Wanted: Long Lunches & Sleep Ins – Enquire Within
Not because winter is releasing its grip, but because Ive made the rather bold move of quitting my job!
I started with WB in 2007, two months after I arrived in Melbourne from Perth. With a background in design from Curtin Uni, I had a leg up to put me in front of other candidates, and I stepped into an administrative role for the Consulting team. Ive been through a number of roles while here (most of them stemming from the GFC and the appropriation of my ‘cost’ to various disciplines in a bid to keep me employed) from Administration > to Proposal Coordinator > to Consulting Coordinator > to Finance (Defence Consulting) > to Finance (Melbourne) > and back to Consulting Coordinator post GFC (managing financial reporting and proposal/tender coordination and marketing) > and then promoted to my current role as a Consultant, working with clients such as La Trobe University, National Australia Bank, Melbourne Water, and Google. Naturally this final role has been the most rewarding.
But I haven’t just been working here for the last three and a half years. During 2007 I took time off from uni to rebuild myself in a new city, and in 2008 I returned to study at Swinburne University, for a Bachelor of Design (Interior Design). An interest in business strategy (fostered by working alongside the Consulting team) saw me convert to a double degree at the beginning of 2010, and I will graduate with a Bachelor of Business (Management), as well as a Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) with the goal of skipping all those nasty first few years as a recent grad in the marketplace.
But it doesn’t stop there. During this time Ive also worked at a Pizzeria, a Chapel St bar, and moonlighted as a writer, model, and actress. Im no longer at the bar or the restaurant, but I am modelling much much more, and also working as a hostess at various events. And when I wasn’t doing any of these things, well… I was studying! I was pushing almost 70 hours every week (around 80% in the office, 15% classes & study, 15% ‘other’ work) Somewhere in there I also, thankfully, managed to find time to fall in love. <3
This may sound like alot to the average person. But I also don’t believe Im average. And I don’t mean that in a self-inflated, narcissistic way. What I mean is that I am aware through my experience and my interaction with others, that I do alot in the mere 8760 hours that are given to me every year. This doesn’t make people who do less, lazy… and it doesn’t make me a high achiever by a long shot. In fact I know lots of people who are doing the ‘juggling’ act, I just juggle a career defining role instead of a waitress job. Ive been juggling these balls for about 6 years now, ever since I started studying. Ive always been a part time student, and worked two (sometimes more) jobs, and never done the uni bum thing. Ive talked about this before…. what it would be like to have infinite freedom, and an empty wallet. Well Im about to find out!
In December through to February of this year, I had a mini breakdown. A realisation of everything and anything, coming to blows in my mind like an electrical storm. I shut down, broke down, crumbled, and every other analogy possible to represent a complete shambles of existence. I have a vague recollection of people being genuinely concerned for my welfare but somehow, as I always do, I elected to fight on my own. And so I did, rebuilding from nothing to everything when in reality very little in my world, externally, had changed. It started a thought process that culminated in several notions, the most critical being that I was always looking forward, always reaching for the best opportunities, the most money, the greatest advancement, but I was missing the little things. Like sleep ins with my boy (sorry babe I have to rush to a shoot!), like long lunches with uni friends (sorry guys I have to go back to the office!), like my writing (and close to 10 unfinished blog posts). There is a quote that says ‘Don’t aim for the stars if you will miss the posies at your feet’. I think that sums it up perfectly. I was so busy being the best, being perfect at everything, taking on all that was so fortunately offered to me… that I forgot the joy of making mistakes, of learning, of laughing… of doing nothing.
A few weeks ago I skipped two weeks of classes, several assignments, and dodged querying correspondence from uni, in order to finish a space audit for a client. I was required on site all day. Every day. I was in my element and gave it 110% percent. But naturally this left nothing, a negative void, for my school work. And it suffered. And then I was shaken with guilt. And I realised that if I was to continue on this career path, something would have to give. If I had an assignment due, and a client report due… which would take priority? Of course it would be the one to which I was responsible to another person for. The only person I am responsible to for my schoolwork was me. And me can wait!
I thought I could do it all. You know, so many people told me I could do anything I wanted, I could take on the world, manage any obstacle, people that said I had gumption, balls, bravery, blind stupidity to achieve whatever … but what I really wanted was someone to tell me I COULDNT do it, that I didn’t have to measure myself against a perfect scale. So after lengthy conversations with my parents (who intuitively knew much was wrong – even from the other side of the country) and Jimmy (who always maintained that anything I wanted to do, he would stand by me) I decided to resign.
I looked at it this way; As much as I had put into this role, my loyalty would never pay the dividends that I had paid to it. If I went away, it would likely be there when I came back. However if I put my studies on hold, not only would I hit a career ceiling, Id likely never go back to school. As well as this, I wanted to BE a uni bum, more than anything. I didn’t want to stress and cry about dividing those 8760 hours into reasonable allocations for every one of my multiple pursuits. So last week I quit, and I finish here at the end of the year.
There is still a great deal of fear. How will I cope with more time, and a new kind of life, where I control my spare time as freely as my uni timetable, but watch my wallet like a hawk. Fortunately the fear is outweighed by the excitement. The prospect of spending more time with less people, more time indulging in creative pursuits… modelling, writing, film…. jumping on board new ventures and opportunities and investing my creative energy into real-time returns. Im genuinely excited about freelance writing, and interior design, and working a part time job that allows me to clock in at designated hours, where I can leave work pressures at work, and leave on time. Yes, I will have significantly less money, but I will (and already) have infinitely more. More time, more happiness, more simple joys, more appreciation, more creation, more learning, more sleep ins, and more long lunches. Ok and yes, I am already filling these impending free hours with ideas… but they’re MY ideas. And who knows if I will actually ever go back to the firm… for now the choice is allllll mine.
PS. This means that as of Monday January 4th 2011, I will be looking for a part time job in the inner south east suburbs of Melbourne… Retail; definitely… Hospitality; maybe (for the right role). Hit me up if you know of anything, or want to see my CV! firstname.lastname@example.org