Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters
socratic

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You've got to fight for your right to parlay (your love into a career)

I read an article today about how pursuing your bliss is a losing proposition for most people. I'm not going to link to it because I think it's terrible and pernicious, but interested sorts can go to MSN.com to check it out. It pointed out that getting into the glamorous fields like entertainment or sports, or "prestige" fields like law or non-profit work (which isn't so much prestige but definitely gives people non-monetary satisfaction) can be difficult and harrowing. It goes on to say that people in these fields are making less money, being treated worse by their bosses, and are not necessarily more happy than people in non-glamor fields like marketing for non-glamorous products or accounting. I know that it's damned hard to find work in an exciting field, thanks to incredible competition, and that this can be very stressful. I finally landed a position in film today, I'll be working part time as an office assistant for $10 an hour, and while I'm very happy about this it was a long time coming. That's with a few contacts and a mother who was willing to support me financially while I looked for work. It's far from easy to even get your foot in the door. I know that well.

The thing is, I think this guy is dead wrong when it comes to the effect of following your bliss on human happiness. I think he's right for some people, if what you want is a middle class life (whatever that means these days) and a sense of satisfaction in your work then a glamor position is probably not the way to go. People find happiness in a lot of different ways, and for many people you might be happier with lots of responsibility and good pay working for a nice boss in a boring industry than working for little pay and being treated like shit in a more glamorous one. In that case I say go for it. There's nothing wrong with selling high-chairs and diapers. It can even be satisfying work if you believe the product is good. If what you care about is family and free time and maybe a hobby or two than live that way. It's probably not worth the extra work and hassle to try for something else.

On the other hand I know myself and I know I have a burning need to express myself. I know that I want to hone my ability to communicate and to communicate with a relatively large audience. I know that when I was pursuing a more stable and certain career path I was fairly miserable and had little hope for the future. I know that since I made the decision to pursue writing and directing, struggling though I have been, I've been so much happier than I was that it's impossible to express it in words. You may not see it in this journal where I still put down bad moods almost out of habit (and because I tend to write best when I'm feeling bad) but those who know me have definitely noticed it. I like and care about my life now. I feel tremendous satisfaction when I write something good, even if other people don't really like it. It's been a profound transformation and to suggest that I abandon my dreams and pursue auto-repair or non-innovative entrepreneurship is laughable. The sad thing is that I might have bought in to it 6 months ago and I'm sure people are buying into it now. That makes me sad. Don't do it.

The thing about happiness is that the recipe is different for everyone. fakingsincerity wants a gorgeous wife with great knockers (okay technically he said "wonderful personality" but I think that's sensitive guy talk for "spectacular ta-tas") and some pretty blond kids. fumoffu wants to be a doctor and heal the sick (in between bouts of screwing his beautiful wife with sensational hooters, courtesy of a plastic surgeon friend. There may be a theme developing here.) We all have different dreams and should make our top priorities the focus of our lives. I know that pursuing writing and film might very well reduce my access to creature comforts and mean I have to work ludicrous hours for little pay. I'm okay with that. I'm happy when I'm moving in this direction and miserable when I'm not. It doesn't get simpler than that.

Being young and ambitious with little experience and no guarantees is damned hard.

Being young and resigned to living a life you don't want because it's practical?

That's tragic.
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