It was 2012 and I was working for a newspaper in central London.
No, I wasn’t a writer, just one of many minions working in the recruitment advertising department. I contributed towards making the cogs turn in a huge national corporation that had been revamped and resold so many times that I’m not even sure the people around me knew who ran the place.
‘Management’ was just some vague notion – a bland sea of ties against crisp white shirts with blurred faces that made our working days as limited and unremarkable as they could be.
And how could I have been a writer anyway? I’d had no relevant training and although I knew I could write, somebody needed to give me my first big break, right? So as much as I knew doing unremarkable things in an office all day wasn’t for me, I continued to do it anyway. Because, just like everybody else, I was a product of a machine that was installed way before I was even born.
I needed to work to live, yet I lived only to serve. I wasn’t working towards my own goals, my own hopes, my own dreams and aspirations, but instead for some vague, well-dressed entity that didn’t even know my name.
How could this be? Moreover, what could I do?
Well, I’ll tell you exactly what I did:
I quit that job and I never looked back. Instead, I concentrated on building a career as a freelance writer online so I could do all the things I loved to do instead of all the things I loathed.
The way I look at it, if you don’t like the way your life is at the moment, especially when it comes to your work situation, you have only three choices if you want to see a positive outcome:
1. Resolve to fully accept your situation – flaws and all. And I mean truly accept it. Learn to love it. Don’t complain about it, even to yourself. Rejoice in where you are in your life right now and seek out only the good in it.
2. Change your situation. If you’re in a situation at work you don’t like, get up and do something about it. Speak to the right people and reduce your hours to work on what does matters to you, or seek out a role you’ll enjoy instead of resent.
3. Remove yourself from the situation entirely.
They, my friend, are your three options. You don’t have any others. I went with option three, and although it may seem a tad drastic, it was necessary for me and I’ve been a lot happier for it. Since I chose option three, I’ve built a full-time living as a freelance writer online, taken some huge, life-changing trips to different parts of the world and written for some of the biggest global travel names on the planet.
Was it a rash decision? Perhaps.
Has it all been garlands of roses and skipping through meadows? Certainly not.
Was it especially difficult though? Surprisingly not.
It’s been fun, it’s been challenging and it’s been rewarding. It’s been a massive learning experience, a time of growth and change and it’s been an economic, emotional and spiritual revelation. In other words, it’s been life.
I wasn’t living before. I was existing. The mass media and society at large will have you believe that living your life means going to the same place every day to earn money in which to support yourself to continue to work. They’ll happily sell you the ‘dream’ of collecting stuff to place in the house you see only in the evenings and at the weekends. Why? So you can continue within their economic framework that was set up before you were even a twinkle in your father’s eye.
And that’s fine. If that’s what you want.
But I know (mainly because you’ve read this far and there aren’t many eye-catching blog conventions in this post) that this will never truly sit well with you. You’re like me; you want something different, something more from life. Something less man-made and synthetic and something more… authentic.
Here’s the thing: you can seek that life and you can live it.
For as long as I can remember I’ve longed to get paid for doing something I love, but I only ever loved to travel, read and write, and who would pay me for that?
Answer: Nobody in my old world. Lots of people in my new one.
To find out how to build a career as a freelance writer online – from scratch and without the bullshit – take my Udemy course.
Image courtesy of Jaroslav A. Polák via Flickr.