What d’you mean, follow your dreams?

At some time or another, most of us have asked our friends or family for advice about our careers. Now, I don’t know about you but for me the responses usually fell into one of two categories. I was told either to ‘study hard and find a well paid job’ or ‘follow your heart, chase your dreams’.


The first always sounded a little dull and dry, and the second was such a cop out that I felt no wiser than before I’d asked. And anyway I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast from the age of about eight, but having broken my knee somersaulting off a beam that wasn’t going to happen.

Since then I’ve been looking for a professional, work hard-ish dream-fulfilling career. I was editor of a watch magazine (love watches!) I wrote books about design (love design) and worked as a editorial consultant for a large design organisation (yup, I loved that too!). But I felt that I was spending all my time talking about how other people had fulfilled their dreams. It’s exciting watching a rocket lift off, but can you imagine how cool it must be to be the astronaut…!

Find your passion

At the risk of over generalising, I think the best chance you have of finding work that fills your heart is by learning to make stuff. The act of ‘doing’ is so absorbing. It is so relaxing (mostly!) and so rewarding, why would you not?

I chose cabinetmaking, safe in the knowledge that the skills I learned at Rowden would carry me through long into my more crumbly years. And while family life has happily interfered with my time in the workshop, the bench is still there. The ideas keep coming, and the desire never dims.

Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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