything to travel when I want to. I want to be creative in everything I do. I want to feel excited about waking up and doing something that I love.
The amount of travelling I’ve been able to do in the past year has made me realize how much I want to be able to do things on a whim. I enjoy earning money as a freelancer for the creative work I do: blogging, article writing, social network management, photography, videography, content creation, etc. I like meeting new people and thus, the new ideas that they bring to the table. Despite it being a bit difficult to grow your network at first, as well as to connect with the right people who you would enjoy working with, I’ve found that it’s worth the time, the (lack of) money, and the overall effort.
So, no. I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable “acting my age” in terms of a career and throwing myself into the comfort of a routine job. I won’t invest these critical years of my life doing a 9 to 5 for the sake of it when I could be using this time to network, learn early from my mistakes, build a name for myself, and launch into a career that I truly want to devote my energy to. I’m lucky enough to have encouraging people all around me, one of whom is a close friend who I talk to daily about the seemingly endless trials us freelancers often face, but also our victories both big and small (it’s the amazing blogger Kat Something — if you’ve not already seen her website, you’re missing out!).
So… my fellow creatives/freelancers… what do YOU do? What are your favourite things about doing what you do? Let me know in the comments!