Reflections

Update: Sabbatical & Career Exploration

In reality, I don’t really have a — just more of a general direction (or directions!) I want to head in.

It has been almost six months since I started my sabbatical and embarked on this pursuit to explore nine different careers that have always piqued my interest. I wanted to take some time to reflect on my experience so far.

Thoughts on Careers

Video Producer

I had quite a few opportunities to learn more about video production. I worked on a full film shoot and got a great filmmaking 101 overview. I even tried my hand at making a couple of videos on my own; however, limitations with technology prevented me from completing the projects.

In general, I find it more energizing working on these videos projects as part of a larger team. Doing the video shoots on my own got a bit overwhelming and eventually became a slog.

There were also pieces of filmmaking that I discovered I really enjoyed — writing and set dressing. I’d love to see how much opportunity there is (at least in this market) to specialize in those areas.

I don’t think becoming an independent video producer is the path for me. However, I could see myself enjoying working as part of a larger video production team.

Web Developer

Web development was the first thing I tackled during this sabbatical. I already had a little background on web development through my past jobs, and there are a ton of free online resources to learn more about the craft.

I went through training on freeCodeCamp. While I found the lessons helpful and easy to get through, when it came to the end-of-unit final projects, I found I didn’t have much motivation to get them done.

I just don’t think that web development provides the creative outlet I’m looking for in my work. While I could see myself doing it for a portion of my job, I don’t think I would find it energizing doing solely web development work.

Content Creator

This is the area of my exploration that has been the most varied because content creation can cover a wide array of media and outlets. While I initially put this career on my list with video in mind (inspired by my favorite YouTube channels), it’s actually been the podcast and this blog that has given being the most insight into the full lifecycle of a content creator.

I look forward to continuing on with the podcast. Once again, it’s been really energizing to work on that project because it’s a team of us. While we all have our special focuses, we always pitch in to help one another and do what it takes to get the job done.

I’m also interested in continuing my exploration of writing. I want to look into some more freelance writing work, particularly freelance blog-writing work. I think the tone of blogs better fits my writing style over more formal, business writing.

Furniture Upcycler

I have not yet explored this career path; it’s definitely the one that will require the most resources, both time and materials. However, through my exploration of interior design, I’ve already been thinking of expanding and/or pivoting this from furniture upcycling to furniture design and production.

There is a market out there for custom furniture, and it can be quite lucrative. My husband and his colleague have the resources and skills to build the furniture, while I could help organize the business, marketing and sales side.

Real Estate Agent

I also haven’t touched this career yet. I have doubts about how much this career would fit in my lifestyle because the schedule could conflict with my theater schedule.

I do like the flexibility the career could provide, and I do think I would have the talent for it. I’m not ready to remove it from my list just yet, but I don’t feel like I’m in a rush to get into it.

Interior Designer

For the last few months I’ve taken a couple of interior design courses, and I’ve learned a lot about the industry. There are so many paths within this field that one can follow. I’m not convinced yet that it’s the career path for me, but I’m definitely motivated to keep exploring.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think getting some real-world experience in this field — through an internship or part-time work — will be key in helping me determine how energizing I find the work.

Major Gifts Officer

I haven’t gotten to this career yet either. I know that I would likely want to be a major gifts officer for an arts organization, and in the Bay Area there may not be as much opportunity as in markets like New York. Much like real estate, it stays on my list, but I don’t find myself in a hurry to prioritize this one.

Theater Executive Director

Now, this is an area I’m really interested in exploring. As part of my sabbatical, I’ve had the opportunity to be much more present in my own theater gigs, and I’ve also had the time to see more theater as a patron. I love the energy of being in such a creative world.

I would probably want to be an Executive Director (or Managing Director) of a small to mid-size theater so that I would still have a connection to the artistic work and not get too bogged down in just the business side of things.

Actor

I’ve had some off and on exploration of acting as a career. Obviously, I’ve done theater for years, and while it comes with a stipend, it is by no means a way to make a living (at least at the level, I’ve been doing).

I have done a little bit of paid video work, and I do want to pursue that more. I’ve also been considering bringing my theater work up to the professional level and pursuing equity status.

Other Thoughts

I’ve confirmed that, in general, I find it a lot more energizing to work as part of a team rather than independently.

I have also really loved how much more time and energy I’ve been able to give to my theater work during this sabbatical, and I’ll be looking for a line of work that allows me that same space.

Lastly, I will lean toward work that allows for some flexibility in the schedule and/or opportunities to work from home.

There’s a lot more left to explore!

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