As I mentioned last week, I decided to use our move across the Atlantic from New York City to London as an opportunity to change careers. My goal: move from restaurant management to something with some semblance of work/life balance while still being challenging and engaging and preferably in the world of food. Seems simple, right? In reality, it is probably the biggest (or perhaps only) disappointment with our relocation. I did not necessairly believe finding a job would be easy, but I perhaps underestimated the difficulty. I mean, I am such a great employee, who wouldn’t want to hire me?
I am still searching for a position that provides everything I want. My search is a little more focused now and hopefully it will lead an amazing position. Of course, I am not alone in this situation. Many people uproot their careers for the opportunity to move abroad with their partners. For me though, and many others, the chance to follow your partner abroad on an ex-pat placement can present a chance to gamble on a career move. While I’m still working it all out for myself, my American pal Todd has used his time in London to pursue his passion for beer making, and now, he has opened his own brewery here in London.
Todd was lucky enough to be able to continue his career from the States when his wife was relocated by her company to the UK, but he ultimately wanted a change and he knew his passion was beer. After about a year working remotely, he began his training in brewing, doing a stint in Dusseldorf, Germany and eventually landing at a craft brewery in East London. After some time brewing there and learning the trade, he and a few partners decided to strike out on their own and create their own brewery. That is how Mondo Brewing Company was founded.
Located in Southwest London in the Battersea neighborhood, Todd and his partners are pursing a dream and were able to premiere their beers at Craft Beer Rising, a massive beer festival in Shoreditch, a few weeks ago. We attended the event last year with Todd, and now, a year later, he is an exhibiter at the same event. What a difference a year can make! They have had plenty of challenges, with delays and a multitude of unforeseen hurdles – it’s been a true test of patience. But rarely do small businesses launch easily and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. But in a matter a few weeks, Mondo Brewing Company will be in full swing, creating their four signature beers (James’ Brown Ale is one of my favorite beer names ever) and a variety of seasonal brews.
I helped out the guys last week as they received truckload after truckload of equipment. A seamingly endless sea of stainless steel in a warehouse. Todd and his partners were exhausted, battered even, but the sight of their brewery coming to life, with fermenting tanks moving into their space, was a moment of massive achievement. The space was literally transforming into a real, full brewery. It is a dream becoming a reality and they had a sense of pride, hidden under a layer of stress.
Stories like Todd’s are inspirational and reflect how your path towards a rewarding career is not always a straight line. There are detours, twist and turns. Taking a leap of faith and opening a business in a foreign country is gutsy but completely amazing. Would Mondo Brewing have happened if not for Todd’s move to the UK? Did being an expat help flush out his passion and turn it into a career? Possibly. It makes me feel better about my lack of employment in my pursuit of something more meaningful while we are in the UK.
I do not want to accept a job simply to say I have a job. That does not solve anything. I need to find something that I am passionate about and use that energy to turn it into a rewarding career. That sounds deep doesn’t it? But, I do not want to return to the US after however long we lived abroad, having spent years doing something I don’t actually like and wasting my time. I could fail terrifically, but that is the risk I am willing to take to find a job that works for me. It is a risk worth taking.