Now, I’m well aware that this post may make me out like some sort of ‘debbie-downer’, but sometimes, the dreams you have when you have when you’re 18 and packing off to uni simply don’t come to fruition.
I’m not looking for sympathy, I just think it’s important to put this out there: sometimes, your dreams stay dreams, and that’s ok!
When I left for uni, I desperately wanted to work in media – at first, I wanted to go into television production. A year into Uni, I realised that it just wasn’t for me. I then wanted to become a radio presenter and producer after dedicating myself to the student radio station – after a while, I realised that as much as music is a passion, it wasn’t a career path I wanted to follow. Then at the end of my second year I took an animation module, and I fell in love. I just adored researching animation history, writing the essays, coming up with the concepts and playing with the software, so much so that I took it as my final year module and wrote my entire dissertation around feminism in animation. I was applying for animation jobs, internships and schemes left right and centre. I knew I had a small portfolio, but hoped that since I had only just graduated, I would be able to find somewhere that could continue training my animation skill set AND pay me.
I was wrong.
After a while of rejections and radio silence, I took a marketing job, where I still had some creative reign, and made some money too. I figured it would be great for the time being, I could get some commercial work done, continue to apply for animation internships, and keep earning. After a while (and some circumstance changes which I’m not going to get into) I ended up unemployed for a few months. Now, if you’ve never been unemployed for a stretch of time before, it grates on you. I mean, it really has you doubting yourself, getting wound up, and feeling low. I started putting less effort into any sort of animation opportunities, and applying for marketing jobs since I had a smidge of experience. By some dumb luck, I got a marketing internship at an amazing animation company, and I thought I had found the perfect job.
Again, I was wrong.
I mean, the studio was great, and everyone was lovely, but to be so close to the animated world, and realise just how far I would ever be from really being able to be a part of it was crushing. To know in my heart of hearts that regardless of how much I practiced and studied that I would never quite make it really tore me down and made that internship a difficult and conflicting experience. I spent those months desperately trying to figure out what my back-up dream job was, and how I could pull everything back together.
Skip forward a few months of gruelling unemployment, Brexit, MORE unemployment and then (possibly one of the only good things to happen in 2016) a surprising job offer, I’ve found myself working as a digi-comms assistant in the house building sector. I know – definitely NOT where I thought I would end up when I was throwing my graduation cap in the air – but (at least for now) I’m feeling content in my purpose. It’s not the the ideal situation, but I really do enjoy it. It’s a good company, it’s good pay, the people are nice, I feel valued. It’s not my dream but it’s certainly not my nightmare.
I think it’s important to chase your dreams, to find a passion and to actively pursue it, and I definitely don’t want to dissuade people from that! I just think it’s important for people to be reminded that in a society that preaches reaching for the stars that sometimes it’s ok to settle and re-think your journey. Sometimes it’s ok to remind yourself that years from now, the decisions you thought were mistakes were really putting you on the path to the place you’re meant to be.
I know that where I am at the moment isn’t my final destination, and I know it’s not my dream job – I’m still trying to figure out what my dream job is! I also know that this job will help me earn enough so that I can move out, and afford to go out, and afford gig tickets and car insurance… sometimes aiming for the smaller goals rather than the bigger picture is just as rewarding.