If Not Now, When?
Hello Decision Coach!
I have been seated at a crossroads for a while now and am looking for some perspective. I am caught between polar opposites of getting a full time job making money trying to build for the future or eschewing that path and doing what I think I am good at, which are creative endeavors with kids. I am under no delusion that I will ever make a large living creatively, but enjoy it immensely. I had a well paying job in the previous city I am living in, but it took me years to find that position. Needless to say, no one is knocking down my door trying to hire me for a day job. I do feel pulled in both directions on different days depending on circumstances, however I don’t know which path is the right path.
Choosing between the fulfilling job and the well-paid job is the plague of our times! For privileged people, that is. And it’s HARD – creative jobs that make us happy are also often precarious, poorly paid and difficult to sustain in the long run. That said, working a full-time job that you hate is also a recipe for disaster in terms of your long-term happiness and mental health. You don’t want to end up cutting Xanax into quarters and taking one every two hours just to get through the workday. Read on for my two cents.
Since you say that your efforts to find a “day job" haven’t been yielding any results, let’s switch direction. It’s time to dedicate that effort to finding something that fulfills you. Allot a certain amount of time (this will depend on your financial situation, but could be anywhere from a week to a month or longer) and really GO FOR IT. Email every contact you have, tell everyone you know that you’re looking for work, and re-write your resume so that it highlights your experience putting together amazing creative endeavors with kids. Is there someone you could assist, who is doing this kind of work already? Is there a training program or course available that might help you get a job in this area? Is there a local theater that needs to make money? You could offer to run a summer program for kids. Then, do a great job, get recommendations (in writing) from the parents, and put it front-and-center on your resume.
Also – it’s almost camp season. Are there camps for creative kids that need someone like you to help out? This could be a great way to get more relevant experience on your resume. Put together a sample program, one that you think kids would enjoy and that would ALSO appeal to parents, and send it to every local camp you can think of. In your spare time, keep following up those contacts! Networking is everything. Make people so sick of hearing from you that they’ll help you find a job just to shut you up.
Figure out how long you can spend pursuing this passion. Then give it your all for that amount of time. It’s never going to be easier than it is right now, you’re never going to be younger than you are right now, and the sooner you start developing a career path that you really want, the more likely it is that ten years from now you’ll be doing something you love and not wanting to chew your own arm off in a soul-destroying office job. Think to yourself: if not now, when?
The Decision Coach