Stuck at a Career Fork in the Road – Now What?
I have bi-polar disorder…career bi-polar disorder (CBPD).
I wake up in the morning and spring out of bed, excited to get over to my computer and start interacting with the PF and healthy lifestyle communities related to my blogs Budget and the Beach, and Healthy, Fit, and Frugal (respectively).
I start to get ideas of things I want to write about, and when I begin writing, the words just flow from my brain to the computer screen. I’m loving life, and then…
…I get an email from my producer who I work with on 99% of my current projects. He has changes that he needs me to do NOW, because our main client (a major medical/beauty corporation) has changes on a project that they should have signed off on weeks ago. Never mind the fact that I’m not officially booked for this time…they just basically assume I work for them full time even though I don’t. I sink into a depression, and I feel that angry fireball ignite in my stomach. The one that sends the message to my brain, “you really need to stop working for this producer and client.” The words I often use are “soul-sucking.”
I’ve been video editing for literally just over 25 years. I started when I was a senior in high school in 1988 when I took a television production class. Back then you had to use big, expensive machines that weren’t portable to do the kind of work anyone can pretty much do on a laptop nowadays. If I’d known that then, I would have chosen to make video-making a hobby, not a career.
It hasn’t always been that bad though. In fact, I really enjoyed my eight years as lead video editor at a video game company before I was laid off in 2008. But the perks outweighed the satisfaction I was actually getting from the projects I worked on, which were just kind of meh.
I had an amazing boss who is still my good friend and like a father figure to me, a great paycheck, a totally bitchin, huge office, and many other perks like the office being close to where I lived in Los Angeles. That last part is huge! I also had more knowledgeable people to help me fix technical problems when they arose, something I’ve always hated and have never been very good with.
To not make this a 3,000-word post, I’ll just get straight to the point, and share what I need help with.
While it’s true that the producer I work with and this particular client kind of make my life hell, it’s grossly exacerbated by the fact that I just don’t enjoy video editing as a living anymore. I just want THAT to be my side hobby where I can make silly little videos on my own time.
The problem is it’s my main source of income.
I never want to complain for the sake of complaining. I’ve always been a person to take action, and I took action a year ago when I started working on side hustle income, especially trying to “make it” as a blogger. While I’m so proud of how far I’ve come, earning 10k in side income last year (a lot also came from being a personal assistant and teaching beach volleyball), I simply can’t live on that kind of money, especially in Los Angeles.
And believe me, I spend as much time as humanly possible (without turning into Howard Hughes) working towards making a full time living from blogging/writing, but it still doesn’t feel like enough, and the video work is probably the biggest sore point in my life right now. I don’t even care that I’m not dating (and haven’t been for awhile). I’d much rather sort this job thing out first.
So I’m not exactly sure what to do?
Do I keep doing what I’m doing and hope that eventually the side hustle income will pick up to a point where I can live solely off that?
I would be open to looking for full-time or part-time jobs in something social media or writing-related, but do I have enough experience? What exactly do you look for in job searches? What am I really qualified to do?
I think one thing that makes these decisions even tougher is that I’m FINALLY on a decent path financially, meaning the freelance income overall I brought in last year was an OK amount to live on here in LA, and I was able to put money towards retirement. I’d like the same thing to happen this year, since I’m a little behind where I should be for my age. The reason I say this is because I have had some people in the past suggest I just quit the video part of my freelance work and work at Starbucks. That’s not going to happen.
I’m not above working at Starbucks, or waiting tables, or cleaning toilets if I HAD to, but to quit jobs making $65 and above per hour versus $12…kind of a no-brainer.
So I would really love your opinion on what to do about my fork in the road. OK, actually I’m a bit scared to get your opinion, but maybe I do need a reality check. I’m just trying to make my life the best it can be!
Editor’s note: I want to thank Tonya for sharing her thoughts and feelings with us, as well as for being transparent about what she’s going through. As I’ve shared in my Taking the Plunge series, I can certainly relate to a lot of what she shares and know the difficulty it can present. As I shared with her, my encouragement is to look for ways to use her skills to broaden the services she can offer to clients – especially those not related to video editing. In addition to that, I would also encourage Tonya to work to gain more video editing clients so she can begin to push back on this current client – though I know how that is truly easier said than done at times :-). Pushy clients are never fun, so it certainly makes life a little more palatable for those of us who are self-employed.
Photo courtesy of: I_Yudai