Farewell, Paid Job

by Vicki Notaro

As I write this, I am embarking on a metaphorical “journey” of sorts, much as I loathe the word – cheers Simon Cowell for ruining that one. Today is my last day working for KISS Magazine; once we send the august issue to the printers, I’ll no longer be its Deputy Editor.

For the past four years I have been lucky enough to hold a position on an award-winning Irish magazine that many would imagine to be a dream job, and in many ways they’d be right. However, while I’m happy to say that the dream hasn’t turned into a nightmare in any way, it is time to move on. In any time or place, such a move would be unnerving, but in Dublin publishing in 2012, it’s nothing short of kick-me-in-face, pull-my-heart-out-of-my-chest TERRIFYING. So yes, I’m giving up a safe and fairly cushy job that I have loved in the middle of an economic crisis. But I’ll be GRAND. Or so I’ve been told.

I’ve been at KISS since 2008. Hired out of the blue on the strength of an impassioned email and some college paper musings, I was still in my final year of university when I landed the job of a lifetime. I interviewed celebrities, wrote about what was really bugging the youth of today, trialled make-up and skin care and generally had a fabulous time. I couldn’t honestly believe my luck, and it soon became clear that I had wedged my foot in the door right in time.

After two and a half years, I was promoted to Deputy Editor. I had grown up a lot in that time, and I wasn’t the green-around-the-gills girl who had first walked through the doors. Sorry Trinners, you may allegedly be for winners, but I got my real education in KISS Towers under three of the most talented female editors in the biz – thanks Susan, Sarah and Nathalie, for everything.

Over the years I had begun to expand my repertoire by writing for KISS’ big sister women’s mag STELLAR and The Evening Herald, conscious all the time that I was building a portfolio and a career. I might not have realised it yet, but I knew my future wasn’t as a staffer. Still, it was only about six months ago that I really realised I needed a change. You simply can’t work for a teen mag forever, as living in an adolescent mind-set doesn’t gel with living an adult life – I had Bieber on the brain and teen issues always circling my mind, and my grown-up thoughts had no place in my work. I had been writing in my own voice for STELLAR for a couple of years, which definitely scratched an itch, but there are countless responsibilities when writing for a teen mag, and the image you present to the world has to be a certain one. I always struggled with this, and longed to write more risque features and show more of my true personality, which isn’t always (or ever?) PC. However, this is Ireland in a recession. I longed for more broad experience and to spread my wings, but where the heck was I going to go?

Assuming there were no opportunities in Ireland (because TV told me so), I believed I had to go elsewhere. After some research I decided the best place for me was London, and set about putting feelers out which were well received. I convinced myself that this was the answer, that LDN was where I belonged even though every other aspect of my life in Ireland was peachy keen, and I knew next to nothing about the London publishing scene other than it was LARGE and far-reaching. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I decided to just do it. I quit my job with 3 months notice, and set about pursuing a new life in England. But it was only after coming to terms with the enormity of what I had done that I realised that in my heart of hearts, I didn’t want to go – more on that here. I realised that while Dublin may be doom and gloom central, there are opportunities for people who are clued-in, enthusiastic and available. Still, throughout all the nerves, moments of confusion and total “What the HELL am I doing?” outbursts, I never doubted for a second that leaving my job was the right decision. Through all of the confusion, the failed planning, the what-ifs, I knew in my gut I was right. That’s what’s kept me going, and stopped me running into the publisher and begging him to tear up my letter of resignation.

So here I am, remaining in Dublin and open to any and all opportunities that might come my way. There’s so much I’ll miss, from the office banter (looking at you, Dillon) to the cupcake deliveries, hilarious shoots and Friday drinks, but hopefully there’ll be more of all that in my future somewhere. I’m on the precipice of something potentially thrilling and after several weeks of abject terror, I’m feeling good. I’m *whispers* GOING FREELANCE. Ta-da! There, it’s in print. As of today, I will be my own woman, and it’s very exciting to be stepping out into the great unknown with nothing but myself to rely on. Sure, it’s really scary but the prospects I have are thrilling, and the freedom intoxicating.

It’s not going to be easy, and I might freak out from time to time, but do you know what? It’s better than sitting around wondering and waiting for things to happen for me. I’m going to make them happen instead. So wish me luck, comrades. Here’s to voluntary unemployment, AKA freelancing. Hurrah!