Moving on

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.

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20 thoughts on “Moving on

  1. A lot of people go through life (and careers) with none of the clarity you’ve written here about – you’re lucky to be where you are and I am sure things are only going to get better (though the last paragraph sounds only too familiar to me, in more ways than one!). All the best.

    • Gee, thats heartening. To know I’m not alone. Because in moments of utter despair, through a lot of the confusion, I have at time felt really alone. You’re on the same path too, so patonyourback!

      • Hi there,

        I really really identify with what you have written here. Sometimes we try too hard just to prove (to no one else but ourselves) that we are not quitters, that we are made of stronger stuff. That we can do this.

        I wonder too often why i am doing what i am doing, whats my purpose in life, does the job i go to every day give me real satisfaction, where is the sense of excitement and where is the feeling of fulfillment..

        It seems like i am constantly battling with my own self, with the standards i have set for my own self. And sometimes i wish it would have been better if i just wasn’t ambitious enough. Perhaps, i would have been at peace.

        25 yrs of age, and i still dont know what i can excel at? whats my forte? I am good at many things, but what i am best at..

        • Wow that sounds a lot like the confusions I have dealt with for the last few weeks. But I always told myself that as long as I am restless to find out, it is a good thing. At least it means Im not going to just settle. As long as that quest to find whats next is alive, I think you’re safe. So dont worry about not having the answers, they will come as long as you’re willing to look.

          Personally I think this is the beginning of the rest of my life, and Im at step 1, with a long long long way to go.

          Thanks for your message, always helps to know there are others who get and relate to what one feels :)

          • Yes, i always console myself thinking that i am still alive inside and hence i am getting so may questions in my head..may b there is just one more turn before the tunnel ends, may be i should hang on, not quit, keep looking.. may be this is life.. constant journey of self-discovery..

            but sometimes, human that i am, i envy people who know their purpose very early on in life.. some people as early as 5 know what they want to be in life.. are they then made up of different ingredients than i am?

            Questions, questions and questions.. Sigh

  2. Oh darling…as much as i know how sucky those last moments might have been but i think it’s so brave and inspiring that you took the step to make yourself happier – even when things did seem ok.

    Savour the moments, cherish the memories and anticipate the future. Good luck! :)

    • It sure wasnt easy. But i think the last straw happened somewhere in april. Lots of talking with the husband lots of thinking and lots of exploration later i knew there was only one thing to do. Funnily though this decision is more about moving on in life than from a job.

  3. :D
    I’m grinning cos I’m one of those who got pushed into engineering, became a software engineer, did a couple of other mistakes (read Masters’ :p) and then decided I wanted out. Nearly four years later, I’ve tried my hand at different things (mostly writing-related) and now I’m doing something communications-related. And in a job I love on most days.

    (It sounds ridiculous to say this at this ripe old age, but…) Maybe it’s still too early to say if this is my calling, but hey, I’ll at least never regret not trying anything once.

    Kudos to you for taking the difficult decision. I know too many people just stay in uninspiring jobs because, seeing the light and getting out requires you to get out of your comfort zone. (Hell, I couldn’t do it and I’m glad I was forced – thanks to the recession!)

    I’m sure this has given you an immense sense of peace and release :-) Well done!

    • That must have been far harder. All my choices until now have been my own. Which is probably why i just dint let go. Hats off to you for switching streams completely – recession or otherwise i think that takes a lot of courage and wherewithal.

  4. This phase is what I would term as the ‘classic-start-before-the-stars-rain-down-on-you’ :)

    Someday you’re going to look back and love yourself for making a bold move and venturing into deeper seas.. because that’s where you find the real treasures.. :) Love you!

  5. I keep reading you on and off but somehow never get down to commenting. Reading this post of yours I instantly connected with what you are saying because this is something even I have been going through. I am actually also in the middle of writing a post on this. What really unnerves me though is while there is a sense of acceptance within myself and I know that certain decisions are the right ones, people around me and people who matter never really realize this. For a large part of my immediate family it is about the position, the recognition, the feeling of “oh she has the potential, so she must stick on”. I really wish I could give it all up and do nothing for a while- just let my brain churn and evaluate other options and then take up something on my own to see if it works. But the ways of the world and the compulsion to support the family currently dominates my brain and so I think it’s going to be this way for some time. But not for too long, not for too long…

    • R, once again, it is heartening to know so many people are in the same boat. Makes me feel less lonely in having taken what can only be perceived as an irrational decision. That said, nobody but you will ever know and fully accept how important it is to take these decisions. As a society we’re so used to thinking of “quitting” as a bad thing. WHy should it be? Why can quitting one thing not be the beginning of another thing? Something way more satisfying? Perhaps even more lucrative? I hope you manage to sort out the confusion in your head. I can imagine how hard it must be when you have responsibilities like supporting the family and expectations to live up to. Good luck!

      • I so agree.

        As someone who decided to move out of the city to a ‘sort of country’ side, who shifted from full time work at financial services industry to writing, who is nearing the big 30, I could say I am pretty much in the same place as you were. Constantly questioning and introspecting the little things that make life.

        I not only relate to what you said in the post, but what you said about quitting here. I have infact wanted to blog about it… That why we tend to give a negative connotation to quitting, when it could be a harbinger of newer and greater things to come… I never came around to it, like how I never came around to the whole ‘I-might-not-have-kids-so-stop-asking-me’ post.

        One of the reasons I am doing a mini marathon of your posts is this… They speak to me on so many levels… That I feel we could be long lost sisters or something.

        To the same journeys that we take in different roads, Haathi!

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