For those of you who might be reading this that don't know me, let me introduce myself quickly. My name is Paul. I'm 28. I'm British and I've been living in Paris since 2009. I moved to Paris for 2 reasons: love and work.
For the past 9 years almost, I've worked at Apple. I started as a part-time "Specialist" in a retail store in London and for the first 4 years of my career I worked in five different stores in London, Montreal, Sydney and Paris. For the last 5 years, I’ve been a Global Trainer for the Retail division. A usual working month for me is a mixture of working from my home office with my own schedule and 2 cats to share my ideas with, and travelling the world to deliver training sessions to other Apple employees. I loved every moment of my time at Apple. I got to wake up in the morning, be myself, be around amazing people, talk about stuff that I love and get paid to do it. To be honest, it didn’t really feel like a job. Sure, there were periods that were rougher than others, but on the whole, the past 9 years have been incredible.
But, I'm giving it all up to try and make it as a stand-up comedian.
“Sorry? I think I miss heard you, Paul. You're giving up a well-paid job at the world's most admired, most valued company that had you travelling the world on expenses and 5-star hotels to get on a stage and try and make people laugh? Are you crazy?"
Probably! But here's why I'm doing this:
I started at Apple as a twenty year-old university student who needed a part-time job so that I didn't have to take out a loan to pay for beer. Back then, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I also had no idea that I would get my dream job at 23. I love travelling, so this Global Trainer job seemed perfect. The problem with getting my dream job at 23 though, is that I forgot about my actual dreams in life. Yes, Apple is an amazing company to work for, but at the end of the day, it's a company. And working for a company was never a dream of mine. I needed to start dreaming again.
In 2008, during my last year at university, there was a comedy night at our student bar. Even though I had been a fan of stand-up comedy for years, I had never seen a live show. It was great. I was 22 and I had a new dream in life - to be a stand-up comedian.
A few months later, I decided to get on stage at some open-mic nights in London. On the whole, they didn’t go very well, but I had made the crucial first step. I then found out that Apple was planning to open stores in France, and because my girlfriend was French (she still is by the way!), I jumped at the opportunity. So, in August of 2009, I packed up my life and moved to another country for the 10th time.
My plan was to start doing comedy straight away. As a British person who speaks fluent French, I thought I could take advantage of the two cultures to make fun of them both. In reality, it took more than 3 years for me to get back on stage.
Work took over my life in a big way. I got promoted three times in the first year of me being in France, and I had this new amazing job where I’d be travelling for about half the year and working from home for the other half. I stopped thinking about comedy. It wasn’t until Christmas of 2012, when I had two weeks of holiday at home, that I started thinking about it again. I spent most of those two weeks watching stand-up comedy online. I started to dream again.
I knew something needed to change. I had been in France for over three years, but because work was so intense, I had the impression that no time had passed. I needed to spend more time not working and doing something I enjoyed. I needed to get back on stage. So I did.
I started to perform both in English and in French in January 2013. The great thing about having a day job that made me travel so much, is that I would try and perform wherever I went. Thanks to Apple, I managed to get gigs all over the US, in Spain and in China. Slowly, I was starting to think that my dream could come true, but in order to do so, I would need to dedicate all my time and energy to it.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve had some pretty great “life” chats with close friends and colleagues and it always came back to one thing: Life is short. We’re all going to die at some point, so we might as well make the most of it while we’re here. For a while now, I’ve had a motivational poster on my desk at home called the Holstee Manifesto. If you’ve not heard of it, you should look it up, it’s pretty great. The final couple of phrases say “Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m leaving my dream job at Apple to follow my dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. And I’m going to document it all, so if you’re interested in following me into the unknown, here’s where you’ll get all my latest updates.
If nothing else, I hope this post makes want to start dreaming again - it’s never too late.
Thanks for reading,