This time last year I was preparing to leave a career that had occupied my life for the better part of a decade- medical research.
While I loved certain aspects of my work- the thrill of discovery and always learning new things, problem solving and flexible work hours, I was very unfulfilled with other aspects of the work.
Predominantly I felt that I didn’t have an outlet for my creative side in my day to day work. And in terms of the bigger picture, I was frustrated by not “making a difference” to my chosen field of research. I also felt a strong lack of connection between the effort I put into my work and outcome I would see- a common struggle in research and academia.
In the lead up to quitting my job I’d saved intensely and planned to take 6-12 months away from structured employment to travel, spend time with family and try new fields of work.
During my two years working and living in Finland I had developed a passion for travel writing and photography. This formed my basis for exploring new ideas and I soon extended these aspects to different types of design and eventually web development.
I spoke to people I met while travelling- so many of them were working in various creative fields and the conversations about their work and what aspects they enjoyed or struggled with were invaluable to me. I soaked up content on YouTube, Skillshare and online forums about how to improve specific skills, and more generally about how to pursue a different career path and the best ways to work and learn independently.
After 6 months I decided to focus on web development and set about learning the specific tools of the trade, with a big focus on practical project-based work. I knew that my first project would be challenging- converting my own blog into a unique site that I had designed and coded from scratch. It also ended up becoming quite a time consuming project, as I spent a lot of time editing content and developing my photography and photo editing skills. However, as it was also a passion project, it provided me with the motivation needed to push through a steep learning curve.
After 4 months of working on this project part-time I’m finally ready to share the result. If you’re interested in seeing what’s been keeping me busy lately and what I’ve created then have a look at my new site- cazalye.com