Risk of not taking risks

Why I chose the uncertainty of being a freelancer over the stability of staying at a tech company.

Photo by Nathan Riley (Unsplash)

In 2017, I left my job of 3 years being an in-house videographer for a tech company. I didn’t leave because I hated it. I worked with an amazing team of designers and marketers. My manager was a world-class art director who truly valued my work. Company values aligned with mine and they were generous with compensations and growth opportunities (In fact I was due for a promotion and a generous raise). I learned so much, gained valuable experiences and met so many talented people. I was and still am grateful that I had such an opportunity.

Despite all that, I left. Not for any shortcomings of the current job, but to experience something different that can strengthen my skills and grow my career. It was a 5 months contract to work as a VFX artist for an animated Netflix series called The Hollow.

The Hollow (Netflix)

It was quite refreshing to work on an animation series, not because I didn’t enjoy videography, but because it was a new challenge in a completely different environment. I was working with visual artists, motion designers, and 3D animators, most of whom were freelancers at the time. They provided me with fresh perspectives and shared their stories of ups and downs in their careers. Little by little, my preconceived notion that my career has to be defined was chipped away.

The contract ended in December 31st, meaning I started 2018 unemployed, with only a vague idea of where to begin. I was scared and anxious but also felt liberated. Only after experiencing these emotions, I could truly understand why I was so quick to abandon my fulltime job and jump ship.

As much as I loved my job and the company, my career was on autopilot. I was trying to shape my career to better serve the company, to the point where I even considered becoming a marketer. As much as it would’ve been a fine choice, it would’ve been a compromise. My job was great, but the company didn’t demand my career to grow in the direction I wanted to take it.

Photo by Michael Jasmund (Unsplash)

That was the true reason why I left. To take control of my career. To break away from the mould that was protecting me, and to expose myself to new challenges that can push me forward. This was more important than a promotion, a raise, or any other benefits that the company could provide me.

That being said, I owe so much of my professional growth to the company. I learned various aspects of how a company operates, learned digital marketing landscape and how I can carve a niche out of it, and made so many valuable connections. I still work on various projects with my old coworkers who have moved on to amazing opportunities.

A year has passed and a lot has happened since. I managed to find two clients who bring me in on a regular basis. I registered my business under the name “Pantolix” and have been building its brand since then. I got enough work to justify moving into a coworking space and increase productivity. I was even hired to teach videography for a couple of local tech companies. It wasn’t an easy year, but it was the most fulfilling one of my career.

Creating Pantolix

I don’t know what will become of Pantolix in the future. But that’s okay because this isn’t about results, money, nor success. It’s just a story of how I took the first step to take my career somewhere on my own volition. The destination isn’t set. I’m just enjoying the journey.