When you leave a corporate job, you might think you have done everything you need to, but you will almost certainly be running around last minute trying to complete a handover, tie up lose ends and end your dependency on company IT equipment, e-mail accounts and phones. In my case, this was compounded but returning from the last of 8 trips to India (in a space of 2 years) just a day before my last day at work. So the next day, suffering mild jet lag and with my head still spinning from the farewells (and my vague justifications to unconvinced listeners of what I’m going to do next), I found myself rather lost.
It didn’t help matters that (due to a miscalculation on my part) my shiny new Macbook was stuck unopened in my brother’s office in the UK while I faced two and a bit weeks with no computer. For someone who came to love the potential of Photoshop back in 1998 and still marvels at everything you can achieve with a computer, this was difficult to deal with. At first…
Yet I had promised myself that I wouldn’t jump into things and would allow my self a sabbatical of a few months first, so on the plus side the lack of computer would perhaps help with this. It certainly helped with finding the time to undertake all those annoying, overhanging tasks I had been avoiding for so long. Which, it turned out, lead me to discover new shops and services in the neighbourhood, hitherto only open when I was out at work (this is Spain remember).
In a short time (so far 18 days) I have come to relish going to the gym in the middle of the day, cooking up a tasty challenge for lunch, or getting out on a standup paddle board, just because it was nice weather and nothing was stopping me. I hope that as time goes on, I still make myself do these things, though my experience tells me it will be hard, as I have a tendency to set tough goals for myself and work with abandon until I reach them.
So, with the house more organised than ever, a new work space created, the decks were clear for thinking about what to do next. I at least needed a good answer to the “what will you do now?” question, so often asked and usually followed by, “Oh, you’re very brave!”
Step one was drawing out the different projects I had already initiated. The main ones were clear: Consulting, Training, Illustrating and Writing – bound together by little more than the creative approach that will be taken to achieve them. Will it be possible to work on creating so many different things around the same time? Most people will quickly warn that it won’t be. Maybe they are right, but for the time being, don’t make me chose just one of my project children to support. Let me dream that it is possible to be an illustrator and a higher education consultant at the same time, to write books and train creative communication skills.