Towards the end of last year, I was approached with an opportunity that, if accepted, would see me occupying a numerous-page spread in a nationwide glossy magazine, as well as hosting a LFW brunch with one of our high-street’s most loved shops and talking through some of my fave trends of the season. It was set to be one of the biggest moves of my career, and one which I was very close to declining.
And then I did.
I said no, in part because the pay wasn’t exactly what I’d like it to have been, but also, in part, out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of lack of control, fear of judgement - the Holy Trinity, if you will. And if we’re really being honest here, the issue with payment almost acted as a useful excuse, legitimising my refusal and allowing me to offer some other explanation than the truth: I was scared.
Regret, I feel, is a good thing. I’ve written about how recognising your own crappy actions and ultimately wishing they hadn’t happened doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the larger life lesson, and there are plenty of decisions I’ve made which afterwards, I regretted. Some big, some small, some which were so short-lived that they now wouldn’t even cross my mind; whichever camp this falls into, I do - at least partially - regret turning the opportunity down.
And that’s because I was standing in the way of my own career progression. Yes, okay, despite dismissing it, the payment issue is still an issue itself, but I kind of didn’t want to do it anyway. What if I had no control over the clothes or the make-up or the hair, and I ended up looking like an unrecognisable version of myself? What if I didn’t get to approve the images before they were published? What if I didn’t like them? And then there was the brunch: what if my mind went blank and I forgot what to say? What if I wasn’t funny enough? What if the guests just didn’t like me?
It was a sea of uncertainty, and on this occasion, I wasn’t prepared to ride the wave. Whether I’ll feel a pang of jealously upon seeing who nabbed the spot remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: I need a career kick up the arse.
I often feel divided about my job. On the one hand, I worked for a very long time for no reward whatsoever, other than the simple pleasure of reading, writing, and sharing. Blogging whilst working or studying full-time is difficult, and you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot for very little in return. I only started to make money from my blog in 2016, and for a long time, I didn’t really understand the value of what I could do. Now, on the other hand, I’m reaping the rewards of my years of unpaid hobbying and I’m at a point where blogging is my main source of income, although I do a little bit of freelance marketing on the side for a monthly, reliable pay-check. I’m not rich, but I’m no longer declining dinner invites if there isn't an accompanying 2-for-1 voucher, and within that gap I've become comfortable and sleepy.
That’s me being completely transparent with you. I could be working harder than I am, but sometimes, I get lazy. Sometimes I get complacent, and I force myself out of the house at early doors to comply with normal working hours, only to sit in a coffee shop and browse Topshop for an hour and a half. Where I could be pushing myself to innovate and create and inhabit newer, unknown spaces in the pursuit of personal growth, I opt for the comfort of familiarity and ease and certainty.
Turning down such a potentially rewarding opportunity as I did, however, as acted as somewhat of a wake-up call. I want to push myself this year. I want to challenge myself to venture outside of my comfort zone, and risk things going wrong for the sake of learning. I want to work smarter, making the most of my time and becoming more organised with what I do and when. I want to set realistic targets that I can work towards, and then celebrate properly when I feel that I deserve it.
And I want to invite you to join me. Here’s the career kick up the arse you might need - please give my booty a boot in return. Unhappy in your job? Unsure of your relationships? Quietly stuffing down that longing to travel the world in favour of the more realistic 9-5? If you know, you already know, so I needn't convince you further, but consider this an invitation to see what we can really do when we just say fuck it.
Because what’s stopping you? But, really? Is it that you don’t want to relocate, or is it that you’re scared of being alone in a place you don’t know? Is it that you’re happy doing what you’re doing now, or is it because you’re comfortable? Is it that you really are going through a rough patch, or that you’re avoiding the discomfort and responsibility of a break-up?
Every time we push ourselves we put ourselves at risk, offering up our vulnerability to be embraced or exploited at will. This is terrifying, and sometimes, it goes wrong. We can’t ignore the fact that, yes, indeed, sometimes it ~ does ~ go wrong. But we have to try. I’m guilty of stewing in my own safety and not pushing myself out of my comfort zone; I got invited on numerous incredible press trips last year, but said no to most of them because I hate being away from Keiran, not because I can’t function without him, but because the familiarity and security of our company and home is all too easy to relax into. This year I want it to be different. I don’t want to be left with ‘what ifs’, placating myself with shaky reassurances that I made the right decision - I want to meet 2019 with a long list of milestones and a big, fuck-off bottle of gin to boot.
So join me, recruit. Let’s take a break from giving ourselves a break and take risks. Instead of stepping back, let’s push through. Let’s step outside of what we know, keep going when it gets tough and see what we’re actually capable of achieving when we do the things that make us feel uncomfortable. We got this. We can do this.
Are you with me?
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