By Samantha Day
After 30 years working as a tax accountant in the city, Samantha was toying with the idea of turning her hobby into a real job. Here’s how she got clear that pursing her passion for stand-up comedy was the right decision.
When my last child left for university, it occurred to me that I could have a hobby. That’s when I signed up for a stand-up comedy course.
It’s probably not the thing people would imagine a tax accountant might choose (we aren’t known for our flamboyance).
Unlike most of my colleagues, the bit I really liked about my job at the time wasn’t the tax aspect, but the leadership one. I delighted in leading a team of 500 and organising massive events where I was the point person (and frankly, where I could get away with being a bit more colourful!)
So I embarked on a comedy course that ran from 7-9pm once a week for six weeks, culminating in a showcase in Leicester Square for those who were up for a likely bout of humiliation.
Frustratingly though, two out of the six weeks it was a struggle to get to the course because of work.
It made me start to question what my life was about if I couldn’t take two hours out one evening a week. Plus it came on top of other uncomfortable questions I’d been asking myself for quite a while about the values of the profession I was working in.
With these nagging doubts in the background, I entered the showcase, did my first ever gig, and immediately knew that I loved it.
Now, this put me in a tricky situation. I felt totally called to comedy, but at 50 years old, if I was going to consider making a polarising career leap, I had to make sure it was to the right place.
That’s when a friend of mine told me about Alison’s online Work Wonderland course.
The programme is designed to help you determine the right career path, so I approached it totally openheartedly and without any bias. If anything, I didn’t want the answer to be stand-up comedy.
The course takes you through a number of exercises covering lots of different angles, and draws out both your conscious and subconscious requirements and drivers. It pulls out all sorts of information on your values, strengths, skills and passions, and even drills down on specific details like what you’d choose to wear in an ideal role (the serious corporate attire required by my job was not on my list).
It helped me generate lots of career options based on my criteria, and then narrow it down to two, and finally, the ideal one.
When it came out as stand-up comedy, I felt 100% confident in going for it because it was based on a considered, scientific approach and decision, so I stepped into it and made the switch.
Did it work?
Well, early on I entered a competition for the Best New Act at the Bath Comedy Festival – my sixth ever gig – and I got through to the semi-finals 🙂 Then using this credential, I secured other gigs and started to build out my routine and my act.
Over the last few years, I’ve won a number of comedy awards and I had a really successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year so I’m going again this year with my new show, The Booby Trap.
While I’m still continuing to learn, grow and build confidence in tackling ever stronger topics with my comedy, I’m earning a basic living at it now, and really importantly, I love every day.
So, if you find yourself in need of a laugh, check out my gig list here and come along to a show!