A year ago I pressed pause on my career. It was accelerating in a direction that I should have been grateful for, working on the kinds of projects and the types of people that are often held up as The Future. But as someone who’d grown up with and always worked in the arts, I felt like a fish out of water and that my values were becoming skewed.
Pressing pause has taken on a number of guises: freelance projects to test my motivations in different directions, career coaching, long walks with the dog, time with my family, learning how to network. It’s been a stepping away rather than a stepping off, and has solidified my ambitions for the next stage.
I didn’t know how long I needed and life threw surplus hazards to negotiate, but a pause doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It can be a week of daily walks that you take without the purpose of arriving at a particular location and without your phone. It can be a volunteer role to see whether working with these people on these projects might be a career for you. It can be a weekly coffee with a friend who has a listening rather than an advising ear to sift through the thoughts.
Some people might form a judgement about what you’re doing and why; that’s their prerogative. But the act of pausing is just for you