Do You Want More?
At first, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about for this week’s post; but then last week happened. I promise there will be a relatable lesson at the end for you. If you want to skip right to it, I’ve highlighted the “TL;DR” in blue for you.
When Something Scares you, It Means It’s Worth It.
Let me start, if I may, in April 2017. Don’t worry, we’ll skip ahead quickly enough to present day. I was working a great corporate job as a Client Success Manager; my health insurance was paid for, I had two weeks’ worth of vacation, 401K opportunity – my career was shaping up quite nicely. In fact, I had weekly meetings with the CEO of the company every other week, where I informed him about the status of my (and essentially, the company’s) clients. He knew me by name, would seek me out directly for favors or clarifications, and really believed I would go far in the company. I had it made.
But I was miserable. There was underhandedness and unprofessional work ethics within the company (within ANY company, really). While the CEO was an honest, sincere man, I knew he wouldn’t believe me if I brought my knowledge to him; I truly feel that he thought the world of his employees and was blind by his genuine love for his company. I had already won, more or less. Those who didn’t want to see me in the position had watched me succeed and excel. But they still didn’t make it easy for me to do my job.
Really though, that’s not why I was miserable. I felt vindicated that my new boss and his boss (the CEO) had faith in me. My boss knew the other departments were giving me trouble b/c they were never all that keen to help anyone to begin with. But my knowledge of the product actually helped my new team, as I was able to circumvent the troublemakers and would often fix issues without bringing them in to assist. This expedition of minor IT concerns gave me more confidence in my ability, so I held my head high.
It’s not that I wanted more. I wanted different. I’m smart, I’m driven, I’m determined. I start as a pawn and won’t stop until I’m the queen (chess analogy). But I’m also creative. My imagination and passion burns strong within my chest and while I conducted myself professionally, I always felt like a child playing ‘dress up’.
I came upon a job ad to assist a young YouTube Production Company essentially as a Content Creator. My job would be to take the reigns on one of the channels and be the personality, following the guidelines already set up. Best part was, it paid hourly. So if my video only got 1 view, I’d still be able to pay rent.
Sounds too good to be true right? That’s what I thought. But with my sister’s support, I opted to check it out (no worries, the first step was a phone interview, so I felt safe). The woman I spoke with was friendly, and energetic, and told me the names of her channels to check out – I saw that it was legit. She loved that I was a voice actor, a fact I often played down when in the Office World.
I was terrified. Finally, I would be able to express myself in a creative way that paid regularly. But at what expense? This small company couldn’t offer any benefits, like insurance and paid vacation. Ultimately, I decided that didn’t matter. My sanity and joy for life was more important. I was scared but I went for it.
My boss and the CEO were very supportive of my decision and for that I am eternally grateful. They took a chance on me and in their eyes, I did a marvelous job. But when I told them I was going to be entering the Entertainment Industry, they knew I had no other choice. It was like they had sensed it all along.
My family and friends were supportive but leery. They wanted me to be happy but I honestly feel they were bracing for me to be temporarily unemployed. Still, they let me go for it without much fight.
The first few weeks were surreal. They were just moving from my employer’s house to an actual office, so I started working at a dining room table and then I worked on the floor, using my chair as a table, until some furniture arrived. I loved it. I filmed the silly videos and I loved that, too. I kept feeling like I would wake up one day and have to return to the Office job; that thought would induce a minor anxiety attack and that’s when I absolutely knew – no matter what happened with this new job – it was the right decision to leave the Corporate World.
But the job wasn’t a joke. I got paid to open and play with toys, make slime, paint figurines and color in coloring books; I once got paid to eat candy which was a feat b/c my face was not visible in these videos! I had a pseudonym, “Pickelina, the Pickle Fairy” because my boss, “Princess Pickles” had left the channel and bestowed it on me. Yes, I did borderline on being one of those weird YouTube Kids Channels but fear not – I was always on the up-and-up and kept it Funucational (Fun & Educational).
Then, things changed. These videos weren’t make a lot of money and the company had to spend money on every video (getting the subject I was filming). I also felt bad because we would research popular videos and essentially copy them, trying to build our viewership. I always put a unique twist on my videos so that only the toy/subject matter was the same. But still, it wasn’t “original” content and that did always leave a sour taste in my mouth.
But now, we were moving on to what is called “Doll Stories” or “Doll Shows”. This was an entirely new beast. Using my boss and her family as a base, I created essentially a Sitcom for children; only, my actors were barbie dolls. I was terrified. This indeed was the original, creative content I’d been wanting but at the same time, it was all on me: I was now tasked to Conceptualize the show, write the scripts, make the set, film and perform the dolls – I was a one woman show who had help with the editing. Except, I’d no to very little training for any of it. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts, so I did take a class in Prop Design and Script writing but… one class, more than 5 years ago? I was scared but I went for it.
My boss had every bit of faith in me; my co-workers, too. I was given parameters to stay in – the show needed to be routine in nature, not yet episodic. I actually had a second show which was created and performed entirely by me; that one was actually unscripted and I only had an outline of what I wanted to happen each episode; it really was my Imagination Baby. That one sadly was put on hiatus so I could focus on the main show which eventually did grow to include plot and character development. At that time, more co-workers were added and we became a well oiled machine. Here’s the IMDB Page we’ve just created or if you’re even more interested, here’s the YouTube Channel.
It was so much fun. I had to push myself to write compelling dialogue and while the first few episodes really weren’t much of anything, in my opinion, Season 2 was where we’d really started digging in deep. Social Anxiety, Physical Disabilities, Bullies and Peer Pressure – we walked the fine line of Family-Friendly for ages 4-9 while making it enticing and engaging in a thoughtful, entertaining, and educational way. I really felt like “A Creative” for one of the first times in my life; the only other time is when I’m in the booth, bringing a character to life.
We’d just about written all of Season 2, more than halfway into filming the episodes, and were getting ready to start pre-planning Season 3 when the hammer fell: The show was “temporarily put on hold”. In the fall of 2017, the issues with YouTube (especially YouTube Kids) hit our channels hard. While we did find ourselves back on top, since we were not the culprits in this case, there was a stagnation in our success. We needed to regroup as a team and re-strengthen the company’s core Brand before we could continue the secondary projects we had going.
My boss determined new positions to offer each of the Doll Show’s members; she asked me to be the company’s PR and Social Media Manager. I was terrified. Sure, I’d considered getting into Social Media Marketing a few years prior. I’d always been interested in Networking and Connecting with the community but I’ve absolutely no training. I took two Social Media Seminars, both for my own Voiceover needs, and never considered myself qualified to be a Public Relations Manager. But my boss has faith in me and knows that with some training and resources, I will be great at it. I was scared but I went for it.
That was just this week; Thursday was my first day on the job. I’m still feeling it out but based on my past experiences, this feeling of uncertainty means there’s a chance for growth. Even going back farther, I’ve been uncertain about a lot of opportunities and every time I went for it, I learned a new skill or life lesson. I may not have been happy as a Client Success Manager but I don’t for a moment regret pushing myself to get the job. And, there were parts I genuinely did enjoy. Had life circumstances been different, I think I could’ve truly been satisfied there.
I am a firm believer of trusting your gut to make the right decision. If that guy down the alleyway is giving you the creeps or if that Gas Station Hot Dog doesn’t look quite right – follow your instincts and avoid the situation.
At the same time, I believe there is a difference between the dread that settles in the pit of your stomach and the electricity that surges through your body. The key many of us overlook, is distinguishing between these two feelings.
If you’re scared at the recent invitation to ride on the back of a one-seater motorcycle with no helmet – go with your gut and decline.
But if you’re scared at the offer for a chance to see a new place or meet an Influencer or potentially get an exciting job; go for it.
Because in those circumstances, it is not the activity that scares you but rather the fear of the unknown; we feel safe staying in the confines of what we know. It is when we reach out for more that we start to panic.
So just ask yourself one question: Do you want more?