I’m stopped at the crossroads, don’t know where to turn… — “Crossroads” song by Kathi Reynolds
From 2015 through 2019, I spent a lot of time learning the craft of voice acting. I did this in the evenings, while my days were filled working 40+ hours a week as a Sr. Communications Specialist for a software company. In 2020 (after I retired from this full-time job), I spent my time perfecting website content, learning how to edit audio, getting the right equipment, setting up a sound booth, deciding on a brand and logo, auditioning, doing some voiceover work, networking, and training with a prominent eLearning voice coach (which resulted in an eLearning demo).
The Crossroad Begins
After I finished the eLearning training and had a shiny new demo, I was excited and ready to start marketing myself, so I signed up for a voiceover marketing course. This course sparked the beginning of a crossroad in my career path: it was like a reality check for me. I knew marketing was part of the job, but the AMOUNT of work involved became overwhelming to me. I started feeling anxious in my recording studio. I knew something was wrong and was asking myself: “Why am I feeling so anxious – why aren’t I excited?”
My Wake-Up Call
To move forward, I needed to figure out this anxiety. For two full weeks, I examined what I was feeling and why. My emotions/thoughts ranged from blind determination (“I’m going to do this regardless of how I feel”) to truth (“I like voice acting, but I just don’t want to work this hard in my retirement”) to guilt (“I’ve worked too hard and shouldn’t give up”) to realization (“this just isn’t for me”).
Having always been a singer, I loved being behind the microphone, but I finally admitted to myself that a voiceover career would be a full-time job, which I no longer wanted! Even though I have always been a hard worker, this anxiety was the “real” me sending myself a wake-up call: I didn’t have to see this through; I didn’t have to do this if I was feeling anxious.
Taking the time to think about all this finally helped me reach the decision to stop pursuing voice acting and instead freelance as a proofreader and editor. Some who read this may consider me to be a quitter because of this decision. However, I don’t feel like a quitter, because the minute I made this decision, I felt lighter, as if I had thrown a heavy weight off my shoulders. I felt more confident because I knew I was an expert at proofreading/editing and loved doing it. I KNEW in my heart this was the best decision for ME.
How I Felt After My Decision
The best thing about my decision is how I can now pursue other activities – spending time with family and friends, hiking, singing/songwriting (and using my new audio skills to record music), baking, gardening, and recently starting to bike again.
I don’t consider the years spent on voice acting to have been a waste of time. I learned so much. For example, I can now professionally record a song, add my own harmonies to it, edit it, and process the final audio. I’m also thankful and fortunate to have met many wonderful people who helped me along the way – networking people, voice coaches, the audio guy, numerous experts in the business, and amazing entrepreneurs/small business owners.
Are You at a Crossroad?
Knowing I made the right decision is a great feeling. For anyone who is at a crossroad in your life right now and feels like I did, maybe it’s time for you to step back and ask yourself why you are feeling that way. Your “real” self is waiting to be heard. Hear what it is saying to you and, if at all possible, make the right decision for YOU.
I’m off to pursue proofreading and editing work now, which I really love!