- Sometimes, making a living and making a life goes in opposite directions -.
I worked in corporate almost my entire adult life. After the honeymoon stage that lasted maybe 5 years in total I knew that that was not what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. Besides, I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but honestly, I didn’t even know that that was a career.
I can’t even remember what I used to think but maybe I used to think that artists were people who tried to get a job in corporate and because they couldn’t, they were expressing their frustrations through their art or they had to develop a talent to make a living. I know... crazy me... And I’ve always knew that it wasn’t easy. I've always knew that most artists have a very challenging financial situation. So... couldn't go for that. Had to pay my bills since I was young and help at home. So corporate I went.
But life just happens, and my life funny enough followed my teenager thoughts, and after moving to Edmonton, I couldn’t find a job in corporate so I started my own creative business. Something I had never done before, something I’m still learning, something that until then, was only in my dreams. But there I was. It started slowly, and after a year and a bit it started to pick up. However, my husband and I wanted to move back to Toronto for many reasons, and then very sudden I got a job here. In corporate. In a field I didn’t have any experience in because it honestly didn’t interest me.
So we got everything packed. Sold as much as we could. Got the cats and moved to Toronto.
Day 1 of my job I got home crying. It was like watching again a movie I hated watching before. I didn’t want to go back the next day. But then I didn’t know if I was just emotionally unstable for all the move and the changes, or if it was just an adjusting phase like every new job has. So I decided to go back the next day and start and try to be positive about it. But, there was not one easy day. Since day 1. There were calmer days, but then there were days that I caught myself crying in the washroom and hiding in meeting rooms. Then I started feeling physically ill. Headaches, sweating, heart palpitations. I never, ever, in my whole like went through those feelings at a workplace. Of course it was not only the corporate environment. There were other things that were not motivating me from the location to the people, and everything was adding up, adding up, and adding up, until I couldn’t do it anymore. Until the day I got in the car and I couldn’t drive there. I froze. The thought of it gave me nausea and dizziness. So I got one week leave from my doctor, and then two weeks leave. And by the end of the leave I knew that everything that made me sick in the first place was always going to be there if I went back the next day, or in a month, or in six, and again, just the thought of it made me sick. So I quit.
I couldn’t even do the ‘right thing’. Go there, talk to my boss, apologize, take the blame so you don’t burn any bridges, give a two week notice. I couldn’t. The sick feeling was stronger then the thought and the feeling to make things ‘right’ on the eyes of the corporate world. I sent an email. I offered no notice.
Every single person who I told I was going to do this said the same thing in different words: "it takes a lot of courage to quit".
I don’t feel it that way. All I feel is a relief. I think it may be like a mama lion fighting for a baby lion. I guess... that if she could put it into words she wouldn’t say she was brave. She would probably say she just did what she needed to do. I needed to do it. I was feeling I was drowning. I wasn’t brave. I needed to do that to be able to get out of the survival mode and live again.
So I chose to make a life instead of making a living.
What’s next? I don’t know. Uppercase Press has been my business for a few years now. Some months are better than others, but honestly, never really enough to rely on it entirely. So this week I started living in faith. Remember: faith is believing in something that you can’t see. I have faith I’ll have enough work, and I have faith things will be ok.
One thing I can guarantee: I am starting to feel like myself again. I am sleeping again, I am hungry again, I want to get better dressed to go places, I want to talk to people. I want to laugh, to explore Toronto, and make connections.
I didn’t plan for this job to last so little. But at least I feel alive again, so something good may come out if it, right?