So, as you guys may know, I did the damn thing. I worked a full time job. I moved to Melbourne to have a little bit of stability in my ever-changing and international life, and about 5 months into my yearlong visa, the opportunity arose for me to take a full time job position.
The position was for the tour guiding job that I was already working. I had been leading walking tours of Melbourne for 4 months, and the growing company shifted to have the need for a few full time positions, one in marketing. The skills required were basically everything I already do for my blog – copy writing, web design, social media, customer communications, blog posts, affiliate marketing, onsite and offsite SEO. The position was basically made for me – a well versed blogger and experienced tour guide.
A few of my tour groups through the months
The Job Begins
It was perfect. It’s like the position was made for me – putting together the two things I really did best and had the most experience in – guiding tours and marketing. I was actually staying put in one place for a WHOLE YEAR – so what better time to try this whole ‘full time job’ thing a try?
I have always been decidedly anti-9-to-5. Not wanting to join the corporate rat race was the reason I moved abroad and started my blog in the first place, and built a life that went against societal expectation and showed everyone else that it CAN be done. I lived the entire gamut of life experience, from working sailing tours in Croatia to events in London to driving Lyft in California to waitressing in Sydney to hostessing a catamaran in Panama to taking photos for adventure tour companies – and blogging the whole way through.
But the one thing I actually had NOT done, that would actually really round out my quest for having the widest range of life experience possible?
Working a full time job.
Although always the devil to me, I figured that I had to maybe do it myself to truly understand it. I could accomplish 6 months working full time to have yet another new life experience, and most likely figure out that it was always what I had imagined it to be anyway (something along the lines of imprisonment. No offense to people who work full time and love their jobs; I respect it more than anything, I really do).
So I set out to do it. I arrived in the office; I signed the contract; I was given a company computer (ooooh, aaaah) along with my special tour umbrella, name tag, money wallet, card reader. It was so official. I was excited.
I was the perfect person for the position and I was going to use my skills to help a small company grow. I really had a say in things; I used my creativity to help create policies to be used in the future; I wrote a whole new website and designed some of it too; I helped develop and implement the entire email marketing plan, and much more.
I did tours each week too, and I enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and showing them around the city I love. I took groups around the hidden bars of Melbourne, showcasing some of the coolest parts of this city and showing people a great time. It should really have been a ‘pinch me’ moment – I had an awesome job.
The moment I point out something cool and the whole group turns to take a photo
Reality Sets In
I’m not really sure when things turned south, but they did. The fact that the company was so new meant that there weren’t many policies in place. There was no approval process for requesting leave, the schedule changed at the last minute each and every day, and timings changed without notice, making it hard to plan anything at all.
Requests for time off and appointments quickly got lost and forgotten, last minute changes lead to stress and rescheduling, and it was hard to ever plan a day trying to know what I would be doing. I would plan on an office day and get changed to tours, with my computer in tow for no reason, or vice versa. More often than not, office time was substituted for constant tours depending on what needed to be done, and exhaustion set in speaking front of and leading big groups of people constantly.
Work quickly piled up with minimum time to accomplish things in the office, accounts and processed for keeping track of numbers changed time and time again, and issues in developing processes started to become obvious when blame was shifted for different shortcomings. It was a very new company (I was the first full-time hire) so changes were absolutely to be expected, but it quickly became difficult to maintain physical wellbeing… and soon, mental, too.
Leading tips-based tours (free walking tours) also had its stresses – its hard not to feel down after making terrible money, no matter how much of a reflection it is on the people tipping rather than the quality of the guide.
Being on my feet all day with tours left me exhausted at home and unable to keep up with my ultimate passion – this blog. Changes in schedule interfered with my attempts at planning a regular gym or fasting schedule, which are also things I consider very important. Wanting to still make the most of weekends also left my blog in the dust, and I started to feel guilty if I wasn’t working all day and coming home and working even more.
Needless to say, it built up.
Part of my brain was saying, ‘Are you kidding me, Kimmie? Stick out working full time for SIX MONTHS of your life – this is a fantastic job that you enjoy and is perfect for you, just suck it up and do it.’
But, the other part or me was screaming for a bit of freedom, to not be slave to wherever I was needed at that moment, to at least know what I was to be doing, or to have time to be myself and pursue my own passions as well as be of service to a company I truly supported. Anxiety began to build more and more before tours, and I felt less and less like myself.
It took me a near breakdown to realize something my partner had gently been trying to tell me for weeks – this job has been negatively affecting my wellbeing, and causing me negativity and anxiety far outside working hours that had started to impact my life. I can talk specifics with anyone who is curious, but I’ll leave it here for the purpose of this post.
Bar Tour group selfie at my favorite bar, Little Lon Distilling Co 🙂
The Decision is Made
I felt so silly to admit it, kind of like a metal basket case – why couldn’t I just get myself together?! This job should be awesome. It is really that hard? But he was so right -I came home crying for one final time after another stressful shift change that impacted another of my attempts at making plans for my health.
The regular salary and job security was absolutely incredible – two things I have hardly ever had in my life. Hell, I haven’t stayed in the same workplace OR country for more than six months since I graduated from uni. A stable salary and security should be cherished… but really though – at what price?
It was at that point I realized, lack of this is something I thrive on.
Part of the definition of who I am is leaping before I look. This is how I have always been. I have NEVER NOT figured it out – moving to multiple new cities alone and finding my footing, traveling with far less money than I need, finding ways to make money on the road.
I am not financial stability. I am not paid time off (although I was REALLY excited for that 😛 ). I am not ordered around by anybody. I never will be. That’s not where I thrive. I, Kimmie Conner, am: following my passions into the complete unknown, doing everything for myself and no one else, the creator and purveyor or my life and dreams. I am doing things for the experience, to understand more and more about this life. I am imperfect but always myself. I am serendipitous and unsure, a feather in the wind without a propensity for rigidity.
I am the blissful feeling of freedom knowing I can do whatever I want, not knowing which avenue my next paycheck is coming from but knowing I am living my life to the fullest and squeezing every ounce of experience out of everything while I’m at it.
I thrive in not knowing what’s next, but only if it is self-inflicted. I’ve realized that the complete unpredictability of that job is what drove me away, but quickly realized that it’s because the unpredictable force was external. If I have control over my own unpredictable life, I find it more of a challenge and less of an imprisonment, being at the whim of an untamable force.
I am so thankful to have the experience of working full time. After all, I am after the widest possible range of life experience. I simply now know (as I had really known the whole time) that it is not for me. I knew it when I was a little wide-eyed college student, watching everyone jump straight into the corporate world. Me? I decided myself to move to London because, well, why not?
I truly think that I could have actually lasted 6 months in a full time job (lol, laugh at me all you want) if it had provided the stability that I expected. I came to Melbourne for some stability; I accepted a stable job for, well, stability too. The fact that I got the opposite was just not what I really needed at this point in the progress of my life, blog, and visa.
Photobombing a group cheers
The Positive from the Negative
I, however, have taken so much away from this experience – I think it was actually one of the grandest learning experiences of all the weird/random/wonderful sh*t I’ve done over the years.
I learned what it’s like to be a part of a supportive team in a corporate environment (sheesh, never though I would say that).
I learned so much about productivity and work ethic and became much better at staying on task (MUCH better than I am, alone in a cafe, trying to get my blogging done).
I learned the ins and outs of a small business and the insane amount of work that goes into its growth (so many things, huge and small, that you wouldn’t even fathom).
I refined my tour guiding skills and became absolutely awesome (if I do say myself) at leading short tours around the city. I helped hundreds if not thousands of people have the best possible time in my favorite city.
I learned more about customer communications – wording things for the best outcome, making sales, and making people from all different walks of life laugh at my silly dad jokes.
I learned all about what it takes to create a successful email marketing campaign and laughed many automations. I wrote copy for and helped design and format an entire website. I wrote blog posts and implemented affiliate marketing tactics into all of the above.
I helped create processes for different parts of the business that will (hopefully) be used for years to come, when more and more people come through and take my position and when more and more people are hired into the company.
I met fascinating people from all over the world and fostered great relationships with partner businesses in the city (e.g. bartenders at our bars – I’ll be back!)
I learned that my personality and tour guide mode can still be activated no matter how I feel – it’s like flipping a switch. 😛
I learned that Melbourne really is the most awesome city in the world, and I am so thankful to have been able to explore it every day for my job. I can’t wait to continue discovering more hidden gems and write about ALL of it on here – you already know I haven’t had ANY time for Melbourne blog posts thus far, but now the time has finally come!
I truly have never felt more happy or free than I did when I sent my final email with my notice (sorry mum and dad). It’s like all of a sudden I came back into myself again – my good old, funemployed (in the ‘real world’) self. I honestly didn’t realize how much anxiety I was pushing down until I took that big breath after pressing send. I had reached my breaking point and had been pushed too far, and it was time for me to say no. And god, it felt good to take my power back and stand up for myself.
The rest of that day/the next was full of what I would consider a minor spiritual overhaul – I felt how I can only imagine ‘regular people’ feeling after they quit a damaging job of ten years (apparently 3 months is like that for me… what can I say? :P). I felt happy; I felt aligned again for the first time in a while. I truly felt like myself after not even realizing I was missing. I took solace in the unknown and knowing that I would and will figure it out.
Group by the river
So what’s next?
Well, in true Kimmie fashion, I DON’T KNOW! And I feel absolutely great about it. Isn’t that wonderful?! I mean, to you it might be silly, but to me it’s wonderful… and that’s okay.
In all honesty, I probably won’t ‘work’ (in the hourly wage sense of the word) for at least a month or two. During the past few months my blog has reached record numbers in traffic, advertising income, affiliate income, and user sessions, and I haven’t even had the chance to foster it or really work on it at all. My blog is my true end-goal, passion, and career choice, and its not going to continue to support me if I don’t support it.
So yes to working full time… for myself. I’m considering looking at a few coworking spaces in Melbourne, ticking off more of the thousands of Melbourne cafes, and/or making myself a more rigid schedule of working at home. Blogging hardly feels like working to me – building my own dream (rather than someone else’s) can happily take up all the time in my world.
I can definitely afford more than my rent from my blog’s income, but it’s just not at the point yet that I can trust it to support me in such an expensive city. But hey, good thing I have saved up TONS from working full time – I have plenty to survive on and much more.
So, yes, I do intend to work (for someone else… ugh 😛 ) again in Melbourne before my visa is up in December. In what respect, I’m not totally sure. I might do a few days a week in an office admin job I did in December which is open again, which was (quite boring but) very easygoing/fun/well-paying.
Now that I have more free time, I can reach out to and take more press trips even mid-week, which would be a lot easier for lots of tourism boards in the area rather than just on weekends. I hope to accomplish some more blog and brand partnerships in the next few months around Victoria.
I’m open to whatever opportunities may arise for me in this weird and wonderful life. I have plenty of savings from this strange full-time salary I have been receiving, plenty of free time to build the blog income up, and a completely open mind to get even more new experience while I have the right to work in Melbs.
So yep, that’s it. Laugh all you want, but yes, I lasted A MERE 3 MONTHS in a full time position, and the verdict was what we all knew it would be – YEAH, NAH. Not for me 😛
If you know of any interesting jobs coming up in Melbourne, please get in touch! Either way, I’ll be blogging full time and I know something will always pop up into my universe and everything will work out. As I know well about my life at this point, it always does.