I’ve developed depression

I have developed depression from my workplace. I don’t feel valued by the company and they have made it pretty clear that my future there is stagnant without changing my role or climbing the corporate ladder. I’m a creative, and have never wanted to become a suit at a desk. You know those corporate suits that justify their existence by how many meetings they have to go to. No thanks, that’s not for me.

I make a measly $33k a year. From full-time work as a Photographer, Videographer, Image retoucher and Editor. That covers all the commercial work for the company. To name only a few things that I do. I photograph their campaigns in the studio and location. Model shots, beauty, product, perfume, lifestyle sets to specialised Macro jewellery to only name a few of the categories I capture. I know for a fact that I would get double what I get now just going freelance. This is a kick in the nuts because there are freelancers all around me, and hiring them looks better on the companies books.

What I’m getting at is that I feel super undervalued with the way my company has treated me from a monetary point and a value point. After 8 years I have never had a substantial pay rise. The most they have ever given me was 1% and that was only once the entire 8 years I have been working in the photography department. So hopefully you can understand why I don’t feel valued and I have developed depression. So what can I do about this, because upskilling isn’t valued where I work. I don’t want to climb the ladder and be in pointless meetings all day, and never be on the tools. I know for some of you this might be the dream job, and it was, it truly was for me. But I have come to realise that I’m in a toxic neglected relationship with my employer. I now have three options to choose from.

  1. Stay
  2. Stay and develop a side-hustle
  3. Quit & change careers (teaching degree)

I’m going, to be honest staying is kinda stupid if I’m hoping the company will suddenly value me. Developing a side hustle is an option, but will result in possible burnout. This has happened to me before, but an option. Or three just change career paths. It’s really up to 2 or 3. Let’s put it this way, I have another pay review which looks pretty bleak, maybe a 0-1% pay increase if that. Which will definitely mean I will quit. If I get a substantial pay increase I will stay until I find a better option. I’m at a crossroads here. One way my life stays the same & possibly becomes worst off financially, because of inflation or the other way into a new direction. One is familiar the other is the unknown. One of those sounds like a new adventure and chapter in my life. So what do you say? Let’s go on that adventure.