No really, the day I received the call this is what I was shouting as I jumped up and down. It was definitely a great feeling to be told that I was the top candidate selected by all the interviewers. But somewhere underneath all the initial excitements were some mixed feelings. A pinch of feeling daunted by the idea of a full time job, a dash of its-been-six-years-since-I’ve-done-something-like-this, and a hearty dose of why-am-I-doing-this? Because the truth is full time jobs restrict time for creativity. They drag you down into the swirling depths of bureaucracy. I would be jumping from full time creativity to possibly no creativity. Right?
In my case, that’s not necessarily true. Here’s why. I sat down to reflect upon this choice I was making and came up with a list of the personal and professional reasons this job at this specific time is the right move:
Let’s start with the personal ones. Self employment has its benefits for sure, but when it is coupled with being the primary caregiver for three little kids, it can turn into a cycle of tense and depressing moments. There’s no designated office space when you’re working while managing three toddlers. You end up spending the whole day in your pyjamas. You end up scrounging for time to put in some work and neglecting self care in order to work. Going out to work would be a much needed and very pleasant change, forcing me out of the house and into a productive routine that helps me clear my head. And since this job is at the same school Manahil, Rayyan and Ayla are joining, the logistics work out pretty well.
Onto the professional reasons. On the outside it seems like I’d be giving up all the creative projects I do in exchange for a desk job. But that’s not how I see it:
- Working as a digital influencer is useful and relatively simple except when it comes to getting your payments. I’m literally sick of having to chase after brands to pay their dues when it is what I rely on to fuel my passion for art. Sometimes holding down a steady salary is a way to propel your art.
- Karachi was a good exploration but let’s face it, I live in Jeddah. Travelling there to pull off projects is extremely challenging and while I hope to continue doing that, I’d love to explore Jeddah the same way. Except Jeddah is like a barred door. I’ve been pushing against it since I arrived here and it’s only given way a little. I need a legitimate way to reach out to further people. And working at an institution like BISJ, where my responsibility is to cultivate creativity, with volunteers in the form of students working with me, I can see myself connecting to far more people to pull such projects off in Jeddah. I see this job as a way to make more connections and take more initiatives and create more public art in Jeddah.
- The job itself is fairly simple. Im Head Librarian, which means lesson plans and the like do not fall into my workload. What I do get is ample free time (around books I might add!) to work on my side projects, a budget to organize events and coordinate with the secondary section teachers to encourage art and creativity and reading. I already have a bunch of plans for events and clubs I hope to initiate.
- This salary will allow me to a move to a place where I can have my own studio on the top floor. Which means no choking from resin, or being forced to work in the blazing heat outdoors to avoid choking from resin. I want to use that to create an online store and sell the iridescent alloys on table tops and other wood furniture.
So, upon reflection, this job seems like the perfect next step, don’t you agree? And if I feel like it is limiting my creativity, there are no chains holding me to it either. It’s an experiment like all the other experiments, and if it works, it could be something fantastic.