I completely understand the irresistible siren call of these jobs. But after spending multiple years with students, I can see how their impulsive need race towards measurable accomplishment insidiously infiltrates their decision-making as soon as they step foot in the door. They think they are being strategic and shrewd. But they are also conforming to the least common denominator of the definition of success.
New York revises itself, constantly. It prepares us for what the world does: Revises itself, constantly. Takes things out, and puts things in. The world takes away everything we have, and never offers a guarantee that something new will come to take its place. We simply have to revise ourselves. We can never go back to the world we had. We have to become the people who can live in the world we get.
Kids I knew called themselves artists, and waited for it to happen to them — waited for their future selves to drop out of the sky, finished and perfect. But art is not an event. Art is work. And great artists, geniuses, are the people who work harder than anyone else. David Bowie worked so hard it could seem superhuman; he was working, we now know, on his deathbed. Even when he got in serious trouble with cocaine, dwindled down to 90 pounds and started crying in public and thinking the Devil lived in his swimming pool, it was in part because he needed, or wanted, to work more than was humanly possible: “I hate sleep,” he said. “I would much prefer staying up, just working, all the time. It makes me so mad that we can’t do anything about sleep or the common cold.”