It’s official. Time for me to get a real job.
I hibernated over Christmas, taking particular care to not think about or stress over anything business-related. What a lovely break (marred only by a persistant nasty cold). S and I did talk, however, about what I’m going to do this year. The reality is that the hound is not going to make enough money to support me for possibly another few years, and it’s getting more and more difficult to deal with being broke. People say money doesn’t buy happiness, but actually, up to a certain point, not having enough money is a huge stressor. I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks.
And, I miss architecture. I never intended to give up my profession; my real gripe about it is that so many firms are basically sweatshops. On the other hand, I still have warm feelings for the first few I worked for, and really only got bitter from the last one. I’ve loved the design work I’ve managed to do on my own, and was only sorry that I couldn’t do it full-time. I miss the camaraderie of a team, and I miss the feeling of constantly learning. And I definitely miss the monthly deposit into my bank account.
I’m not considering quitting the hound: I’ve put too much effort into it, and I’ve been so chuffed with the customers who really like and get what I’m doing there. I’m starting to get orders from around the world, which means that my SEO or social media efforts are working. I could go on sort of the way I have been, but get a couple of part-time jobs: dog-walking, work in a coffee shop, that sort of thing. I could eke out enough to get by while waiting for the hound to get busy enough… but then I would let my architecture career slip away. And, now that that hound is set up, not that it doesn’t need constant work, but it could be done part-time by several people (probably what I should have done from the beginning). With a reliable maker (that’s another issue) and someone to take care of operations, I could do design, marketing, and customer service from practically anywhere.
Practically anywhere is the key. It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to get a position in Scotland that would be worth anything; there just isn’t the work anymore, and no one knows when it will come back. This is my home now, and S and I are pretty happy right now, barring the stress that comes of my not pulling my weight financially and my being moody from loneliness and worry. Oh wait – those are pretty big. They might outweigh the difficulty of having a long-distance relationship for a year or two.
So I’m starting to look. London is a possibility, and it would be easier than some other options. I could come home for weekends, I have a few friends there already, and I could continue to run the hound mostly by myself. But there’s more work in Hong Kong. HK would definitely be more difficult – new culture, only a few contacts, a long way away (and neither S nor I likes talking on the phone) — but it’s also a very exciting idea. If I hadn’t had S and the business, I probably would have moved there a couple of years ago. Apart from being a stimulating new experience, I’m also really interested in trying to sell dog products into China, and living there is possibly the best way to do that. S would have to take more vacation time than he ever has before, but that would mean we would have much more quality time together.
Anyway – if anyone has a lead on jobs in London or Hong Kong, I’m all ears. I think I’d like to get into a firm that does a lot of hospitality work, but I’d probably take anything interesting.