To everyone who has been within conversational reach of me recently, and there’s not been that many thanks to lockdown, the following will not come as a surprise.
I stopped liking my job last year.
And in that, I'm not alone. The pandemic has affected people's attitudes to their work worldwide: the pressure of working, often the only person left as everyone else was furloughed, balancing the needs of the museum with the safety of the volunteers and team just became overwhelming and triggered a minor breakdown.
When that happened, it also triggered a small epiphany: the only thing that gave me any sense of satisfaction was working outside with plants and nature. The allotment became everything and, rather than fading as life attempted a return to normal, that remained constant.
I tried changing my hours, throwing myself into new projects, delegating more, but nothing worked. It wasn't satisfying and I was frustrated by the lack of flexibility that came with being tied to one building, 4 days a week, 9 till 5. I knew I wanted a career change, I knew I wanted to work outside and I knew I wanted fulfilment.
In short, I wanted to work with plants and the only thing that held me back was my lack of knowledge. That and my lack of time.
So I've reached a turning point in my path. A crossroads, if you must. I could continue with my salaried job and a gnawing sense of time wasted, or I could forge my own way, accept instability and welcome the flexibility to learn something completely new.
It might not surprise you to know that I've chosen the latter. As from April, I will be a freelance museum consultant, entirely dependent on my own ability to charm people into giving me work but also entirely free to start training and getting some experience in the plant world.
And, heavens help me, am I terrified! I've never done this before. Never freelanced, never charmed outside of an interview, never faced a new venture without knowing where my income is coming from. This is scary stuff but I'm ready for it.
It does mean that my grand plans for the allotment are on hold. This year it will be more about ticking over, planting and digging rather than constructing elaborate fruit cages, buying trees or even getting my shed. Oh my shed! I stand on the plot and dream of it, painted blue with yellow door (not looking at all like an IKEA, no matter what my friend says), a shelf for potting, hooks for hanging tools and a wheelbarrow (also currently existing only in my head) resting neatly on the side.
I've promised myself that for every job I get, I'll put 10% aside for shed, shed-related purchases and general pursuing of dream plant-based job.
All that's left to do now is hustle some work my way.
If you are feeling particularly generous or flush, and you'd like to see the shed manifest itself, there's now a Ko-fi link at the top of the blog page where you can click through and donate. But no pressure, no expectation, just undying gratitude to anyone who wanders that way..
Wish me luck!