Quick note: Yes! Everything is supposed to look lighter! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a question circle around social media: Is it better to tolerate a stressful, less fulfilling job that pays well or to abandon the security of that position for a lower-paying, probably menial job that brings you less stress and more time for yourself? For this blog, we could ask is it better to quit that stressful, draining job for a menial, low-paid task that gives you more time and creative freedom to write?
Is it better to be happy and uncertain or stable and secure?
This post is the long answer of “happy and uncertain.” Next Thursday’s post is the long answer of “stable of secure.”
Sacrificing Material for Immaterial
“Why I Quit My High-Paying Job to Be Happy”
“I Left a Huge Paycheck to Do a Menial Task for Much Less Pay, But I’m Happier: Here’s How You Can Do the Same”
“How I Stopped Doing [INSERT CORPORATE JOB HERE] to Do [WRITE/ARTS/EAT ICE CREAM/TRAIN DINOSAURS]”
I, as a Millennial, see three or four articles a month about how Millennials are quitting their stressful, corporate job for a less stressful position. Or how we’re choosing flexible hours over a 8-5 workday.
And I’m tempted. I remember scooping ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery or working a simple customer service job that didn’t drain my mind so much that it takes days just to finish a character outline. I remember the flexible working hours that come with part time and freelance jobs (and college), which would let me write during the morning (when I do my best writing).
Graduating from college was supposed to give me the time and freedom to write. Instead, I work to pay bills, student loans, and activities to relieve the stress I get from working for more hours than I spend sleeping. By the time I come home, I’m exhausted mentally and physically. There are days when I wonder if this is why I got the degrees that I did, and if maybe I made a mistake.
Writing is what I want to do with my life and I’m good at it. I could be better, but I certainly don’t have the time or energy to take more classes with a fulltime job.
I think we, as a generation, are terrified of our lives becoming miserable repeats of our parents’ (this probably goes for any generation). We are terrified of being trapped in a job that eats up more than a third of our whole day, a job we don’t love and in which we find little or no meaning. A dull, boring, purposeless existence.
Enter social media, where we can see the interesting, if rare, lifestyles of successful artists and entrepreneurs who bucked the traditional workday. Not only do they showcase their success but they tell us about how happy they are doing what they love. They’re musicians, artists, writers, inventors, freelancers, etc. They’re usually successful enough that they are also at least modestly wealthy.
We can be just like them.
You, reading this, if you’re not already one of those people, you can be. Why do you think I started this blog? I want a record of my track to success for my future biographer. 😉
Now, you can’t just up and quit without a decent financial safety net, a solid plan (or three). You need to know how you’re going to sustain yourself on your writing. Are you going to blog? Write an e-book?
What about freelance? Guest blogging, article writing, etc.? What qualifications do you have that might convince someone to let you write for them or edit for them?
Because, let me tell you, two degrees in anthropology and a blog that four people regularly read is not enough.
But more on that later…
Not only do you need a real-world plan but you need the drive. Does quitting your job sound good only when you read about other people doing it? Then maybe it’s just a whim.
Perhaps the most important question is: Do you really want to write full time?
Do you even write part time? Are you a disciplined writer? If you’re considering writing as a career, you can make these happen (if you haven’t done so, already).
It can be done and a brief Google search proves it. Hundreds of people have left their jobs for successful writing careers because they had the motivation, the marketing skills, the papers, and the plan.
Love what you do and do what you love. There is no other way to live.