Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Plans, Dreams and Employment Schemes...


This post is unapologetically filed in the 'life' category. It contains nothing directly sewing or refashioning related, so if that is exclusively what you like to pop by for (and who could blame you!), you might wish to come back on Friday. Today I need to write an update about my personal circumstances, although that will have an inevitable effect on this blog and my involvement in the areas I'm most passionate about (sewing and sustainability).   

As a little background, I'd like to explain that for the last couple of years Pat (Mr So Zo) and I have joked about 'living the dream', i.e, where we both work for ourselves. I'm sure most couples have a similar on-going fantasy/conversation about changing some aspect of their lives to conform to their ideal, however vague or specific that may be. Well, I guess Pat and I have both felt a growing desire to put all the time, energy and effort we exert during the working week into our own goals, passions and endeavours, rather than trying to balance all the things we are trying to achieve alongside our full-time jobs. The idea of complete autonomy and freedom to plan your time as you seen fit is an alluringly idyllic one. 

But like most dreams, ours didn't feel like a particularly achievable one. There seemed no clear path towards making that leap; it just didn't seem to be within our sights so it was always a joke. And then in May, Pat got made redundant totally out of the blue. He was working at a soul-destroying telephone-based job so leaving it caused little heart-ache, but his temporary contract meant he was literally at home the very next day. It was a massive shock, and made things financially very tricky, but we decided to ride with it and see if Pat really could make a go of it as a freelance writer (and whatever else he needed to be to make ends meet). 

Carving out a freelance career takes time, and things were scary-tight but we were making it work by almost solely relying on my small wage. Then a couple of months later, BOOM! I was told the studio where I work was to close down. What can I say? I guess the financial crisis hits every sector and charities need to tighten their belts as much as every other business. Friday will be my last day.


In so many ways it is sad and frustrating, both on a personal level and more broadly in terms of the state of sustainable fashion. And if I let it, it could also send me into a state of blind panic with our wedding planned for next month our honeymoon the month after. But as sad as it is, I am also seeing it as the major opportunity I need to try to become self-employed. Since I found out the news about the studio closing, a couple of full-time jobs have floated my way, but I decided they weren't for me as this is my chance to carve out my own self-employed reality. 

So what form will that take? How am I going to support myself? The way I've realised I work best: with my fingers in several pies. The focus of all my endeavours will be the things I am most passionate about: sewing, sharing skills and knowledge, supporting and promoting handmade and craft above mass-produced. You, my friends, will most certainly be kept in the loop if you watch this space...

81 comments:

SewJillian said...

Wow, good on you! I'm sorry to hear about your job losses. I also work for a large non-profit in Australia and I was retrenched completely out of the blue in April. My husband was also forced to close his own business after 20 years and find work with someone else. It does get scary tight and I am still unemployed. Go for your dreams, someone told me recently, the only diffence between a dream and goal is a plan. Go forth and plan and good luck!

little betty said...

I was retrenched while on maternity leave, one week after buying a home!! At the time it was the worst thing. But it did force us to re-evauate our life and I went back to uni to re-train to be a teacher - one of those dreams of mine.

Now I look back and realise it was the best thing that could have happened.

Best of luck with your plans. I hope this situatation works out in your favour!

Fancy Nancy said...

Oh wow! May you live in exciting times...
Good luck with your dreams. You are very talented and personable so Im sure you can use your gorgeous smile to get a few ventures started. I will follow your progress with interest as I too have been thinking of trying to use my sewing ability for financial gain! Dont worry, no competition to you as Im in New Zealand.:-)

wendy said...

You are right to see this as an opportunity Zoe and I really look forward to seeing your dream come true. Calling your time your own and being able to focus on your own ambitions is the best kind of freedom.

Amy said...

Good luck with everything, Zoe. You've proven yourself to be quite a force in the internet sewing community, and I know you'll have a lot of success yanking your star even higher in the sky. The message you embody is inspiring. I think a lot about sustainability, but my life is far from embodying it currently. I love that you remind me to make small changes for the better day by day. Thanks, and, again, much luck to you!

shams said...

Good luck, Zoe. You seem to be a resourceful person and a resourceful couple. I'm sure you can make this work to your advantage.

Jacq C said...

I'm sad to hear about your job, you're such a champion of sustainability. Well done for your positivity, I'm sure you'll make a success of all the different things you do. I remember reading some of Pat's comments on your blog and everyone commenting about his wordsmith abilities so good luck to both of you :)

Rachel said...

Good Luck! And well done for turning it into a positive. I'm sure with your hard work and can-do attitude it'll work out. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it as it progresses.

Scruffybadger said...

A double opportunity for both of you...wow! I am so excited for both of you ...every ending brings new beginnings....good luck with them and look forward to hearing more

Miriam said...

may you have wisdom and opportunity in the journey x

dottiedoodle said...

Very best wishes, it sounds like your strengths will mean you will flourish working for yourself. We were in a very similar situation a few years ago, and it was hard, but also the best thing and so happy now.

Sew on Trend said...

Sorry to hear about your job loss. But I think you will have ideas what to do soon. The sewing and blogging scene is slowly approached by companies, so I think you will find opportunities to work in that field again. Starting a new career is always scary, but you have such a positive attitude, you will be fine!

Miss P said...

Great decision!! I would wish you luck but I think between the pair of you, it's unnecessary ;) I suspect you two have wonderful times ahead :)
Px

Donna said...

You sound like you are handling it really well, but I'm sending you encouragement from across the Channel in any case. Courage!

Helen Made said...

Wow sorry to hear about the job losses, but hopefully this will be the tuning point for both of you to do something you really love! I'm sure it'll be tough, but it'll definitely be worth in the end I reckon. Good luck!

Kirsty said...

Good luck Zoe, you have a lot of people cheering for you. xx

Lizzie said...

Wow, it's certainly going to be tricky but so exciting too. Wishing you all the best for the future

Claire Cooper said...

Good Luck. Keep your options open, My experience of redundancy was freeing and allowed me to really think about what it was I wanted to do. I now have a more grounded perspective on life and am much more willing to go with things. It can be very scary, but is also a great opportunity. I hope your plans come to fruition with great success.

Sarah said...

sorry to here of you present situation, but it's definitely an opportunity, so go for it!! They say you'll never know until you try!! my teach also once told me that know matter what happens or where you are in the world if you can sew you'll always be able to make a bit of money, so I wish you best of luck!!

Macska said...

Yikes, lots of changes for you guys! Good to see you're looking on the positive side, and seeing it all as a big opportunity. :-) I'm looking forward to following your adventures!

Amy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your lost jobs, that totally sucks. I guess it's a great opportunity to see if you can make a go of it working for yourself though! Look at Tasia of Sewaholic.net, I'm pretty sure being made redundant was her cue to start her own business and she's just gone from strength to strength. I totally believe you can make it happen and I'm excited to read about it in the future!

SaskiaLieb said...

Well done for taking the braver but ultimately more rewarding route! As soon as we have more than one income and things are less scary tight at ours I would definitely be keen to invest in some sewing tuition from you.

katherine h said...

Oh, I have so much to say that this little comment box seems too small. First up, a very sincere "best wishes" for this next stage of your life. I'm sure that which ever way you go, you will make a good go of it.

I am sad to hear that your job is no more...to me it sounded like the ideal job and one where you could really make a difference and live your ideals.

I hope that everything works out, for you and Pat, and that things don't get too tight along the way.

charlotte said...

this is the spirit! I too have written ahhh we have no jobs post, ahh lots of kids rural Devon ahhh! But it doesn't take long with a clear dream and challenge, a sprinkling of hard work to feel positive and on the way to a happier life. I have taken a job as a occupational therapists assistant along with a a distance learning course access into physiotherapy, so we are on our way too. Just keep smiling and remember there is always a plan B, but you have to decide on what it is. Good luck.x x x

didyoumakethat said...

I love SewJillian's comment: the only difference between a dream and goal is a plan. So, so true! Zoe, I am sending you all the love and support I possibly can via the WWW. You are talented, experienced, engaged - good things are absolutely bound to happen, and probably sooner than you realise. Your wedding vows will mean even more, knowing the challenges you've faced together. Make sure you're taking time for yourself, in amongst all the planning, though. Stay strong!

Kestrel said...

Best of luck to you Zoe! Sorry to hear about the stressful situations you've been going through but good for you for making them into an opportunity and taking a positive view.
You are no doubt a talented resourceful lady so I am sure that good things are ahead.

shivani said...

best of luck with it Zoe. It must be pretty un-nerving, but you've got such a great attitude and are so inspiring - it's going to be a great adventure! x

Marie said...

I will certainly be watching this space for updates my dear! It's terrifying to have both been made redundant so close together and with such big commitments ahead of you, but also it must be so exciting to be giving self-employment a real go. You are so talented and dedicated that I have no doubt you'll make a success of it, and I'm sure your man will too! Good luck with it all!xx

Roisin Muldoon said...

Good luck with everything, Zoe! I know it will be hard to start with but you and Pat are both so dynamic - the fact that you're already thinking of how this can be a positive thing shows that you'll be able to get along and make something good from it.

Robyn said...

I wish you all the best in your new endeavours. I believe it was a redundancy that gave Tasia the push (and time!) she need to start her sewaholic pattern range - hopefully something wonderful will happen for you too.

Maria said...

Good luck with all your plans Zo.
I've been doing pattern cutting/sample making freelance jobs for a while but I don't make enough money to support myself. It's very tough not just financially but emotionally. I'm desperate to find paid part time or full time job. If you know somebody who needs a studio assistant, pattern cutter or sample maker, please let me know.

Shelley Hesson said...

Very best of luck with all of your dreams and schemes. You and Pat sound like a great couple with a phenomenal attitude, and I'm sure you'll come out the other end of this happier and stronger than ever. Much love and big hugs.

Theresa said...

Oh I so hope that it all works out for you, times are certainly changing for you big time - good luck

Judith said...

One door closes (or two in your case) and another always opens! You are both young enough to live your dreams - now's the time to go for it...

Melizza said...

Good luck Zoe! You are going to live the dream, I'm sure!

poppykettle said...

Whats meant to be, will be. Three cheers for your courage!

vickikatemakes said...

just massive massive Good Luck! I hope this new chapter is amazing!

Gillian said...

God luck to you both! You've got so many wonderful (and marketable!) skills, from organizing events to teaching to designing to sewing... I can't think of so many different career options for you, and I can't wait to see which one you've been dreaming of! You've ot lots of supporters, as the comment here show, and we're all cheering for both you and Pat!

aviewintomyworld said...

from what i 'know' of you and Pat through your blog you two could take on the world!! i wish you both the very best, i hope its not too stressful and that you both get to live the dream - the times we're living through can seem to be filled with negativity but they are also filled with opportunities that weren't there before, i know here in dublin there are small business popping up and landlords are more willing to give a short pop up lease now that some of them have woken up to the fact that its better to have a building used short term than lying vacant. Anyway, as always I'll be following with interest
louise xx

theoccasionalcraft said...

So sorry to hear about both your jobs. I think though it helps when you've been thrown into the deep end like you both have as it forces you to do what you need to do in order to achieve your dreams. Good luck with your future endeavours and I'm sure with your talent you'll be a success!

Jennifer said...

Your outlook is absolutely inspiring and that attitude coupled with your talent and hard work is sure to mean success ahead. Best of luck to you both!

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Zoe you are a very talented and tenacious Lady. The world and you will both be in more wonderful place with you're new found plans for the future - I believe people make their their own luck, and we know that you're good with your hands (your handmade effort here on your blog for all to see are testament to those endeavours). So, whatever you choose make of your life and career is bound to be a happy and successful one in my book :) !

Much love - Clairex

Heather Lou said...

Hi Zo - I hope you guys are doing okay financially - sudden shifts like that can be heart attack inducing. But there is always money in the banana stand! (sorry, Arrested Development joke). The Banana Stand being the sewing world - I think this community is only starting to grow. I think it's only going to get bigger. I have total faith that anything you do in this field will do well. Good luck!

Dichohecho said...

Life is scary, well done for being so brave. Good luck and best wishes, I'll be cheering you on.

lladybird said...

Dang, I'm so sorry your shop had to close down! And bummer that Pat was laid off too (even if it was a soul-crushing job). I must say, I totally admire you two for taking the opportunity to pursue your dreams & what makes y'all happy - and I think you're gonna be fine! Good luck with everything, and I look forward to reading updates about your new (and what sounds super exciting) life :)

Sew little time said...

sorry to hear about your stressful situation but you sounds like you are both looking at it really positively. good luck with your new path - maybe one day you'll look back on this and see that it was the best thing that could have happened! will be looking out for updates!

Shirley Ann said...

What a very heartfelt post. You are so amazingly talented and have a very positive and optimistic outlook. I have always heard that when one door closes, another door opens. I guess it is knowing when to walk thru that door of opportunity and it sounds like that time has presented itself to you.

Jen said...

So sorry to hear about the double job loss, that has to be so hard/stressful to deal with. If there's one thing I know though it's that you are one of the most positive, inspiring, encouraging, nice and a million other amazing things person that I've ever come across. I have no doubt that you will turn this around into something amazing. Best of luck and I'm sure whatever endeavor you begin next there will be a lot of us ready to support you along the way!

Seraphinalina said...

What a scary situation to find yourself. I have not been in that situation myself, but so many people I have seen in a similar situation have come out to something better. Sometimes we need a push to jump off a scary ledge so we can soar. Good luck to both of you.

marthaeliza said...

I commiserate. And now to get down to it.

Kickstarter.com! Make a plan, let your friends and contacts in the sewing community know. We are a power for good and we will support you.

Trisha said...

How scary and exciting all at once. I respect you tremendously for following your dreams. And I hope that you'll share the journey--I'm excited to see what happens next!
I'll be sending positive vibes!

Trisha said...

How scary and exciting all at once. I respect you tremendously for following your dreams. And I hope that you'll share the journey--I'm excited to see what happens next!
I'll be sending positive vibes!

Madalynne said...

wow! I am so sorry to hear about your news. Truly, I am. I hope that you can take this as an opportunity to grow and become fully independent, financially. I will send my Hail Mary's your way!

Tasha @ Stale Bread into French Toast said...

As a self-employed, a can't tell you it's easy, but I will say it's worth it. You'll work more, but hopefully you'll love it enough that it won't all feel like work. I'm (supposed to be) working now, but I'm doing it on the back porch, in our lovely summer weather.

Good Luck!!!

To Boldly Sew said...

Good luck! I have absolutely no doubt that you have the energy and vision to make your dreams a reality - I look forward to hearing your progress and will be cheering you on through the blogosphere!

Anonymous said...

Wishing you and Pat the best in developing and working the plans to realize your dreams, Zoe!

I have a feeling the two of you will take the world by storm!

Taja

Zoe said...

Oh my goodness! Thank you all so so so much for your lovely supportive comments. I've had a tear in my eye all day as these comments have kept pinging up.

You all are so sweet and I can't tell you how much it means to me to know that so many people are wishing us well.

Zoe xxxxxxxxxxxx

Christina said...

I wish you two all the best in the world! I think with an attitude to "be whatever it needs" you are on a good way to make it work.
I'm self-employed, too, after a life-sucking job and while it's not easy and I'm still working part-time jobs, I'm a much happier person and can't imagine going back into the treadmill.

Phil said...

I am so with you x my husband was made redundant 4 months ago, he earns almost all our money. He has got a temporary job for August and we are hoping things will pick up in September. I hope things pick up for you two really soon too x

K Diane said...

Wow! Everything happens for a reason. Good for both of you to take advantage of this situation.

Sarah said...

Good luck to you and Mr. SoZo. My husband and I also have our own 'dream' (though very different from your own) and have not had the opportunity to embark on our as of yet. I really hope this opportunity is successful and rewarding for both of you!

puddeetat said...

Jump! And see where you land. When you are young, you should take opportunities to try different things and make mistakes, because, before long, responsibilities and obligations get in your way! I have no doubt that this is just the push you need to spread your wings! I will be watching with bated breath to see how well you fly. You are an amazing young woman. Do not live your life with regret.

Molly said...

I would be terrified in your position, best of luck to both of you! I hope you keep us updated about what you do.

Crab said...

I'm so excited to see what you do next! (I'm sorry that the impetus for doing something new was Traid closing, however.) I so admire your devotion to sustainable living, and your courage to forge a new path doing what you love.

MrsC said...

Zo you have a fantastic attitude to this situation as to everything, go you! I know from 4 years of life, that when life dumps me out of my comfort zone, usually through redundancy or some other life altering event, it has always worked out for the best. ALWAYS. And as you ca sew, you will always have an opportunity to make money. It's such a useful skill to have. I wish you every success!! Mxo

Fran said...

I'm so sorry to hear you got made redundant but I think it's amazing that you've decided to go it alone. The reason being that I did the same thing earlier this year! I got made redundant and had to decide whether I wanted to risk it. I did and it's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. I love working for myself and it means I also have more control over my life and time for sewing!

I'm a digital marketing consultant so do a whole bunch of stuff like SEO, copywriting, social media etc but I get to choose who I work with now which has made an amazing difference. I'm even getting to work with craft businesses and charities which I love.

It is hard - it tends to be feast or famine when you work for yourself but I adore it. It's made me so much happier. I really hope it works out for you and if I can help in anyway with the practical side of it please ask! I've written quite a few posts on my blog/guest blogs about going freelance which might be useful to you too.

http://www.skullsandponies.com/2012/07/taking-risks.html

http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/getting-a-job/so-you-want-to-go-freelance/

http://www.skullsandponies.com/2012/06/taking-plunge-and-going-freelance.html

Anyway - I hope they are useful!

Also - just wanted to say I love your blog! It's inspired me to attempt making clothes again (I sew all the time but haven't made any clothes in ages) - and last night I finished a skirt which I'm really happy with!!

Best of luck with your new adventure!!!xx

thesecretlifeofseams said...

So sorry to hear about yours and Pat's redundancies. It always feels like a blow, even if you're not digging your job and you want to make a change. So massive props to you both for seeing this as an opportunity to explore your passions! I'm excited to see what comes next.

Clare said...

Redundancy is horrible, but it's not always the right move for the individual to leap into another job in terror - you're absolutely right not to panic and to take some time to consider your options and, even better, your dreams!

I've long viewed luck as a matter of perception (an 'unlucky person' will get run over and think 'just my luck to get run over :( ' while a 'lucky person' will think 'phew, how lucky am I that I survived!'), so I don't think I need to wish you luck, as you're clearly already a lucky person by seizing the opportunity! Good for you and I hope it goes really well for you both!

Tasia said...

Sorry to hear about the job loss Zoe! It's shocking when it happens. It happened to me suddenly, with an hour to pack up my desk and be gone! Like someone else mentioned in the comments it was the push I needed to try starting my own business - I was about to anyways, but had to make the very hard decision whether to get a 'real job' or to pursue my dream. Almost two years later, I'm so happy with the turn my life has taken. People told me that when one door closes, another opens, and while it's a cliche it can also turn out true. Passion and hard work are the most important things - and I always said if it doesn't work, then I'll at least know I tried and then I'll go do a sensible job. :)
Best of luck with everything and know you have a ton of sewing people here to cheer you on!
Tasia

Meg the Grand said...

While I'm sorry to hear of your job loss, I'm excited for the adventure you are embarking on and finally getting that chance to embrace your dream! It'll be tricky, and a bit more than that sometimes, but you'll be doing it on your own terms. You've got an incredible amount of talent and warmth, and I, for one, am rooting for you to succeed!

Joy said...

I'm so sorry to hear this! We've been there. My husband got laid off from a non-profit after 9/11, but that spurred him to finish a degree and do what he really wanted to do. It ended up being good, but the road there was rocky. Hoping for the best for both of you!

House of Pinheiro said...

Zo, you have a go get attitude, you are hard working and strong so I know this new challenge in your life will give you new opportunities to explore your talents. Life cannot be planned, so trust it would work.
You are very loved by all here in the community and we are here for whatever you need...

If any time you need some busines advice, you know you can could on me....

X

Punkmik said...

Oh that must have been a blow, but maybe see it as fate telling you to take the bull by the horns and start your dream! I really do hope it works out for you and hope you find time to let us now over the blog how things are going!

Sølvi said...

Oh my, oh my! That is such sad news that your work place is shutting down, it was SUCH a great initiative. I wish you both the best of luck with your new endeavors,
and I hope your own business, whatever it will be, will be up and running in no time!

I know what it means to start on your own, I am doing it myself at the moment, but as this is the second time around, just in a different town than before, I know it will be alright. It might take some time, but it´ll work out! I encourage you to use the sensation of panic that might occur, and use it constructively as an energy input. You are so creative, I can´t imagine that you will do anything else than succeed! :-)

Hugs from Oslo

ReFashionista said...

Fingers crossed for both of you, although I don't think you'll need it. You're creating the world you want to live in. Congrats! :)

quietandsmalladventures said...

wow, Zoe, wow! sorry for the back to back redundancies, but i am so excited for you to forage on your own and make a terrific new life!! i have to admit, i'm finishing school and am a bit a jealous of your new opportunity!

ZoSews said...

Oh wow. What a shock to the system this must have been. Best wishes, I hope you both get to 'live the dream'!

Marghe said...

GOOD LUCK!!!

bloodsweatshoptears said...

It might not be the opportunity you were looking for, but it's the one you've got. I know it won't be easy but I'm sure you will make the best of it. There are always more options that one realises. Sending positive thoughts your way!

Jane said...

Although it must be super scary at the moment Zoe, this is a big opportunity for you both. I KNOW you're both talented enough and strong enough to turn this glitch into an exciting, positive experience. And the best thing of all is that you have each other. Sending you both lots and lots of love and encouragement. Xxx

Maxi said...

Redundancy is always a big shock and a huge worry - talking from our own experience. I wish you both all the best luck in the world with your endeavours for a happier, more fulfilling and rewarding life x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...