Getting back on track

So, hi… it’s been a while. (I feel like this is my intro every single time—I’m bad at trying to keep this updated, I know, I’m working on that!)

Quite a bit has changed since my last post, but at the same time, nothing really feels like it has.

To recap:

I quit my first job in July. Five days from now would have been my first anniversary, but I couldn’t quite make it and had to eventually file my resignation. It had started to become a chore to me—waking up, going to work, sitting on my desk, staring at the computer all day, working on the same shit, after the same shit, after the same shit. You get the picture. It had become monotonous and had stopped challenging me design-wise and, well, brain-wise.

I miss my workplace and the people terribly, but I know I made the right decision because I don’t miss the work at all. Sometimes my mom tells me I shouldn’t have quit because the company and its people were great and all, and I get that side of it, I really do—but at the end of the day, if you don’t love your job, that stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much. I would never tell anyone to keep doing what they’re doing, no matter how good they are at it, when they’ve come to hate it. We all should be doing something that we love (I realize that’s a luxury not everyone can afford, which is why if you can—I hope you do).

I went back to my alma mater for a talk. Look, as much as I love presenting, I do have stage fright, and speaking in front of a bunch of people does not do well for my nerves. But I was invited for a career talk in my high school and it was a great opportunity and an honor to somehow give back, so I said yes. Obviously, I’m in no position to be advising about careers given how unstable mine is, but there was some story and some learnings to be shared still. I mostly talked about college and the Fine Arts, but I was sidetracked as soon as I asked if any of the students were actually planning on taking it up and nobody raised their hands. I had prepared a presentation targeted towards design students and when it turned out I was talking to no one, things kind of got awkward. But I got through it somehow and come Q&A, most of their questions surprisingly were directed to me (my partner discussed interior design). So that was pretty fun.

Four months after I quit my job, here I am… at home. And here’s where I’ve been all four of those months. I have been trying to start a company with a couple of my friends (our ‘office’ was just the tower next to mine)—this was not my idea, nor was I supposed to be a part of it in the first place, but somehow I got caught up in it and ended up being the one to save it (or at least trying to). Maaaan has it been crazy—starting a business is not easy, let me tell ya. Suddenly deciding you want to start a business without actually knowing what it entails—money (loads of it), maturity, commitment, and business partners who have all of those—is bound to backfire on you at some point. This is what happened to our little company, and now I’m realizing I cannot save it from that. When your foundation isn’t built properly, strongly, and with the right materials, everything else is bound to fall apart. And that, it finally has.

Through these months I have had to deal with not just business-related problems but some drama as well—I would warn you to think carefully about getting into a business with your friends. When not all of your partners are ready for a responsibility this huge, I guarantee things are going to be messy. It hasn’t been fun watching a friendship fall apart right in front of me, being right in the middle, feeling the need to be the one to fix things. I have had to step up and be the adult (even when I’m practically a baby in comparison—I’m the youngest by at least five years), which is fine by me because I actually like being an adult—but, yeah. I don’t think it’s supposed to be this hard.

I could keep trying to save what’s left of this, but today I woke up with some clarity and realized that it’s probably time to let it go, to let it fall apart.

Because I had been caught up in the business and in everyone else’s drama I didn’t realize I was neglecting and losing myself in the process.

(For instance, back in August, I received an invitation for an interview in a publication company in Vietnam and they seemed to urgently need the job filled. I asked for advice on what to reply from my business partner who didn’t want me to leave, and now that I think about it, the message we had composed reflected that. I regret that, needless to say. I could be earning a lot and directing a magazine right now had I carefully approached that opportunity. Sigh.)

So now I’m here thinking: what has this company we’ve been trying to build really done for me? What have those four months done for my career? Sure, I’m coming out of this with at least one work I’m proud of, and sure, I can list creative director as an impressive addition to my resume (actually, I’m not even sure I can given my partner never finished filing our papers), but, really, where has this taken me? What happened to quitting my first job to take some time to reflect on myself and my own career path? While I had been trying to help everyone else fix their shit, what have I been doing to fix my own?

Today I woke up and realized I’m still as lost as ever—I was merely distracted by all these other things. And if there’s a feeling worse than being lost, maybe that’s it; maybe it’s forgetting you feel that way because you’ve completely forgotten about yourself.

So today, I’m taking this little step into getting back on track. Today, I’m remembering.

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