You’ve heard this, right? “Find what you love and find a way to get paid for it.”
Or maybe “It’s not work if you love what you do.”
I’ve worked my whole life, typically multiple jobs at a time. But I think I’ve been aimed in the wrong direction. I’ve been feeding what’s come easily to me and using that as a lever to keep learning things. The learning things part is definitely a “what I love to do” and I do get paid for it, but it can be had in many ways.
I’ve been working parallel to creative careers, in part because the adjacent stuff pays better. I started in theater and music was instantly terrified by my colleagues who came from expensive suburban schools and had logged multiple productions a year under their belt. I chose the major because I liked to be on stage the few times I had been. Too quickly, I moved into spaces that came more easily to me. And I’ve been very successful there, earning promotions and leading teams because teaching and mentoring (and a decent spreadsheet) come easily to me.
I’ve been fortunate in my work life to always create jobs for myself that I liked and that gave me room to constantly learn, but lately, I’ve gone more than toes in on creative, terrifying, life-changing gigs. I finally committed to the title “writer” and not only use it regularly, but also do the work. I’m submitting, I’m getting editor feedback, I’m publishing and twice in as many years, I’ve been accepted to workshop with notable, incredible authors who become mentors.
And now, another step toward not just what I’m good at, but something that will challenge me. I have been offered the chance to work in a professional improv group. No longer a hobbyist, I’m treating my new creative ventures as significant late blooming and coming back around to where I started.
I like the middle part of my career. I’ve done excellent work, learned more than I ever knew I needed to, and have managed and met passionate colleagues. I’ve traveled all over for work, trusted by my bosses to represent our companies, to hone our messages and to grow programs.
But I’m also excited to start stacking up what may be the next parts of my career. I’m a creative. I always have been. I also masquerade as a person suited to a desk job and I’ve done that very well, but I love that mid-life, doors are opening and inviting me back to not just what I’m good at, but to that soul-feeding stuff that I’ve craved.
Maybe my real job is to testify that work doesn’t define you.
Jobs teach you things, success inspires you, but you pick the jobs, you make the success; you’re the one defining you. I hate saying “I’m a Jack of all trades,” because we often forget the end of that phrase is “and a master of none.” It’s unfair. You can master as many things trades as you like. I will.
Feminist, activist, outdoor advocate, animal lover, chocolate shake lover, reader, watcher, talker, actor, speaker, worker, writer, urban adventurer, hustler, involved, passionate, excited, ready.