The Problem With Quitting Your Job
(This is an excerpt from my upcoming book: The Creative’s Curse.)
Most people, at some point, will try and convince you to take what you’ve learned and soar. They’ll say you should shove away from that awful job and TAKE OFF LITTLE BIRD! Today’s culture is so entrepreneur-happy you’ve got business gurus on every corner telling you to screw the man and break free.
There’s a problem with that:
Making a living on your own — one that pays all the bills and feeds your wife and kids is very,
Throughout history, creative people have been underpaid. Just because there is more excess in the world than ever before and you read a blog post about making income online that magically lasts forever does not mean you are entitled nor should you expect to support your life on your art alone.
It wouldn’t be fair for me to suggest you risk everything and go it alone because
a) I don’t do that
b) you can learn a lot from other people
c) you might not have the business mindset it takes
d) being poor sucks and
e) life should not suck.
Here are a few reasons pimping out your art for “The Man” might not be so bad:
1. You get a paycheck
Remember the “being poor sucks” point?
2. Companies need creative people
Worse than ever, as it turns out. Computers can do any job. Any job except coming up with ideas.
3. Every artist needs something to push against
My current boss and I have an understanding — When I create stuff for her, I’m not going to think about what’s “corporately accepted.” I’m going to include inappropriate jokes and essentially be as wild as I can. That way, when the edits come back and she pulls me in, the project winds up at a happy medium.
If I don’t start in an absurd place, my work turns into bland snooze-a-thons.
Without an opposing force, Creativity is nearly pointless. If all you do is create what people expect and enjoy, that’s not very Creative is it?
4. That paycheck gives you the ability to build something on the side
Again (have I said this enough yet?) I DO NOT WANT YOU TO BE A STARVING ARTIST. Whenever you work for someone, not only do they pay for you to get better, you can take those new skills and sell them to other people.
It’s a total racket.
Break the mindset that you only work at your “job.” Go on Fiverr. Rebrand a local company. Start a blog. Connect with people in your industry (another thing that’s hard to do on without the structure of a 9–5).
5. Build your escape plan
With the magic paycheck comes a temptation of complacency. Do not allow it to lull you to sleep.
This blog post I wrote about selling your soul is a good place to start research on this, but a Creative is nothing if she’s not dreaming of the next big thing. Always be considering your skills and who could benefit them next.
Remember, a full time job isn’t a death sentence.
But a cage is.
Thanks for reading! Tell me how you balance freelance work with a “real job” in the responses down below.