Dream Jobs Aren’t For Everyone

Yeah. Maybe they aren’t.

And maybe there’s not a dream job for me.

Before I start to sound too let’s-all-feel-sorry-for-Teri-because-she’s-giving-up-her-dreams-to-become-extremely-bitter-and-cynical, let’s step back for a moment and let me explain.

I wouldn’t call it an epiphany exactly, a.k.a. this new outlook that I have. Maybe it will all go away in a few days and I’ll be back to the familiar floundering  and wallowing in the whole I-don’t-know-what-I-want-to-do-with-my-life mess that I’ve been in since before graduating from college. But this new outlook has stuck with me for 3 days now, and in my book, that’s one hell of a record.

My new outlook is this — I don’t think I want my living to be dependent on my creativity. At least, not in the way I always pictured my “dream job.” And when I thought about my dream job (which, by the way, what the hell does that mean anyway?) I always thought it would be doing something that, you know, I love. I love singing and acting and writing — but as soon as I really devoted my time to any one of those things, it became a chore. These things I loved so much started to make me miserable.

I had it in my mind to create a blog and grow it until it could earn me at least half of a living, but sitting down to write something 2-3 times a week feels like such a chore. And I love writing. So why was I always so miserable when the time came to write something new?

So I haven’t been writing here that much. And it’s making me feel guilty. But writing out of guilt does not produce good writing at all. And if this is my dream job, why do I feel so miserable doing it, when I don’t even do it that much?

Have I said the word “miserable” enough?

I’ve encountered a few things in these past few weeks that have helped steer me in this new direction. First, this video from The Financial Diet (an amazing blog to follow, especially if you’re a young person wanting to learn some really useful stuff about money management, jobs in the real world, and other important methods of being fiscally responsible). It’s an interview with a British writer, who just so happens to be a full-time nanny. She touches on this subject of using her creativity differently at her job vs. when she’s writing and how important it is for her to keep those two realms separate.

Then, I went to Minnesota this past weekend to visit some friends, who I found are feeling probably as equally as lost as I am. Strength in numbers, baby. But what got me thinking even more on this subject was a conversation I had with one of my friends who is in the process of reconsidering her own career path and how terrifying that is. Then, I found this video from Tessa Violet (most of my moments of clarity stem from other people putting into words what I cannot), which is a conversation between two young people talking about creative career paths. Around the 1:45 mark, her friend says, “I’m scared to have a goal because I’m scared that I’ll put loads of work in, get really close, and decide I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Nothing sucks more than realizing how disillusioned you’ve become with something you used to be so passionate about.

And so, like everything else in this post, I started thinking about the concept of the “dream job” because of a video I watched. This video to be exact. It’s from the Vlogbrothers channel, in which Hank Green doles out some difficult advice to swallow about living in the real world. There are some very lucky people in the world that have found something they enjoy so much they can do it over and over and over again until someone pays them to do it. But most people — the “normal majority” as I will now refer to it in my own head — doesn’t find that. In fact, the idea of the “dream job” is a relatively new concept in terms of the history of humanity. Therefore, to base our self-worth on our job is extremely messed up.

So that’s what’s been on my mind lately. I thought it could be helpful to some people.

Mostly, I’m just feeling this weird sort of freedom in the idea that I don’t have to subscribe to this notion of selling myself and my “art” and whatever this is that I’m doing, because that seems like a horrible way to live. Instead I can devote some time to finding ways to make my life look the way I want it to look — with a dog and a house and friends over on the weekends.

Getting a job and following your dreams don’t go hand it hand. I need to stop trying to force the two together.

It doesn’t feel cynical. It feels healthy.

(And maybe a bunch of you are thinking to yourselves, “Yeah, no shit, you dumbass.” And I appreciate that.)

 

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