A Gal’s Guide to Making a Movie is a new weekly written series by Erin Bagwell. To view the whole series click here.
Part Three: The Window
In Dream, Girl Mariama Camara says opportunity is “like a door, you come, you knock- and if it doesn’t open you break it.”
A couple of months before the new year I put out feelers to find my job, but nothing really manifested. I went on a couple of interviews but nothing clicked.
At the time my partner/boyfriend/roommate Sal was working as an interactive designer for a boutique agency in Brooklyn and he was doing some freelance work for our friend Marc who was trying to hire him away from his current job.
Marc emailed us about a new company he was starting and how he needed a full time designer to work on the site. I got a hit that this could be my way out- and called him immediately and pitched myself to him for hire. I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t have the time to take on a whole site, but it might be enough work for me to quit my job and pay my rent for a few months.
On the phone Marc was super skeptical, he didn’t really like the idea of me quitting my job to work for him since he was just in the ideation phases of his company, but I told him how much I hated my job and that this would be a good stepping stone for me until I found the next thing. It wasn’t exactly the perfect exit, but it did give me the space to figure out my next move.
The last time I quit my job in 2012 I was unemployed for five months which basically drained my entire savings account so I knew I needed to find a more stable financial plan of action (I have made it a habit in my career of being unemployable which I later learned is a pretty common trait among entrepreneurs).
Marc agreed to hire me, and I was super relieved. Then the fear crept in.
I started to doubt my decision- maybe this wasn’t the right move for me. Maybe it would be safer to stay at my job. I went back and forth on the worth of my happiness against the stability of knowing where my paycheck would come from. During that time I had one of the most important conversations of my life with my partner Sal.
It was a blistering winter night in Brooklyn and I was walking home from the Barclays center. Sal met me halfway to walk me home back to our apartment and I told him about my conversation with Marc, the stress I felt from my job, and the anxiety I felt about going rogue.
Sal and I had been living together about a year and were talking about getting married. It felt selfish to put the stability of my ability to contribute financially on the line so during our conversation I backed out of my decision to quit my job. I cried with him walking home, telling him maybe it was better if I played it safe. But Sal had seen my unhappiness day to day, and one of the reasons our relationship thrives is that we both have this unwavering ability to support one another’s dreams. He told me to do it, to quit my job, that we would both figure it out.
I cried some more out of happiness, fear, and excitement.
This was the start of something new.
This wouldn’t be the last time Sal and I have important and uncomfortable conversations about money and the instability of making your own movie, but we will get to all that soon enough.
Now we have a kickstarter to launch.
Join us next Wednesday to hear the next part of Erin’s story. Or sign up for Feminist Wednesday’s newsletter to get it right to your inbox.