At the beginning of the year I’d been feeling particularly despondent with the whole digital industry and my place within it. Blogger, vlogger, influencer, writer, content creator — whatever the job title — the whole business of marketing and advertising has recently exploded. Everyday people with a mobile phone and a WIFI connection have been making serious cash (and shaping exciting careers) out of it all.
I too have been enjoying my little slice of the pie for a few years. I’m very grateful to have been able to turn something that started as a hobby into a small business. I’ve worked on some exciting partnerships and collaborated with household brands. It’s grown into something special and I’m proud of myself for that.
But since the new year my head has been whirring with questions such as…
‘What do I want out of this going forward?’
‘Why doesn’t my work always feeling rewarding?’
‘Why does this often feel like a fake industry to be part of?’
Over the course of this year some of my work has started to feel unfulfilling. I began to feel as though some of my work had little purpose, nor was contributing towards anything meaningful.
My job satisfaction levels began to dwindle; yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
Still searching for some clarity I took the school summer holidays off with the children as time to reflect on the above questions. I even contemplated perhaps deciding that it may be time to walk away and do something else, especially if this wasn’t ticking creative or enjoyment boxes for me any longer. I kind of craved/needed something, but I still wasn’t absolutely sure what that was.
Then it clicked towards the end of the summer. It was when I stepped back from doing brand work, spent less time on Instagram and stopped reading everyone’s online ‘advice’ for growing/making it in this industry.
I realised that I had spent some of those warm, hazy months reading and absorbing different content than before.
I had started reading books again. I also bought magazines and relished reading articles written by intelligent and funny women. I developed a love of listening to podcasts. I devoured blog posts that had opinion, soul and purpose. I favoured content regarding style, women’s lifestyle, feminism and popular culture.
I also worked out that if I looked at my working week (i.e. the jobs I had lined up to do) the one thing I got most excited about was writing and connecting with people via words.
I knew that was it.
WRITING IS MY JAM.
I previously worked for 10+ years within Human Resources Management where job satisfaction was a huge factor in people’s connection with work. If you get it right it is the best feeling in the world, but when you don’t have it that can influence negative feelings. For most people an occupation needs to provide them with fulfillment, which in turn serves as a source or means of enjoyment.
I’d actually lost that myself in 2018 and it took time to fully understand what did bring me true satisfaction within this digital vocation.
I certainly hadn’t been getting it from amassing likes via an Instagram photo. Nor by getting new Instagram followers in a week. Neither by someone retweeting a tweet, or sharing something on Facebook. Sure, these things are nice, they do help towards further growth and yes they do give me a small boost, but they’re simply not enough to keep my job satisfaction level set at high.
For me, the real personal gratification in my work comes from writing and the sheer enjoyment of the process that I go through to generate that text.
What others around you do may not always be right for you though. I love writing/blogging and you may love something else. Whether that’s producing videos, photography, styling products, entertaining people on Instagram Stories, writing a book…we all have our own jam. Sometimes these things can/do overlap (and they have to) but there is usually one stand-out thing that gives you the most joy.
And once you know what that is you’re literally winning at (working) life.
Plus it’s more than okay if your passion isn’t ‘the’ popular, trendy thing that everyone else is doing. In this industry, or if you’re starting your own business or going self-employed, it is easy to get swept up in other people’s successes (and want to emulate that). But if it’s not what you’re passionate about then it will eventually bore you. You’ll lose the will and desire to create.
When you enjoy what you do others will take notice of you and lap up that energy in abundance.
Focusing on the things that matter to you will open up doors and, most importantly, they’ll be the RIGHT ones, leading down the most rewarding paths for you. And work will never, ever feel like work.
Sure, imposter syndrome does get to us all though (where an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’). That’s okay. It’s totally normal. I get it A LOT. When you’re new to a profession, rubbing shoulders alongside experts, feeling your way around, it’s normal to have low ebbs of confidence or moments of crippling self-doubt. You feel as though everyone else is laughing at you (although in reality everybody is so busy with their own shit to care that much about mocking you).
But I’ve decided that as long as I’m a happy gal; as long as I’m feeling content and satisfied with my work — and the joy is there — that’s the only thing that truly matters to me. Laptop in one hand, coffee in the other.
Love, Jess x