Gabrielle is a friend of mine from Perth, Australia who’s lifelong love of all things sweet didn’t really gel with her accounting career. I’ll hand it over to Gab:


Just imagine a cheeky little redhead toddler with big brown eyes and hair that stands up on end, running amok and demanding to help her mum make chocolate crackles or butterfly cakes. That’s me, when the only worry I had in the world was, “When would I be tall enough to reach the cookie jar?” Then, unfortunately, I grew up.

I studied hard, did my TEE (Tertiary Entrance Exams, the equivalent to end of high school exams or the SAT) and went to university. I left uni in 2010 as a qualified accountant. I had absolutely no experience. I didn’t know what it meant to be an accountant, but I had a piece of paper which said I was one. I got a job and began to come to terms with the career I had chosen when I left high school at 17 years of age. And surprise, surprise … it bored me to death. The way I got through each week was to set aside Sundays to potter around in the kitchen and bake until my heart was content. Only THEN could I handle another week of work.

Mondays were the day I’d bring in morning tea for everyone in the office – I was known more for my baking skills than my accounting ability. I constantly reminded myself that when I had enough money I would open up my own bakery cafe. At the ripe old age of 21, after working in auditing for 1 year, I hated my job. I started to realise how much I disliked the path my life was taking so I made the decision to move from sleepy old Perth to Melbourne. The idea was to spice up my life with a new city, new people and a new job. Melbourne, my favourite city in the world, surely it would solve all my problems!

I started my new accounting job shortly after moving and slipped back into my mundane lifestyle. The big move had been exciting but nothing had really changed. My big sister knows Gav and she directed me to his new website Zen Pencils, and I couldn’t get enough. In time I realised that comic after comic it was me in those pictures and I became defiant but struggled against changing my situation. I was bored out of my brains, I hated my job and for some unknown reason, I wasn’t doing anything about it. Why? I would have to take a pay cut. Because I had spent three years at university and my degree would go to waste if I changed career. The miserable job had become somehow … comfortable. Eventually though, I did what any normal 24 year-old would do. I called my mum:

“Mum, I’ve been thinking … I don’t want to pursue accounting any more.”
“Interesting … Ok, what else would you do?”
“I have been doing a bit of research and I’ve found a full time baking course. 12 months. Cakes, pastries and breads.”
“… Alright, when do you start?”

I was ecstatic! Mum had given me the go ahead! I quit the next day and was enrolled at the William Angliss Institute within the next month. Since then I have finished my course, moved back to Perth, and am now working full-time, baking artisan wood-fired bread in Fremantle, Western Australia. And, on top of that, I have started my own business, From Ginger With Love, supplying cakes to cafes and individuals. I am crazy busy, outrageously active and LOVE my life! I can’t wait to go to work every day and I am constantly thinking of new recipe ideas to rustle up for my customers.

I always remind myself of a quote and aptly-illustrated comic I found on Zen Pencils:


A note from Gav: Thanks to Gabrielle for sharing her wonderful story 🙂 I just wanted to add my two cents here. As Zen Pencils has gotten more readers from all over the world, I’ve gotten some interesting feedback which I want to address. Yes, I understand that changing careers, following your dreams and attempting to do what you love is a luxury and not a viable option for people struggling to pay rent, stay employed and feed their family every week. Most of the world is pretty messed up economically and promoting the whole “do what you love” mantra borders on being irresponsible. Gabrielle and myself are lucky to live in Australia, a first-world country that wasn’t too badly affected by the global financial crisis. Please, I don’t want you to risk poverty or the well-being of your family because you keep getting told to quit your job by websites like mine. But if you’re one of those people who are lucky enough to be in a situation where the only thing holding you back is your own fear, then Gabrielle’s message totally applies to you. Yes, YOU!