On 12 Jan 2022, I left my full-time job working for the civil service. I first joined in 2015 straight after uni and for the past seven or so years I’ve had a fairly fixed idea of what my career ought to look like. But last year I handed in my resignation notice without a concrete plan for the future.
In the weeks leading up to my departure, I was asked obvious questions about why I was leaving and what I was going to do next. I would usually give vague answers in response before trying to change the subject. But in this blog post, I’m going to attempt to answer why it is that I left and also provide an update on what’s next for me and the blog.
Quitting my job
As a starting point, I wanted to share a small section from one of my previous posts back in July 2019.
“Just like Princeton in Avenue Q, I had also been trying to ‘Find My Purpose’…I knew that I loved theatre, but after browsing many websites I couldn’t find any roles that I thought matched my skill set.
I did however start to discover the weird and wonderful world of theatre blogging. I was surprised by the sheer number of bloggers who were devoted to writing reviews and some even received invites to high profile theatre press nights. I knew that this was it. I knew that this was something I could passionately see myself doing, perhaps not as a career but as a hobby where I’d be able to express my love of theatre.”
Three years after writing this, I’m pleased to say that blogging has led to so much more than I ever could have dreamed. I’ve been able to connect with so many wonderful people and I’m so proud of the interview series that I started on here. I’ve also not only been lucky to see many fantastic productions but play a small part in letting others know about these too – watching Canary and the Crow at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will always remain a highlight. I’m also very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to write for London Theatre Guide and the Evening Standard.
Although things were going wonderfully with the blog and theatre reviewing, I couldn’t say the same about my full-time role. I never felt like I was doing something that best combined what I was passionate about and what I was good at.
There’s a line in the Netflix film adaptation of “Tick, Tick…Boom” where Michael asks Johnny – “You need to ask, are you letting yourself be led by fear or by love?”.
There are many brilliant moments in the film, but this question is one that’s firmly stayed with me, so much so that in my small theatre gallery wall at home, one of my prints is dedicated to this.
I mention this because choosing fear is a theme that has bled into many aspects of my life, particularly decisions related to my career. After seeing the impact that the 2008 financial crisis had on my family growing up, I was keen to find job roles that offered security and stability. Over time, I grew accustomed to working within the civil service environment and didn’t entertain looking into anything else for fear that it was too much of a risk.
But in 2021, I was able to dip my toe in the water by taking on a theatre-related freelance project and the job satisfaction I felt as a result was unparalleled. This helped me to realise that it’s time that I stop being led by fear and that I start to lead with doing what I love in all aspects of my life.
So finally returning to that original question of why I left and what I’m doing next – the short answer is that I’ve left to build a career within the arts. I don’t have a clear idea of what that will look like yet or how long it’ll take me to get to where I want to be. But for now, I’m comfortable with embracing the unknown and that feels liberating to say.
Using social media
The next change I’m welcoming in this year is taking a tentative step with logging back into Instagram. In early 2020, I decided to take a step back from using social media as I found myself being glued to my phone. I’ve stayed away for longer than I anticipated and I think my well-being is better off for it. But I have felt very removed from all that’s happening within the theatre community. I can’t see myself logging back into Twitter in a hurry, but I do intend on logging back into Instagram now and then so that I can feel a bit closer to what’s going on within the theatre world.
What’s next for the blog?
Finally in this post, I’d like to cover what I hope to do next with this blog. Despite some ups and downs, I do intend to continue to write theatre reviews. I still ultimately love the challenge of capturing my thoughts on a show even though it still doesn’t come all that easily to me.
The thing I’m most proud of on this blog is my interview series but this unfortunately came to an abrupt end during the pandemic. I still am keen to use this blog to celebrate the work of the many briliant theatre makers out there who inspire me, but not sure what form that will take next. I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a YouTube channel and developing a video interview series, but I think to pull this off I need to develop producing/filmmaking skills. It’s something I’m definitely interested in and would like to continue to explore.
So that’s it! Thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far and here’s wishing you a life filled with love rather than fear.