Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Meet me at the crossroads
Thirteen months ago I took a redundancy from my job and decided to stay at home for at least three months and live a more creative life. My aim was to ultimately find ways to live creatively all the time, rather than just during annual leave or on weekends.
I sewed a lot and started an online shop. I won't lie - it was hard. It was very lonely working from home in the middle of winter, with only ABC local radio for company. I found that as a naturally anxious person, I needed to schedule my day or else I'd get bogged down in irrelevant stuff, forget to go to the post office, or forget to eat lunch. But the shop was also a lot of fun, and I thrived on the interactions I had with my blog readers and the people who purchased stuff in the shop. I learned a lot - about pricing, marketing, branding and communications. I learned to control my anger when people bought stuff and then didn't pay. I learned which post office in the inner north was the easiest to use for international postage (Lyneham, and you can pop next door to Tilley's for a latte when you're finished).
But mortgages need to be paid, and I was craving human contact outside of my friends and husband. So I went back to work as a contractor and stayed in that job for eight months. It was a great job, but the long hours, the long commute and an unreasonable amount of stress heaped upon me took their toll. I left, with two more months of work on offer. I just couldn't do it any longer. I hadn't crafted for months, my husband had forgotten who I was, and my friends were very worried about my mental health (and don't worry - I'm not going back there.)
It's been six weeks since I left, and I've hardly raised a finger to find another job. My excuse was that I was sick for three weeks, so I didn't feel I'd had enough of a break. My CV is in with my pimp (also known as my agency) but jobs are light on at the moment. Honestly, I also don't think I'm ready to return to office work.
I realised today that I have unconsciously been ramping up production at Buttontree Lane. And I realised something else when I was packing up some bags to be sent out, filling in custom forms and writing out addresses I- figured I needed to start taking this thing seriously. Actually, I need to start realising that I have been taking this thing seriously for ages, and hadn't understood it until that moment. I have a box of 100 postpacks in the spare bedroom. A box. I have labels, and Moo cards, and a pile of custom forms and air mail stickers in a box. In a couple of months a gallery in Braidwood will be stocking my bags and brooches. I've just bought a whole wad of fabric for the shop. I'm about to embark on some sponsorship and advertising. I am applying for an ABN.
When people ask me what I do, from now on I'm going to tell them I work from home. I'm not being up myself about this, and I understand that I'll have people trying to knock me down a peg or five. I know I will never be able to make a huge living from this, but I can try really hard to contribute to the household expenses. And if I do get a job outside the home, I'll be a lot more careful to consider the time it takes to keep the shop going, and not go AWOL like I did last time.
Now, what are the chances that I'll get a phone call from my pimp tomorrow about a job?