Last June, I left my full time employment designing software. It was a bit rough, but I’ve been running Oaktree Media part time since 2009 so I had a lot of work to fall back on. With my departure from the 9 – 5 job, I thought it would be a good opportunity to put a bit more effort into Music Lives. Since then, we have launched a magazine (now newspaper) and opened a space-sharing office with 6 other people. It’s been quite a ride.
Along with the increased focus on Music Lives, I also started picking up a few volunteer based or “pro-bono” jobs to help get my name out there. While working for free when freelancing is your only source of income may seem like a crazy decision, a few of the projects have led to more paying gigs, so I’d consider that a good business move. Beyond that, though, volunteering my time and skill set meant that I had the opportunity to work with some organizations who’s goals and ideals align very much with my own. One of these organizations was Transition Guelph. If you haven’t heard of the Transition Movement, I highly recommend watching the video below. It’s a bit long, but eye-opening.
After my experience with 52 to green, I’ve become passionate about learning more about environmental movements, and the motivation behind the Transition Movement is something that excites me and fills me with hope. Over the last year, I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing individuals who share my passion for positive environmental change, and the new Transition Guelph website is one that I’m really passionate about. Since meeting the TG crew, I’ve also done work with eMerge Guelph, The Guelph-Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination (new site coming soon!), and Minga Skill Building Hub. I also worked with a New York based not-for-profit through Catchafire called Folk Arts Rajasthan. All the projects have done more than put money in my pocket – they have been incredibly rewarding and work that I am truly proud to be a part of.
Coming soon, I may have the opportunity to work with one of these organizations on a more full time basis. The position isn’t 100% aligned with my work history, but I’ve never been more excited about an opportunity. I have realized over the last six months that there are certain ideals that I strive to maintain, and working with organizations and in industries that support my ideals makes the work more fun, more passion filled, and more rewarding. I believe that this realization has marked a transition for my own career. No longer will I be satisfied to simply earn a paycheque. I choose to hold out to find work that I enjoy doing on a personal level, and I believe that quality of my websites will improve.
I am also beginning to really understand how the work I can do building websites and sharing messages fits into a broader picture through communication strategy. This understanding now opens up a number of doors for me to work with awesome people to help the right message reach the right audience. Being passionate about what I’m creating allows me to see the broader picture, and how all the pieces fit together.
While I might not be making as much money, I know that I’m putting my skill set to use to help solve some very important issues, help some very amazing people, and feel more morally aligned with the work that I’m doing.