SHIFT Inspiration

Inspiratieplatform van Marc Bijl

It was 1998. After three years of ICT, I earned a ton a year. There was a neat coupe in front of the door. Yet I was not happy. In fact, I was very unhappy. I resigned, sold my apartment, and went on a trip for a year. That was the turning point in my life. Since then I only do what I really like. Parttime. This is SHIFT Inspiration, my name is Marc Bijl.

Heaven on earth

The beginning of my life has been quite easy. I had nice friends, liked to do some sports, and easily got my grades. When I was 21 years old, I graduated from the Fontys Hogeschool in Eindhoven. Not much later, I also had the diploma from the Radboud University in Nijmegen. The internet became popular quickly, and the jobs were up for grabs.

Just like my college friends, I started in ICT. And just like them, I got a car from the company. A laptop from the company. A mobile… Well, actually everything from the company. I earned almost a ton a year, and got a bonus for everything that one could possibly imagine; there was even a bonus for every day that you were not sick. Yes, I’m serious, it really existed: heaven on earth.

ruthson-zimmerman-233522

Chanceless rat race

Yet I was not happy. I could not put my finger on it, but I thought it was all hellish. Everything was about making a career and earning money. Oh yes, and choosing cars. To use them for the traffic jams. It all felt like a kind of rat race.

A rat race indicates that someone is busy with a series of endless or useless actions, which offer no prospect of results. Like a rat trying to escape, while seemingly aimlessly running in a treadmill.

- Vrij naar: Wikipedia -

It was endless, aimless. Useless. Totally hopeless. And the worst thing was, I did not know what to do about it.

When the fire of love goes out

On a beautiful Saturday in the spring of 1998, I listened for the umpteenth time to the song “When the fire of love goes out” by Acda & De Munnik. I sang along, as hard as I could.

Traveling is no longer possible, he would have liked it differently, yes, traveling back home, because they're waiting for diner.

- Acda & De Munnik -

Traveling back home, because they are waiting for diner? I was shocked, this couldn’t be true. The tears were in my eyes. Was this all right? How long would I continue this way? What the hell was I doing?

New zealand and Australia

A few moments later, under the shower, I realized that it was time for change. The decision was made; I resigned, sold my apartment, arranged a backpack, and left for New Zealand and Australia for a year. From that moment on, under the shower, I felt really free.

With a toiletry bag and only a handful of clothes in my pocket, I experienced by far the most beautiful year of my life. I did not need any more.

Nice little detail: in New Zealand I met my sweet wife Michelle. Now, after nearly 20 years and still happy together, we are even the proud parents of Selma and Toby. How beautiful can it be?

5.000 analogue photos

Apart from Michelle, I also met myself during my trip. When I came home with 5,000+ analogue photos, I just knew it: I just had to start doing something with images. But what? And how did I manage that?

Exactly at the moment that I threatened to end up in the rat race again (it was the end of 2000 and I was offered a million euros in shares in the long term) I got the chance to make a website. From that moment it was clear: I wanted to become a web designer.

Web and graphic design

Creating websites actually started as a hobby. But, without being aware of it, it became more than that. On 15 November 2008, exactly 10 years after I had traveled (and of course that was no coincidence), I was at the Chamber of Commerce in Maastricht, The Netherlands; I started my little company for visual communication, and named it: New Oceans.

Man cannot discover new oceans,
unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

- Andre Gide -

Meanwhile I changed my company’s name into Marc Bijl . That turned out to be much easier in practice. I have a nice portfolio, and also started to create my own style; I am a lover of minimalism, and the art of omission is just part of my work.

In the meantime I’m getting excited again. Web design is fun, but I want to add a more meaningful contribution to society. Something that my children will soon be proud of. I do not know exactly what it will be. In any case, I have been playing with the idea of an Online Inspiration Platform for a while. It’s named SHIFT Inspiration.

SHIFT Inspiration

Burnouts and relationship problems

t has struck me for about twenty years now, that many people are running around all day long. First to the daycare, then to work, then to the store, quickly back to the daycare, in between back home for a minute to enjoy a microwave meal, and finally an hour of exercising in the gym.

Oh yes, and of course email needs to be checked in the evening. Preferably in bed.

When you talk to these people, it turns out that they often have only one incentive. Money. To repay the mortgage from the house, to pay the loan of both cars, to finance the daycare, to book the weekend to Ibiza, and to replace the OLED with a QLED. Serious.

Young people, even teenagers, seem to go along with this stream. Depression at a young age is quite normal. I think because young people want to behave according to expectations of others. Even though they may have created these themselves. In this way they lose contact with themselves, and do everything except what their passion is.

Turn it around

It will not surprise you that I am enthusiastic about people who dare to change course. Michelle is a good example of this. She is a master of law. After her studies she had a burnout at the office. Lack of inspiration. She needed to look for her passion. She found it at a care farm, with people with intellectual disabilities. Trust me, since she works there she is happier than ever. No office job can do that.

In the same way I know a system administrator who started a care organization. And not too long ago I heard from a bank manager who became a forester.

Wow, how neat is that!

Source of inspiration

All these people have one thing in common: afterwards they would rather have made the decision much earlier. That’s just too bad.

What would it be like if I create an online platform where all these inspiring stories can come together? Think of interviews with people who gave up their money, their career and all their certainties, just to follow their passion.

I want to show that it is possible.

Maybe with a web store. Where one can buy posters, with stimulating statements from interviewees. Part of the proceeds goes to charities. I am thinking of One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization that plants trees for every product that you sell. What do I have to lose?

Welcome to SHIFT Inspiration!

Gate of the Mergelland

My base is Simpelveld, The Netherlands. After several wanderings (I lived in Boxtel, Nijmegen, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Geldrop and Heerlen), I ended up here: the Gate of the Mergelland. Simpelveld is a village in South Limburg, from where it is great to walk and cycle. I regularly go out by foot, together with Michelle, Selma and Toby.

On my bike, I prefer to be alone. I put on my cycling clothes, and ride to death. With pleasure! In June 2013 I bought a racing bike for the first time, and since then I am addicted. Hopefully I will not get rid of it anymore: it brings me a lot of positive energy. Just like kickboxing, by the way. I’ve been doing that for two years now. Thought it might help me, one day. In case I meet a bunch of rats again 😉

Cheers,
Marc Bijl

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