2016 has been a really weird year for me. Full of contradictions. My personal life has been rubbish. Worst year ever, as I mentioned in my last post. Let’s leave it at that. But my work life has been booming. (Except for June when I didn’t have a single shoot and I was thinking about a career change – dentistry perhaps?) Aside from that scary little quiet time, I’ve been so busy with making/writing the new book and styling freelance for old and new clients that I’ve barely had time to think. It’s turned out to be a life-saver in dealing with the difficult personal issues – if I’d had too much time to mull things over, I would have been even more of a mess! (That quiet time in June wasn’t too pretty).I’ve come to the realisation that I love working – more to the point, I love working at this particular job. I’ve had terrible jobs before and I haven’t loved working as much! But I feel lucky to have carved out a career where I do what I love and I get paid quite well for it and I can kind of choose my schedule. All that means is I can say no to jobs if I want to, rather than being tied to office hours and the rules of corporate life. I don’t often say no to jobs to be honest, because I like earning money and I’ve got to keep my two teenagers in doc martens and bomber jackets and next year, university fees for one of them. But the freedom of being freelance is something I don’t think I could do without. Of course I have absolutely no security and no pension plan or any of that stuff that comes with a ‘real’ job, but I’ve got big dreams, so I’m hoping I’ll be ok in the end. (Now if I was offered bucket loads of money to work for a brand I love, doing a job I’m good at and also love, then maybe I would reconsider my pro-freelance stance. Particularly if it was in New York…Just sayin!)
As a freelance stylist I often have blocks of work – right now for example, I’ve got a couple of months of shoots pretty much back to back, with prep days worked in between each shoot. Often during these busy blocks, I’ll have to work weekends as well, shopping for flowers and props or making things. Right now I’m working towards mid November, when I will hopefully have a few days off to catch up with life admin, relax a bit, putter around at home and gear up for the next block. I like it this way – although not the weekends – I’m trying to change that. But even on the weekends, if I’m feeling annoyed, I try to remind myself that going to the flower market with my granny trolley or shopping for homewares with someone else’s money isn’t such a bad thing to have to do.
All I can say is that if you want something, if you have any sort of dream of the perfect job, do not give up. Don’t give in to the fear, don’t listen to the naysayers, just block it all out, have a plan, and keep your eye on that goal. Put your head down and work your butt off. They are all cliches, I’m well aware. But they are also true. I’ve had so many ups and downs and there have been many times when I’ve thought of packing it all in, and I’m sure I’ll have those times again. But when I think of the alternative – getting that ‘real’ job – for me it feels like giving up. And I’m nothing, if not determined.