Monday, December 5, 2011

Hark, a Quandry!

The good news: I got a job offer! The bad news: I don't want the job.

Yes, I am being a spoiled brat. Or at least I feel like one. I chose to get degrees in art and writing; what else do I want? It's hard to look at my friends who have graduated and have jobs they love; hard to look at friends who are in my field and going on to do things that I wish I was doing - it leaves me feeling like I'm slipping behind, and I can't see a clear path to joining them.

One of my friends who is succeeding in the art field, upon hearing that I was fired, told me, "F*** the nine-to-fives. You'll find something you love." Another friend, upon hearing that I had gotten a job offer, suggested I go ahead and take it, then keep looking for what I really want, thus "hedging my bets" in order to make sure I don't find myself in the panic I was in about three weeks ago. My grandmother told me a story about how when she moved to New York, things had gotten so desperate she was ready to take just about any job, and so when she got a chance to be a honey demonstrator at Altman's Department Store, she leaped for it, and her choice ended up putting her in exactly the right spot at the right time for her to move to her ideal job.

For me, I had started to think that maybe my moment had already arrived - that through this route riddled with twists and turns and potholes, I might actually have found myself at a point where I could finally start building my art practice. Last week, I embarked on a graphic design commission for a state legislature candidate, and I was starting to think of what small pieces I could make to market in local art shops. Now, according to this rather brilliant article on, getting a "day job" is hardly the end to doing all of that. Here's my favorite bit:
Some people get hired straight into writing because they were smart enough to do the "find out what you really want to do and work at it utterly" thing in college, which is what college is for. The rest of us simply work two jobs, where the second is unpaid for a long time.
This means that you're pouring all your free time into writing, work that matters to you, instead of spending it in an endless parade of distractions to forget the next day's early start. You keep doing this until you're earning as much from the writing as you were from your old job, then you reward yourself by taking a 50 percent pay cut by going full time and betting "I can work twice as hard as I have been doing just to earn as much as I was."
Okay, Luke McKinney, writer for - let's say I can do what you did, and start this new job while still building on my "real" job. Where is my guarantee? What if I can't make it? What job do I take then? But I know there can't be a guarantee, and I know I can't wait for someone to tell me the future before I make a decision.

I also know that on Saturday, when I cracked open an abandoned fortune cookie left behind by one of my coworkers, the fortune inside directed me to, "Take advantage of an opportunity that will present itself this coming week." Maybe I should listen.

Never mind the words
"Help! I'm trapped in a fortune cookie factory!"
scrawled on the opposite side.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck making a decision!! And then good luck with whichever path you decide to take!