When I was sixteen, I figured out I loved decorating. It wasn’t because I watched TLC or HGTV. I actually hate those shows, and most designers will agree with me. They are just too unrealistic. It was because I could see a room not for what it was, but what it could be. I had an eye for potential. I loved to play with color and patterns and create something out of nothing. And it just so happens that I was good at it, too. I won’t toot my own horn, but I was really good at it. I had a little den in the basement of our house that I loved to decorate quite frequently. I found that I loved styling bookcases. There’s an art to it, ya know? I would stack books up and play with tinker boxes and picture frames until it was styled to perfection.
I started peeking at Elle Décor and Veranda magazines as I stood in line at the grocery store with my mom. I was fascinated with trends and styles. The people I admired most were Jonathan Adler, Dorothy Draper, and Candice Olson. I loved everything about their work. They were bold and brave. That’s the kind of designer I wanted to be.
At the end of my senior year, I had decided I wanted to go to school for interior design. Just as I thought, I was really good at it. I understood things quickly, fell in love with AutoCAD and Photoshop, and could make a design board that was flawless. I had it in me. I knew I’d be successful. This past May was one year since I’ve been out of school, and I have to say I’m still loving interior design like I did on my first day of college. When you know, you know.
If you’re wondering if your job is really you passion, ask yourself these three questions:
- Does my job feel like a chore? This goes for the grunt work, too. I don’t get to play with fabrics all day every day. There’s a lot of paperwork that I have to do, too. But I enjoy it all. The saying goes, “Choose a job where you never have to work a day in your life.” I honestly believe that’s the key to happiness. Jobs make us feel secure, but they should also challenge us and empower us. One day you’ll wake up and thirty years will have gone by. Make it count.
- Am I living up to my full potential? In hindsight, I would like to run my own business. But for now, I’m soaking up all the knowledge that I can. I’m studying to get registered and am taking the precautionary measures I need to succeed. I have projects that I am responsible for and clients that I have to tend to. If your company isn’t letting you live to your full potential, talk with your supervisor and ask for more responsibilities. At some point you have to graduate from the “intern.”
- Could I do this for the rest of my life? Maybe not the exact position that you’re doing now, but could [design, cook, teach, build, train, etc] for the rest of your life. My field has so many different avenues, so there is always a door for me out there. Some jobs just are what they are. You have to really want to do it every day.
Sometimes you have to work a few bad jobs to get to where you want to be. That’s totally understandable and much needed. You’ll gain so much experience from working the jobs you hate, and you’ll be able to better understand what you want in life and what your values are. I honestly believe you are where you are for a reason. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay there. Seek out what it would take to be where you want to be, doing what you love to do. It may require more schooling, but most of the time it just requires more faith. Ask your loved ones for support, and go get ’em, tiger!