DOMINIK SHIELDS
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#honestyhour - I'm scared.

image by:  Shevaun  

image by: Shevaun 

Real talk, I’m not the type of person who's scared of a lot of things, (except spiders, boats, heights, flying…) but right now I’m really having a hard time.


Many people who know me will know that I’m always the girl who works.

‘Can you come out?’ Sorry I have to work. ‘Wanna do something later?’ I have work to finish! ‘What are you doing this weekend?’ you bet your sweet ass, I’m working.

Basically, I’m a fun sponge a lot of the time (sorry everyone, please still love me!)

I’ve always managed to get myself a job, since starting work at 16, I’ve somehow managed to convince people to employ me and let me stick around for a long every day.

These experiences I think have allowed me to become the (neurotic) adult that I am today and have helped shape how I see myself in business. 

Yep in business for I’M a business, in a competitive industry, where I have to be on the ball at least 90% of the time. In between cuddling my cats and napping that is.

Towards the end of 2016, I quit my job in retail in order to take a much-needed break after a hectic 3-year university degree. This allowed me to travel, go to Falls Fest and reevaluate what it was that I wanted to do/where I wanted to go.

Being unemployed for the first month was SICK, I was doing whatever I wanted when I wanted and I didn’t necessarily have any responsibilities. It was like the fun part of my gap year all over again.

But eventually I started to become irritated - I’m a person who needs to be mentally stimulated otherwise I go insane and by the end of summer I was running out of things to do.
My friends were going back to uni, back to their jobs and back to their lives while I was in a haze of not really knowing what was going on.

I felt like I was being left behind.

Obviously, this wasn’t the case, I mean there are people in their 30s, 40s and 50s who are still searching around for their thing. But while I was watching everyone around me getting on with their lives, I was sitting at home looking for jobs or in the gym trying to sweat out my boredom. 

I mean I spent around 11 hours editing photos one day - I’d Shout out run out of stuff to do.

The job hunt eventually ended at the beginning of February this year, when I convinced someone else to take me on and give me a job - my first office job. 

MUM I'VE MADE IT. I WAS A REAL ADULT.

I would get up at 4.30/5am every day, sometimes earlier if I wanted to fit a workout in first [I know, I’m insane, who the fuck does this every day] and then I’d finish work at around 7 pm. It was a very very different experience to anything I’d been exposed to before and it allowed me to gain new skills, knowledge and friends. This job allowed me to be able to connect with people in a very different way, it allowed me to learn things that were very foreign to me that I can now say I’m very confident in and will take with me in future.

I did really enjoy working there, my office was sick, there were so many plants in our office and puppies outside, the people were the best [ily] and they opened one of the most delicious vegan cafes next door [hello The Alley, I miss you and your Mexican Taco Bowl every single day]


Then two weeks ago I quit my job. Wait, what? I know right? Absolutely terrifying.

I quit a well-paying job. For nothing. I had no plan, no idea of what I was going to do next and after I’d spent the first few days chilling out, I was back looking for another job. I was exhausted and bored.
I went looking for jobs in offices doing similar things, I was looking back at retail and hospitality because I’ve never not had something to fall back on.

Thinking long and hard about this, it’s hard being a creative who works full time and then comes home to work on herself until she goes to bed. 

I didn’t stop working all day. I was burnt out. I wasn’t thinking very clearly about my overall health or well-being. I was just go go go all day every day because I wanted to achieve all my goals at once.

Being an actor and a model is hard guys - the people that say it isn’t are lying. Or are superhuman. 

I was lucky enough to be working 3 jobs every single day but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t able to commit 100% to everything and I hate doing things half arsed.

When I quit my job I had no “plan”. I decided I was going to take my creative work even more seriously and take it on full time.

Do I regret quitting my office job in order to pursue my career? No, because it was making me unhappy and a horrible person to be around. I wasn’t sleeping, my anxiety was always high, I was developing health issues and my immune system was failing. Worst of all, I developed ADULT ACNE, YES YOU HEARD ME. ARGGHHH.

(Shoutout to my skin therapist though - you’re the real MVP.)

The stress of being on 7 days a week doing something that I didn’t have a lot of interest in was killing me mentally, creatively and physically. So I quit. 

image by  Milan

image by Milan

It’s hard and I’m not ever going to deny that and I’m scared of what is happening and will happen. While I wish I could wake up tomorrow, go from audition to casting and nail them all and then earn a milli for being a dead set legend, unfortunately, that’s not the reality.
I’m lucky enough that I still live at home and have an amazing support network around me who are willing to support my weird life.

You really begin to take stock of who and what is important to you when you make very big life changes - while me quitting my 8-7 job may not seem like a big deal, it kind of is. I’m going out into the world and working my arse off in order to make my passion, dreams and career a reality.


But unfortunately for me my anxiety also likes to pop its head in and remind me of all of the disastrous things that could and can happen. Bit of a pest really.

I don’t speak about it that much because I don’t want to be burdening people with my problems, but anxiety and dealing with it is quite hard. Creatives, who I’ve spoken to, especially suffer from anxiety and stressful periods as we have to be ‘on’ all the time. We’re in a high state of pressure - not that uncommon to sportspeople or those working in an office. Having anxiety is okay! It’s how you deal with it and how you help yourself out that is the most important - never feel ashamed or down about your problems, I did for the longest time, but once you start to open up and get advice from those around you - it all gets easier. 


I’m lucky as I’m able to speak to people about it and use countless bottles of anxiety spray which allows me to think a little clearer. Panic attacks are still common and my sleep hasn’t quite returned to normal but I’m a functioning adult who wants to kick ass everyday, so I’m getting there.


Being your own boss is difficult, if I don’t want to go to work, well I don’t have to and at the end of the day if work doesn’t get done then I only have myself to blame. I mean, my body and my mind is my job - so if I don’t go to work almost every day, I’m the one who suffers. My work suffers and I’m back to square one. 

I’m very fortunate that I have two very supportive agencies who are around to help me with the bigger picture and contact wonderful people who are interested in me. Shoutout to the lady bosses in my life who are helping me kick bigger goals.

But the rest of the time I’m out there working every day in order to try and further my career and improve my skill sets. My jobs are filled with uncertainty, I’m never sure when my next job is going to be nor am I sure of whether or not it’s the right move for me.
It’s a very lonely and confronting dealing with yourself 24/7 (in a business sense) but I’m learning to go with it. What else am I gonna do?

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Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a plethora of Lady Bosses who have gone out in the world and made it theirs. Shoutout to Business Chicks for inspiring and empowering me.

I learnt from many women that there’s always going to be uncertainty and you aren’t always going to get it right but that shouldn’t stop you from going out to do what you want.
While there are challenges and hurdles ahead of you, you shouldn’t be deterred by what other people are saying to you or telling you that you should or shouldn’t do.

Don’t live your life for anyone other than you. 

Accept advice, listen to your mentors but at the end of the day make decisions for yourself and don’t do things just because people tell you to. Have your own thoughts and opinions about what you’re doing, do research, take free online classes, make sure you know your shit. 

I learnt last year that I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

You have to go out and do it - whatever that is, otherwise you’re going to look back on all the things you coulda, shoulda, didn’t do.
Quite a few people have told me lately that they’ve quit their nice, well-paying jobs in order to pursue their passions.
This allowed me to not feel so alone, knowing that there are other people out there who are doing the exact same thing as me, at the same time, is really helpful.

Shout out to you guys, ya bloody legends. 

I don’t feel like I’m being left behind anymore nor do I feel like what I’ve done has caused me to become a failure.

I’m scared because I’m walking into the unknown and I’m scared because I have absolutely no idea what the hell I’m doing most of the time.

But I’m excited - I’m not putting such a huge pressure on myself anymore, I’m doing something that I actually want to do and I’m learning something new every day. I’m putting the right amount of pressure on myself in order to become better - at my job and become a better human. Am I still looking for other casual or part time work in between? Yep. Does that make me a failure? Nope.

To be honest it’s looking pretty exciting.

Now I’m not telling you all to go out and quit your jobs but make little changes every so often so that you’re doing stuff for you and you’re making yourself happy first.

Be a little bit scared, it’s good for you, promise. 

 

x

Real TalkDominik Shields