Friday, March 20, 2009


Here's some personal information about me. It's not something I'm immensely proud of, but it's lead me to where I am now: I used to be a lawyer (the Cat Empire rings true - Harry! You're gonna be a lawyer some day...).

I wasn't happy being a lawyer, personally or professionally. So, at the shoreline of a global financial crisis, I resigned from my job. At a time when others around me were involuntarily losing theirs and others were desperately strategising how to hold on, upskill, or outperform, I voluntarily left.

I did it because this was not what my sixteen-year old self would have wanted me to be - I was meant to be a UN ambassador, a diplomat in Baghdad, a famous journalist, a human rights lawyer, or the owner of a unique and incredibly popular restaurant and wine bar. Not a lawyer writing insurance reports. I wanted to be an editor, a book editor. I still do.

So December saw me tender my resignation, which instilled fear but also this thrill in me that I was taking charge of my life again. I wasn't going to be stuck in an office doing something that I wasn't passionate about, wondering when things were going to change. However, I didn't have another job to go to. Paul and I went to Japan shortly after my final day at work, where we spent 3 blissful weeks skiing and thinking about little else other than where to eat our next meal or how to defrost my toes.

I thought that, post-holiday, I would have a month to find something, and by the middle of February 2009 I would be working in the publishing industry, on the path to my dream as an editor. How wrong I was.

I'm slowly learning painful lessons, and shedding the youthful arrogance and naivety that comes with being in a generation that has never had to worry about employment prospects. Having worked as a lawyer, with a double degree from a regarded tertiary institution, and currently completing a Masters degree, with work experience in the legal, government, community, and non-profit sectors, I thought finding another job in the creative industries would surely not present too much of a problem. After all, I'd never had trouble finding work before.

It is hard. Jobs are few and far between in publishing at the best of times, let alone in a recession, in a city renown for its lack of creativity. Finding a job in the literary industry is going to take longer, much longer, than I thought. There are practical, financial, and psychological factors to consider here - how long do you wait to find out whether you have made the right choice? How do you know whether the choices you have made, whether the leaps of faith and gut-wrenching jumps off cliffs are going to amount to anything more than a pile of rejected cover letters and resumes?

I'm going to keep going. Keep trying. My sixteen year old self whispers, "just a bit longer"...

1 comment:

  1. I admire those who take risks, E. Who knows what will happen? Not knowing is scary, but it's better than being miserable.