Hello a life loved readers! If you have read any of my previous posts (lessons learned whilst renovating and how to refresh your home) you will already know that I am interiors obsessed! I can’t pinpoint exactly when or how that happened to me, but I think it was when my family moved to a big old Victorian house and set about reconfiguring it from three flats back in to one home.
I was about 13 and would dream up how I could decorate my bedroom as well as moving the furniture around on a weekly basis. It’s fair to say my early interior creations were pretty bad (lilac and peach together) and it never occurred to me that interiors could become my actual job. My early career goals were to work with animals and after school I started to train as a veterinary nurse. That came to an abrupt halt when I realised I fainted at the sight of intestines. So I followed my other passion – reading and writing and went on to do a journalism degree. I won’t give you a whole run through of my CV but in short, after graduating I found my calling in PR and communications and I loved it.
I loved writing, dealing with the press, creating adverts, campaigns, strap lines, websites, brochures and booklets, arranging photo shoots etc etc I loved the people who worked in the same industry – they had buzz and humour and talent. When I met someone lovely (my now husband) I moved from Wales to Birmingham, leaving behind a bloody brilliant job at The Welsh Government and continued to work in PR and comms.
I worked hard, putting in plenty of overtime and dreamed of becoming a ‘Head of’ or ‘Director of’ marketing one day. Slowly but surely I climbed the ladder and I was promoted to Assistant Director of Marketing aged 28. At first I was as pleased as punch but it wasn’t long before I realised I didn’t feel as content as I thought I should have when only one more step away from the ultimate goal. I started to feel frustrated, annoyed and fed up with work. I realised that the more I climbed the ladder, the further away I had moved from the things I really enjoyed doing – the creative things. The sparkle had gone.
Setting up my blog The Green Eyed Girl was my way to introduce some more of that creativity back in to my life and it coincided nicely with buying our wreck of a home. My love for interiors hadn’t gone away over the years as such, but with a new home to renovate it really started to flourish and more of my blog content became interiors related. For years I dedicated all my spare time to the blog and house renovation (and in fact I still do).
This worked as a diversion from my day job for a while but it was more of a plaster than a solution to the problem. I changed employer but when that didn’t work either it hit me – the career I had been working so hard at for so many years no longer appealed to me.
This was a revelation and one that left me floundering. Aren’t we brought up to believe you have to pick a career and that is it? You are stuck in for life and there are no ways out? OK, you hear of people changing career, but it is mostly a story told with raised eyebrows, a worried expression quickly followed by “lucky them”. Always them.
I fantasised about leaving my job, retraining as an interior designer and starting afresh but if I am honest I was scared. Scared to start from the bottom again, scared I would be a rubbish interior designer and scared that I didn’t know anything else. In the end I had to leave. I was burned out and fed up of coming home crying, being miserable company and I dreaded people asking me how work was because I couldn’t come out with anything positive. My then fiancé finally caved in and agreed to let me quit and I left my comfortable career without any job to go.
My plan? I knew I would be able to do some consultancy and freelance work with my skill set and background and I planned to put some additional energy in to the blog, our home and our upcoming wedding. But more than anything I wanted to allow some space to see what it was that I wanted to do, to explore other options and to chase my new dreams. The overwhelming reaction from people was for them to tell me how brave I was. In one sense, I understand why they would think that but on the other hand I actually felt that the scarier thing would have been for me to not pursue my ‘new’ dreams.
And this got me to thinking; how many other people have reach the stage in their careers that they dreamed of years ago only to realise it wasn’t really what they expected? Or simply that they would like to try something different? I don’t think I am alone!
I am not sure whether I believe in fate or not but the universe was very VERY kind to me. I started my first piece of consultancy work two weeks after leaving my job. It was to get a website and social media up and running for a neighbour who had not long set up a….wait for it…. interior design company. I was using the skills and expertise I already had in a new industry – one that I was obsessed with!
A career doesn’t have to be for life. You will change, your industry will change and your life will change and these things may mean it just doesn’t do it for you anymore
I soon started helping in other areas of the business and the learning curve has been steep. It turns out all my renovating, blogging and general interiors obsessing taught me a lot. I am still learning every day but I am excited and eager and willing to get things wrong, to learn new things and to feel out of my depth sometimes.
Once more I feel proud to tell people what I do and I get a little frizzle of excitement run through me when I hear myself say I work in the interiors industry. Oh, and the cherry on the cake? My job title is Head of Sales and Marketing!
My lesson from all this?
A career doesn’t have to be for life. You will change, your industry will change and your life will change and these things may mean it just doesn’t do it for you anymore. I have also learned there is quite likely something out there right now that you are already skilled for or that you can learn to do that will float your new boat.
Oh, and one more thing. Taking a leap into the unknown isn’t as scary as it sounds, it’s actually quite exciting.