Almost two months ago, something life-changing happened to me. Something that has sent me signs, and has been a long time coming. But this time around it came in the form of a kick-in-the-gut realisation that perhaps I’ve finally lost the passion for what I do at work. Maybe passion is the wrong word to use. Because passion doesn’t die. Determination does.
Maybe what I thought was passion, was actually the just determination to meet the challenges of being a copywriter. Unfortunately I set myself up for a challenge I was bound to lose. It was never easy noticing the signs and ignoring them. All my working life I have pushed them aside as setbacks, as dips in enthusiasm, as a weakness to stay with something long enough. If I can write, I can write copy, I told myself. But five years down, that determination has worn off. The freshness has lost its sheen, and all it is, is a chore. For weeks I felt like I was fighting the uphill climb of cracking those elusive ideas, crafting cheeky lines, turning my prose into poetry, and being a wordsmith. And somewhere it just doesn’t make me happy anymore.
What I never realised that maybe those setbacks happened for a reason. Maybe writing copy just wasn’t the right thing to be investing my time and effort in. But for the very first time, a few weeks ago, as the realisation hit me in waves, I experienced something new. A sense of acceptance. A calm understanding and acceptance that just maybe this is not for me. And it felt okay.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t have that impulsive urge to fight it. To rubbish those thoughts and trudge on. It felt okay to accept that I I have given this a good, honest shot, and realized that it is not for me. I am probably never going to be a good copywriter. Because hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t be a good writer.
And so I took a decision. A decision to quit. To step back from a field I have know I have given a good, honest shot. What started as an experiment, has turned into a mission to fit myself into a mould over the years. When life gave me forced sabbaticals, change of cities, horrible bosses and what not, I turned them all down, thinking I was made of tougher stuff. Funnily though it took over one and a half years of being in what can be termed the best job (if I were to go by a textbook definition of it), before I had the epiphany I needed.
I have always believed that this is one of the best organisations I will ever work in. I have gone so far as to even acknowledge that my experience may not make me a better copywriter, but it will help me be a better person. And this, I believe is step one.
I have met some of the most amazing people, some who have impacted my life (and in many ways this decision too). But it didn’t change the fact that the job was still copywriting, and as the weeks turned into months, an urgency to do something more, something meaningful, something that mattered began to eat me up inside. Something about nearing 30 makes you sit up and notice what is going on in your life. Suddenly time becomes precious. Accomplishment takes on a new meaning. And a job that pays just doesn’t cut it. I began to wish that my work did more than throw challenges at me, and merely pay me at the end of the month. I yearned for that sense of excitement at the beginning of every day, and the satisfaction at the end. Too often, I questioned the whys and hows of what I was doing. And all I had were a set of unanswered questions that I couldn’t put to rest.
Until I finally realised, advertising and me — we just don’t go together. And its best we part ways. It’s been a bit like ending a five year relationship. It’s gut wrenching, emotional and downright painful. Stepping out gives you shaky feet. You don’t know what lies ahead. But even before you come out of it, you feel a sense of liberation. You dream of things to come. Because you don’t see this as the end of an era, but really the beginning of a new one. And you know that it is going to be okay.