It comes to all of us at some time. We find ourselves in a position where we have to make a choice between heart or head, weighting up the safe versus the riskier option and it can be a daunting place to be. When Hannah wrote to us recently asking for a dose of sage advice I knew so many of you would be able to draw on your own experience.
Hello lovely RMS team! I am a long-time reader of this lovely blog and find myself in need of some advice from you and your readers. I am nearing my 30th birthday, (eep!), recently married to an impoverished artist, and about to submit my long-battled-for PhD in art history. I always imagined myself as an academic. I was ok at school, and once I got into university I decided “PhD by 30,” but now that I’m here and academia offers little security these days I find myself increasingly deeply unhappy in my work life. Granted I’m currently only in a temporary admin job designed to keep a roof over my head whilst I wait to put on my floppy graduation hat but I’ve become impatient waiting for the amazing job I was promised by my lecturers. Plus I’m a grown up now, I want to be able to buy pretty things.
The main dilemma keeping me awake is that since finding my impoverished artist I have had my eyes opened to the joy of creativity, and I am now really keen on becoming more creative myself and making my living from that. I’m at home as a writer, as years of university have moulded me, and I’ve started writing blogs for some friends’ companies which I’m really enjoying. Plus I’m being very middle-class – last year for my birthday I did a pottery course which opened my eyes to the joy of making, and recently I’ve started dabbling in floristry which I really love. Can one really make a living doing these wonderful things every day? I know it’s not an easy life but I can’t help but feel that the satisfaction must make up for the long days. However nine years of university comes with debt, and the biological clock has started to tick so my sensible shoulder-angel is telling me I need to stay in my underpaid not entirely challenging desk job for the sake of security and the ethereal promise of advancement in a big company. Hoping I’m not alone in my crisis. Help?!?
In my own opinion, I’d always advocate following your heart but with a big dose of rational thinking, otherwise you’ll forever be wondering ‘what if?’ I’m far too risk adverse not to know where my next penny is coming from and when I took a similar path several years ago I set a firm deadline for reassessing whether I’d taken the right route both for me, James and our future. Thankfully I was able to pursue the freelance creative world alongside a part-time salaried position before making the leap.
Do any of you lovely ladies have experiences or any advice you’d like to share with Hannah? What happened when you had to choose between head or heart?