Over the past two years, I have taken many small but necessary steps to enhance myself personally and professionally. I moved to Tel Aviv, began working in marketing, purchased a lot of lipsticks and spent a solid amount of time with puppies. I would say that for the most part it's been a good two years.
And now, I'm happy to announce that it's time for the next step: I'm branching out independently as a social media and content marketing consultant. Although I am deeply appreciative for my colleague who I've worked with over the past several months, I've come to the realization that it's in my best interest, both personally and professionally, to do this thing on my own.
Believe it or not, no one is more pissed about this move than my parents. Coming from a generation that values professional stability and structure, I understand their perspective and appreciate their sentiment. But, after much soul-searching and childhood memories of fighting with my superiors, I've come to the realization that I am not good at being told what to do. I just can't do it. I need my opinions to be valued, my work to be respected and my creative freedom to be expressed in order to fuel my self-motivation and writing endorphins. And in my experience, it's difficult to achieve all of those things when you're working for someone else's happiness and not your own.
During this process of self-discovery and change, I've also come to the realization that stability isn't real, regardless of whether you have a full-time job or not. You can get fired at any second. The start-up you're working for could go under. Your industry could vanish before your eyes (too soon, print journalism?) Your partner could leave you, your rent could go up and your neighborhood grocery store could stop carrying your favorite granola bars (actually happened to me). So what is this concept of "stability" that everyone is obsessed with? Anything can change at any second, and once I accepted that reality, I decided to make the best of it.
The next question/concern that I'm getting from friends is "How do you know how to do all of that stuff though?? Like, digital marketing and social media? You, like, really think you can do that on your own?" Um, like yeah, I really do.
I'm concerned that my generation is obsessed with the notion that every career and life skill must be acquired in school. This is why people stay in school forever -- because they're scared of leaving and are sure they can't survive without the knowledge gathered in their precious safety net of a classroom. But guess what: It's just not true! I am living proof that it's possible to learn nothing in college (no offense, University of Oregon). Everything I've learned in my career has come from experienced colleagues and mentors, extensive reading, listening and watching, and learning on the job. I am the biggest believer in "fake it 'till you make it." I had to put in the time everyday, absorb my experiences like a sponge, and put myself in foreign (and often uncomfortable) situations in order to grow. And here I am. Yay.
Just kidding. The next big step -- finding clients -- will be the most challenging of them all. But I know that with patience and persistence, I'll gain the clientele that I need in order to achieve the work-life balance that I want and create a structure that aligns with my goals. I'm really not worried about it. Because I know that no matter how much stability I have in my life, it will never be worth it if I'm not making those choices for myself.