Why I decided not to get a 'proper job'
Because Instagram is a ‘proper job’
As many of you are aware (because I don’t stop banging on about it) I graduated back in July. For many students, that means the end of student life and off into the big wide world of 9-5 ‘proper jobs’. But that life wasn’t for me. There’s nothing wrong with it of course, it just wasn’t a life that I wanted.
Let’s go back in time to May, the month before I graduated. I had a meeting with one of lecturers about my assignment, and in this meeting we discussed what I was planning to do after graduation. (At the time I was still planning on doing my masters, so my lecturer then asked what I was planning on doing after that) I told her about my Instagram account that was growing, and about my bookish photography business on the side which was doing pretty well.
SHE THEN PROCEEDED TO TELL ME THAT INSTAGRAM DIDN’T HAVE LONG LEFT IN IT, AND THAT I WAS GOING TO NEED TO GET A ‘PROPER JOB’.
And I sat there, quietly, with a fake smile on my face convincing myself that violence was going to get me nowhere and fighting the urge to scream ‘F you, you’re wrong’ in her face. So I spent the rest of that meeting not really listening to what she was talking about and occasionally saying ‘mmhmm’ or ‘okay’ to make it look like I was. I walked out of that meeting feeling a lot of things, but mostly confused and angry that a university which prides itself on ‘creativity’ wasn’t supporting me to follow my dreams and not fall into a 9-5 routine. But that’s a whole other article.
But there was one thing I learnt from that meeting, and that was that I was going to prove them wrong.
So I graduated with a fire in my belly, eager to make myself a success and a drive to prove to myself, and my lecturer, that I could do this.
BUT I GOT A LITTLE LOST.
I started seeing my friends get really cool jobs and moving to different cities, making their own lives for themselves really quickly. So I panicked, I started to believe that maybe my lecturer was right, maybe the right thing was to get a proper job and be earning a steady income. I panicked applied to SO MANY different jobs that I can’t remember what the majority of them were. I felt frustrated and stuck, feeling like I wasn’t really going anywhere. Most of the companies I wrote to didn’t get back to me, and I can count the ones that interviewed me on one hand, but do you know what? That was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me, even if I didn’t know it yet.
AND I GOT SO STRESSED.
I was starting to become really stressed, so much so that I had lost my appetite and was losing weight quite quickly. My brain was having a constant battle of what to do, if I went and got a ‘proper job’ my Instagram and business would suffer, but I would have a stable income, and I knew as soon as I reached a point when my Instagram could pay for itself, then I’d leave that job anyway, and I knew deep down that I didn’t want to have to go to an office every day and be told what to do, but it seemed like the smartest move that I could make.
AND THEN ONE DAY, A VERY WISE WOMAN ( MY MUM) SAID TO ME “YOU CAN EITHER HELP SOMEONE ELSE WITH THEIR DREAM OR YOU CAN CHASE YOURS”
The next day, an email came through on my inbox that has since fallen through, but it opened up my eyes to the potential that I have.
It was then I decided that I was going to stop chasing these jobs and create MY OWN job that I love to do, a job where I wouldn’t have to wake up early every day hating the fact that it’s Monday, a job where I could be my own boss with my own working hours, a job that I feel so lucky to be doing.
So when people now ask if Instagram is the only thing that I do, I say yes. People constantly tell me how lucky I am and how jealous they are, and of course I know that I’m lucky. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world, but there is so much that you don’t see. Being self employed is that hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Yes, it’s my own working hours and freedom and doing what I love, but it’s also never ending lists, doing a lot of work for nothing, never having a day off and LONG working hours. It’s finding the motivation to get up every day when you could, in theory, stay in bed. It’s never ending stress, it’s tears, it’s frustration when a job falls through, it’s days questioning yourself, it’s having constant eye strain and never having stability. It’s a wild ride but my God is it worth it.
I get a little teary writing this because I feel so sad for my past self-thinking she wasn’t good enough and didn’t have what it takes to do this. But I also feel incredibly proud of myself for making the right decision for me and not letting what others are doing phase my decisions. Whenever I’m having a hard day or feeling like ‘what’s the point?’ I ALWAYS think back to that meeting with my lecturer and how it made me feel. And the same phrase always repeats in my head “prove them wrong”.