About a month ago my boss texted me on a Saturday morning to ask if we could chat. I’d had a feeling what she was going to tell me and I pardoned myself from my hubs to take the phone call in our room. As I sat on the edge of the bed I braced myself for all the details: plans were about to change.
At this time we had just began wrapping up season 3 (our second season) of the Showtime drama Billions, and had plans for a hiatus and then a return to season 4. After 10 months of work I could not wait for my time off. Besides a planned 3 week trip to Europe at the end of June I would have an additional 5-6 weeks of writing, running, yoga, and every other recuperating endeavor my heart desired. It’s what I call my time, and I cherish it. This might seem like a crazy schedule to someone with a more corporate type of job, but is something you get used to as a freelancer. Work in TV and Film can be intense and tiring so it works well to go hard and then take a bit of a break.
When I finally got on the phone with my boss my suspicions were confirmed, she had decided to forgo season 4 of Billions and had taken a job on a miniseries for Netflix. I understood the reasons she had made this decision and I fully supported that she was making the best choice for herself. She wanted me to come with her, and our phone call was an explanation of how everything would work. My nice long hiatus was out the window, the new show would be starting much sooner. Since we work freelance, sticking with the same team is not at all a given. Sometimes people click with each other, and schedules coincide and you are able to do several shows with the same group of people. Sometimes it’s a one and done. I’ve felt very lucky to be with my boss for the past three years. It’s just worked out that she has wanted to take me on whatever show she does, and I have wanted to follow her as well. There are plenty of people I have worked for once and would not work for again–so finding someone I want to stick with is kind of a big deal.
I didn’t commit to anything during that phone call. She was giving me the weekend to think about the change in schedule, the new (and longer) commute, and all the other small but noteworthy details. I hung up with her and made my way out to the living room to fill in my other half. Unexpectedly, when I opened my mouth to give him the scoop, I instead released a heavy hearted bellow and tears started to flow. I cried hard. I mean, I cry all the time–but this was like, hit you in your gut, whole body wailing. My hubs held me for a minute and gave me time to settle down before he asked for an explanation. When I finally had my breath the words that began to flow out of me felt like they had been sitting right on the surface of my chest for months, maybe years. I told him how I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live. I told him I didn’t want to do accounting work anymore. I said that my boss making that decision for herself woke me to the realization that I wanted to be able to do the same–that I wanted more freedom to determine how I generated and maintained my livelihood. I told him that I had gotten that feeling–the jumping off point one–where my fear of staying in the same place was finally greater than the fear of trying something new and heading out into the unknown. I think that’s why I cried–I knew that feeling. I knew the time for change had come, and I was scared.
The first few years I started in TV and Film I worked in production and in locations on set. Very early on I realized it was a lifestyle I wouldn’t be able to maintain. The hours were just too long and made it impossible to have room for anything else. I knew I couldn’t be happy at a job where I didn’t have time to run, do yoga, and write on the side. Seeing my hubs every once in a while was also a priority. When I worked in the production office I would always notice that the accountants seemed to go home at a decent hour (not early, but decent). After speaking to a few of them it seemed like the work was interesting enough. A month or two later, I had landed a clerk position.
Fast forward to five years later and I can honestly say that I couldn’t be more grateful for the line of work I happened to fall into. When I started in this industry, I didn’t even realize there were accountants. Now I’ve made a solid living as one for several years–which by the way is no small feat for a girl who’d pretty much only ever waited tables and couldn’t keep the minimum in her checking account. That Saturday after talking to my boss and crying with my hubs I went to a yoga class where this thought had me erupting in tears in the middle of one of the postures. It seems like these things come naturally for some people–you go to college, you get a job, you pay your bills, you save. That wasn’t me. I went to college. I chilled. I bartended. I drank. I went to rehab. I drank. I waited tables. I drank—and went shopping, and spent all my money on things that would give me instant gratification. When I got sober, I suddenly wanted to be responsible–which was great, but it didn’t just happen. It took me years to learn how to save and budget and plan for time off and put aside money for travel. It took time to bring home a consistent paycheck and learn how to use it to have the life I so desperately wanted. It took work to build a reputation as a competent and pleasant employee and colleague–to get to a point where even as a freelancer, I didn’t worry about getting the next job. All of this took so fucking long for this crazy alcoholic to get. And now what? Was I going to toss it all to the side to try something else? Terrified doesn’t begin to describe the feeling that brought me to tears in that class.
None of what I had told my husband surprised him; he’s known that being a production accountant was not my dream since day one–and he’s heard about it most days since. What was different this time was my readiness to take a risk and make a change.
Some people seem to have a laser clear path to their dreams. They see the direction they ought to go in and they head that way, full force. I’m a little different. I’ve got a pretty good picture of where I would like to end up, but I have absolutely no idea what the journey will look like getting there. What I’ve found so far is that smaller dreams pop up on what I think is the path to my bigger dream–and I’ve found that the best thing to do is whatever is right in front of me. Actually, wanna know a secret? Wanna know who I try to model my life after? Forrest Gump. Swear to God. FG is my Dalai Lama. I do realize he’s a fictional character–but just stick with me if you will. Essentially all Forrest ever does is the next right thing that appears on his path–and he ends up having this absolutely incredible life. He wasn’t a man with the most means–mentally or physically or financially–but he just kept on taking the opportunities that were presented to him and a beautiful life grew up around him. I really believe that I can have the same thing. That instead of trying to control everything, I can listen to the Universe and let it guide me to each new place I am supposed to explore and to each fascinating person I am supposed to know. So far, it’s done an incredible job of stirring up my intuition and moving me towards each next adventure–so it only feels right to keep letting it lead me along.
For years I’ve said to my hubs that I wish I could get paid to workout. I’ve always kind of been joking but I say it because running and yoga and strength training are some of the easiest things for me to dedicate myself to. I love them. When tasked with figuring out what the hell my next step was going to be, this same sentiment kept coming up. It felt like I should try to do something in fitness or wellness. But what?
As promised, my hubs and I had a long talk when I got home from yoga. I needed some time with my man and I’d hoped he’d be able to help me pin down the millions of thoughts swirling around my brain and make some sort of sense out of them. Eventually I heard myself begin to repeat the same things over and over. I told him that I wanted a different lifestyle–one that was more free and independent and perhaps entrepreneurial. I talked about how I envied the yoga teachers we met when we traveled and how many of them would go around the world and teach at different studios for months at a time. That appealed to me. I wanted to help people in areas that I was passionate about– nutrition, fitness, mental health, yoga, running. I also wanted to make money–to have the ceiling for how much money I could make be determined by how hard I wanted to work, not by a predetermined industry standard. I told him what confused me was that I didn’t just want to be one thing. I didn’t only want to be a yoga teacher or personal trainer or a nutritionist–I maybe wanted to be all those things–and maybe more.
There’s been a joke that I’ve had with a few friends and coworkers for a while. We quip that I’m their life coach–cause I’m often talking issues through with people and trying to help them figure out how they should move forward with different things. In my jumping off point/career questioning moment, this kept going through my head. Life Coach. Is that even a thing? I mean, I knew it was a thing, but was it something I could actually do? Could I make money doing it? How does one even become a life coach? Is that one of those jobs that I’m not going to have the confidence to say when people ask me what I do? Cause you know, I know that they’ll be thinking, hey, that’s not a real job.
Luckily during all this I had an adequate moment of grace and peace where all those doubtful voices shut the fuck up. I stopped thinking about what anyone else would think about my decisions and got quiet enough to hear what was true and in my heart. I grabbed my Mac and started googling life coaching. The short of it: That Sunday I found a school and a company that I immediately felt was speaking my language. On the following Wednesday I spoke for about 30-40 minutes with one of the founders on the phone. By Thursday I had plunked down a few grand for a 16 week course. Three days later, on Sunday, I had my first class.
In my current field, when we have any sort of meeting, I have to fight to keep myself awake. I’m actually quite positive I have fallen asleep with my eyes open many times. I’m just not inspired by the work. While we’re only two classes into this life coaching course, I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited or interested in something I might be able to do for a living. I was actually bummed when classed ended the other day–I actually signed off with my online cohort and studied my notes because I was so engaged in the material. It’s a feeling I haven’t had–well…ever. It’s not a feeling that I’ve got it all figured out or even know exactly what my plan is. It’s that next right thing feeling. I know it when I have it, and at this moment, I’m flowing along with the Universe with ease.
I did decide to take this next gig with my boss. As much as I fantasize about being one of those people who quits their job and goes for what they love, I know being stressed about money is not going to fuel my passion and creativity. I’m gonna take this job, which will last almost until the end of the year, and reassess where I’m at when that time comes. All the while I’ll be working my butt off trying to build a new career–one that will eventually allow for the lifestyle I know that I want. The beauty of being a freelancer is that you can take work when you need to, and leave it when you don’t. It’s part of what makes me understand the importance of the production accountant part of my journey. There’s no way I’d be capable of going on to this next phase without it.
For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m moving forward. The company I am working with especially encourages their coaches to focus on their own experiences and utilize their specific skills to build their practice. This means I’m going to be focusing a lot on writing and with a bit of their help, will hopefully be sharing some of my content with wider audiences.
There’s so much that feels unknown right now. But I’m settling in and starting to make myself comfortable on the island of discomfort. I have a feeling I’ll be here for quite a while, which is fine. I know this is where the change is–this is where my big life happens.
Anyone else going through some big changes–career or otherwise? I’d love to hear about them.
How do you know when you need to make a change, that something is not working for you anymore? Do you immediately listen to your intuition, or does it take a while?
Have you had the intuition that should make a change and not followed it? Are you happy with your choice now? Do you regret it?
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