Style is a state of mind.
Headspace (noun) = mindfulness, perspective.
I recently spoke to a Feng Shui consultant who spent ten years working in the asset management industry about why she packed in her illustrious career in financial services to become an interior designer.
She thought my question was funny. “Some called me a banker schmanker who was finally doing something creative,” she said, “but you call the financial career illustrious and probably think of interior design as fluff.”
Not at all. But she was right that my question implied some judgement, wasn’t she?
Ok, so if this was not a dramatic career change, then what was it?
So many creative people in traditionally ‘non-creative’ industries yearn to make a career change, but find themselves questioning their choices through the lens of their current head space. Is it fluffy for me, a banker/accountant/engineer/doctor to switch to a career in interior decor, cosmetics, fashion? Is it dry of me to give up a career in media for a high-paying job in recruitment that enables my interest in travelling, photography, fishing, climbing, guerrilla gardening?
The fact is that her two worlds had always overlapped. This was not some major career change. This was about taking a different perspective. And what better way to do this than by investing in a career that is in itself the study if the perspectival nature of our living and working spaces.
Nadia Kaufhold, founder of e.a.t spaces says studies show that your working environment can have a huge impact on your productivity levels. Big corporations are hugely aware of this. There’s a reason that brokers will wine and dine their clients on business rather than have that conversation in the boardroom. It’s also the reason corporates love going to their ad agency’s offices to be presented with ideas.
Design is everywhere, and it is not just impressionable, but it is the first instance of communication between a brand and its audience.
The boardroom is not a dry place if you look at it from this perspective. Behind the deceptive revolving oak doors at the former Daily Epress building in Fleet Street you will find an art-deco gallery-cum-starfleet-bridge with gold and silver travertine walls, rosewood dado and a deep black marble plinth that makes up the investment banking powerhouse, Goldman Sachs. On their ninth floor is a fabric-wallpapered meeting room, generously hung with a Samsung Plasma television and LE-AL meeting room table seating eight Prada-suited (no tie), L’Oreal Men Expert faces and power women with bare lips and red nails tapping their shiny Michael Kors watches. It screams power, it hisses intimidation.
Are we limiting our potential for real fulfilment in life by thinking so narrowly about success? In fact, I wonder if we are not thinking narrowly enough? We are thinking too widely when we create obstacles by thinking that other people will perceive us as fluffy or dry. Think that way and it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
What we actually need to do is think more narrowly. Go inside ourselves. Ask a key question: if I can do both this and want that then mustn’t I simply find a way to do it all, or at least to see myself doing it all?
A career change is not a massive change of heart (and all the drama that comes with that). Just a change of headspace. Let’s all try it.
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