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I’m grateful for many things in life (great husband, supportive friends, healthy family) but the thing that makes me pinch myself on a regular basis is doing what I really, truly love, and that is writing this blog. For me, this is not just a hobby but a full-time job, my small business, my hopes and dreams for the future and hopefully something I can one day work around having a family.
Until you do what you love, you don’t realise how unfulfilled you were in your previous jobs or what a rare privilege it is to be in such a position. So often, people tell me they’d love to be doing something else but for whatever reason (age, family commitments, mortgage, what other people would think or the feeling of obligation to look after other people first) they think they’ve left it too late. I have become quite evangelical about telling people it’s never too late.
If you really want it, go get it! It might mean working really hard, or effectively having two jobs for a while (which is what it felt like when I had a full-time job as editor of a business magazine while I also put as much, if not more energy and work into my then non-money-making blog). Yes, you may have to sacrifice something you can no longer afford because you’re paying for some extra study or costs to set up your own business, but if you really want to do it, I urge you to go for it.
When I was retrenched 18 months ago, I could have leapt into another full-time senior editorial job. I was planning a wedding that needed paying for, I was 31, I was keen to get on the property ladder and, in the not too distant future, start a family, so the safe route was the obvious one. Starting a business – a blog for goodness’ sake – was not the obvious decision and I’m not, by nature, a risk taker. But for whatever reason, I went for it. I worked my butt off (I still do) and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never worked harder but I’ve never enjoyed it more.
People tell me all the time that they’d love to get into interiors and think they’d be really good at it, but they’ve left it too late. It’s never too late! It’s a cliché I know, but there really is nothing so fulfilling as being paid to do what you love.
Did you know you can study interior architecture online through Open Universities Australia? You can do a bachelor degree or one of many 13-week units which might be enough to make you realise if you do, or don’t, actually know what the job of an interior designer entails and if it’s for you. Interior Bites, for example, is a fully online introductory unit about the tools of the interior designer and how they are integrated into interior architecture. With a holistic approach, aspects covered include colour and light, lighting, materials, finishes and decoration, noise, furniture and furnishings, technology and structure.
If you, like me, wanted to start your own business, interiors-related or otherwise, you might look at something like Issues in Small Business Management (again, 13 weeks) or something more specific like Digital Video Projects (I could do with that one myself!) or Foundations of Marketing. You don’t have to do a whole degree, but you might like to keep adding units until you eventually do!
Even if it doesn’t lead to a career change, I personally think there’s nothing like stretching the old brain! Learning for learning’s sake can be rewarding and enjoyable too. A few years ago, in the UK, I completed two thirds of a degree in international studies and frankly, I don’t care that I didn’t (and maybe never will) complete it. I felt, having gone straight into journalism after high school, I wasn’t ready to leave the world of study completely, and I really enjoyed it. (Yes, I am a bit of a nerd!) It was flexible and worked around my unusual hours as a newspaper reporter and my long distance relationship.
Are you one of the lucky ones already living the dream, doing something you love and getting paid for it? Is there something else you’d rather be doing that you’ve kind of given up on or told yourself it’s too late for? Have you done any online study? I’d love to hear your experiences!
Open Universities Australia knows all about flexible online learning and the fact people need to fit studying around their jobs and families. There are a whole host of student support services available, including free tutorial support, student coaching and counselling as well as access to FEE HELP. Why not explore your options today?