The Transition from Corporate to Creative

November 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm (Quarter Life Crisis) (, , )

A friend of mine quit her job a few months ago without a new role to go to. Some would say this was stupid, but I think it’s brave. After over 7 weeks of unemployment, she was offered another dull corporate role and was certainly tempted by the offer of a secure paycheck but turned it down. About a week later she was offered a 4 day a week role in a creative industry linked to fashion. Exactly what she wanted.

But not everyone can throw security to the wind and leave a job that they loathe to follow their dreams and land a job that they love. So how do you transition from corporate to creative?

Dare to dream. Unless you plan out exactly what you want your days to look like, how can you create your ideal career path? Figure out what is important to you. Do you want to work for yourself or an organisation in a creative field? Do you want to work fewer hours or would you like to earn more money? Would you like to work in the mornings when you’re more productive and save your afternoons for personal errands and down time? Maybe your dream is unrealistic, but you’ll only find this out if you try. Go for it.

My aim is to work less and allow myself time during the day to exercise, attend classes and  relax. I think the saying is ‘work to live, don’t live to work’.

Do some groundwork before you leave. It’s a good idea to start on the project or type of work you want to get into before you leave your secure corporate role. Write for an online publication, join a band, take art classes or sew handbags on the weekend to start your Etsy empire. Get some experience under your belt to plump up your resume for when you take the leap.

Ask and you may receive. Approach your employer about perhaps cutting your hours to a part time (or job share) arrangement that could support you through your change of career. This may not be possible, but you never know until you ask.

Check your finances. You need to do this to make sure you have a ‘Just in Case’ stash of money to keep you going in case things get tough. Also draft a budget if you are going to take a pay cut making this transition.

I’ll keep you updated on my journey from administrator to singing teacher/performer and pass on any pearls of wisdom I may learn along the way. 11 weeks until D Day…

Are you thinking of making the jump from corporate to creative?
What are your biggest hurdles?


  1. Stella said,

    What an inspirational story !
    I’m still at uni and at stay at home mum so I’m not looking to make the jump from anything, but it’s always lovely to read a good story like that :)
    I wish her all the best in her new career. Xo

    • Kimberley said,

      Thanks Stella, glad you enjoyed the story. :) x

  2. Suzanne said,

    Great story!

    my biggest hurdle would be,.. the finance. I did teaching job which gv me a lot of free time to paint but the job didn’t pay well.. Now I’m living in a corporate world. saving up..
    hopefully one day.. I can get back again and do what I love (paint, travel, adventure).. ‘

    • Kimberley said,

      It is tricky when creative jobs fulfill us in one way but don’t fill our wallets int eh same way as a corporate job does. I really hope you do get the chance to go back to a creative career soon and enjoy all those fantastic pursuits of yours! x

  3. Kenya said,

    I got laid off in September and was kind of thrown into a creative career…but now that I am in it, the feeling is kind of bitter sweet. Aside from the quarterlife crisis that was already brewing I started to have to deal money issues…and money issues almost always lead to feeling crappy about yourself. However, after almost a year of pursuing my passion, I can saw I feel great about myself. I am able to see how productive I can be when all my attention is focused on me. It feels good to create and to inspire. Plus, I think as young people we have a unique opportunity to pursue our dreams because we don’t have any kids of spouses….now is the time…seize the day!

    • Kimberley said,

      Thanks for your comment Kenya. I think there will be a number of people in your situation that have been made redundant and had to create a role for the themselves (whether it be creative or corporate in a business of their own). You should be very proud of yourself for getting out there and giving it a real go while dealing with the monetary backlash.
      You’re very right that you do have the opportunity to go for it when you are young and it’s wonderful to see that it’s made a positive difference in your confidence. x

  4. Lisa said,


    First time I’ve been to your blog and this post is very timely!

    I’m considering a change in career- currently I am a government lawyer but I would like to do something more creative.

    I’ve recently started my own blog ( because:

    • I had an idea for a business but I didn’t have a clear idea how to start. So I created the blog as my starting point.
    • I wasn’t sure I would still like my idea once I really started to invest some time into it.
    • I really needed a creative outlet NOW.

    After revising our budget and ‘negotiating’ with my partner, I plan in the coming weeks to negotiate with work working a four day wee. With this extra day I plan to develop my blog further and invest more time in my business idea.

    I’m working towards follow my bliss! :-)

  5. cecylia said,

    You know about my transition from a vet to a boutique owner right? =P
    But no I don’t have a secret stash to fall back on…only my clothes

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