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This week, a potential employer asked me to lose something that has been a part of me since I was just sixteen. Something I have carried with me for nearly six years.. Something important to me… My tongue piercing.

Now, this may sound trivial – petty, even – but it’s not just about the tongue bar, it’s about what the tongue bar represents. Me. Alarm bells started to ring for me when I felt that this man may not have been accepting me as I was, wanting me instead to alter my image. My instincts were right. Although the interview went well, and I was eventually offered the job, I had to turn it down. This sounds crazy in today’s society, when graduates, (my friends among them), are leaving University and struggling to find even the lowest paying jobs. Many of my classmates have gone on to work in the shops they worked in BEFORE going to University. That’s the real crazy situation.

“Some people may think it foolish to turn down work… It isn’t…”

Simageso, some people may think it was foolish to turn down an opportunity for full-time work, doing something I’d have enjoyed to an extent and that fitted in to the bracket of my studies – let me tell you why it wasn’t.

I put myself through an MA degree by freelancing, thinking it would be a temporary fix. I was wrong – I’ve grown to love it. I didn’t realise how much until I spent a day in the office being told what to do by somebody else!

I, like most people, need freedom, creativity, challenging, community and fun! These things are important to me, and it has quickly become clear that these are things I won’t get through working for someone else.

“Positivity breeds positivity…”

I have to believe that it’ll work out. Being self-employed is scary – who knows what will happen in the coming weeks, or where the next pay cheque is coming from? Certainly not me, but I do know one thing – I am in control of the decisions I make and the work I choose to do.

Mostly, instincts are important. I will never be able to please everyone, much as I try, so the best option for me, and for anyone else out there feeling the same way, is to follow gut instinct. So what if I earn a little less this year than I would have had I accepted the job? I’ll be earning on my own terms, in my own way. I’ll be earning with my tongue piercing firmly in place!

Finally, as I write this, sat in the sun outside a coffee shop, a tiny money spider has been repeatedly climbing over my laptop, along my sleeve, and finding its way to my face. I’ve put it back on the table at least three times now. I’m going to take it as a good sign, and head into the unknown with my heart on one sleeve, and my spider on the other.

Wish me luck x


For more on my freelance work, go to mariellisdunning.com

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One thought on “Building Dreams: on Self Employment and Taking a Leap of Faith

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