I recently left my cushy job of teaching of 8 years to run my own jewellery business. Sounds insane? Yeah, maybe. Teaching was my first job and the only thing I knew how to. I was young, fresh out of Art school, not much direction and/or mind of my own. My elder sister was a teacher, and her school had a vacancy for a relief art teacher then, so I took it up. It was convenient, I didn't have to worry about looking for a job. It was stable, I got to teach what I love, it pleased my parents, it can't be that bad right?
I always had an affinity with jewellery making. It started when I was in NIE (National Institute of Education), where I would buy charms and assemble them into necklaces and bracelets. I later yearned to make my own creations that would be (A) durable, (B) original, (C) meaningful. Which had later led me on a quest to learn, explore and create Rina Lee Jewellery. I wanted to make meaningful jewellery for women, not just for the purpose of adornment. I wanted to make jewellery that would celebrate them as individuals. Jewellery that would encourage, inspire, and make peace with themselves.
I knew in my heart that was what I had always wanted to do. Entrepreneurship. It was the idea of starting something from scratch with my own hands and making a difference to the world. It was having the power to decide my own destiny, whether the business fails or thrives is entirely based on your own efforts and decisions. It was empowering.
Don't get me wrong. Teaching has definitely taught me many life lessons too. The kiddos have taught me to be more empathetic, patient and forgiving. But there were also many things within the system that has left me disgruntled. "I had bigger dreams" (which was partly true), I told the kids. I felt a bit guilty for leaving them half way through the year, but I knew they would understand, also knowing that me staying wouldn't be fair for them either.
And so here I am... speaking my truth. Doing the one thing that I knew I had always wanted to do (and not what I was told I should be doing), regardless of its success or not. For at least I know I've tried, and given my dreams a fair chance.