It's been almost 2 years since I left my dream job as senior art director at my old advertising agency - but I can still taste the anxiety that decision left me with.
So when Ramona, an aspiring creative entrepreneur, emailed me for advice about leaving her current job for another job that is a bit more of a creative challenge it was a no-brainer that she should do it - but I know first hand how much emotion can cloud your perception when it comes to weighing the pros and cons to make such a bold decision.
I want to share with you all my email correspondence with Ramona where I help her break it down. Even though Ramona's circumstances are specific (and those specifics should be considered even when following your heart) I think it could potentially help a few of you who are struggling with the decision of when to quit too.
Subject: Taking the risk to following your dreams or staying safe???
I have been reading your blog for quite a while now and you truly inspire me when it comes to starting your own business, following your dreams and the such. I am writing your today for advice as I find myself in a situation where I have to make a pretty tough decision.
So here's my story: I graduated from university in 2009 with a degree in International Business Management. I have been working as an assistant for the CEO ever since in a small company doing regional development and marketing.
At first I was challenged, had my own projects and was able to grow. But now I am bored most of the time. Yes I get a good paycheck at the end of the month, but I do not accomplish anything - I have to add that I am the kind of person who needs the challenge. I always want to grow and move forward. If I'm really in it, busy (in a good way) and challenged I become really creative and I work harder than anything. But I haven't experienced this in a long time. I have of course applied for new jobs in communication, marketing, events but so far nothing has worked out so far.
My dream has always been to be a freelance one day doing creative consulting and events and weddings and maybe development help in 3rd world countries.
I know my time to be a freelance has not come yet. But... here's the thing. I go to a church here and they opened up a public restaurant/café last October. It's seriously a great restaurant and one that's offering foods that do not exist in this region where I live yet. It's very stylish and always displays local artists and it's cozy and the food is truly great! Sadly, it's not running the way it should be yet due to lack of leadership from the manager. Last week the owners sat down with me and offered me the position as restaurant manager. They told me that they believe that I can manage and lead people, that I would bring a heart and a vision and creativity in it that could turn this thing around and make it to the place it could be.
Wow... I was pretty overwhelmed and honored and scared I guess. I have no experience whatsoever with leading a restaurant. Like nothing. Plus, I would for now get less money than I do now and my time schedule and everything in my life would change.
If I'm honest with you I have always looked up to women who followed their dreams no matter what. Who got out of their comfort zone and just did it. They were passionate and made it happen. I've always wanted to be that kind of a woman. I do believe that if I take on this job it would be one step further to being a freelance one day as I would learn how to run a business. It would be great challenge and a great risk. Yes, running a restaurant sounds fancy and I often romanticize everything in my life and dream a fairy tale. I do know it would be hard work and busy schedules. I just really want to accomplish something in my life. Not for the money or for fame, but for myself. Isn't now the time to be risky and go after my dreams and just get out there and do it? Follow my heart and dream?
I know I am totally writing you all this personal stuff and I don't even know you but I wanted to ask you because you seem to be the person who did it and you know how much work it is. Do all my thoughts make sense to you? Do I sound a little weird just telling you all this?
My former life as senior art director at a really rad ad agency - it was a tough decision to leave. Photo by David McNeese.
Here's my repsonse to Ramona's dilemma:
What do you guys think? What advice would you give to someone in Ramona's position?