Thursday, 2 July 2015

Safe employment or following your passion

If I had the option, I think I'd rather be writing and acting for my career, rather than working on software. It's not that I don't like software, it's just that the other things appeal to me more and, in the end, I know it is possible for people to make a living doing them. The real question is whether I, personally, could make a living writing and acting. And of course, the longer I wait, and the more time I spend writing software instead of fiction, the more time I'm not spending getting better at my craft. If it takes ten years of dedicated effort to become a sellable writer, and I'm only half-committed to it, then it's going to take me twenty years to get good enough for publishers to notice. The same kind of argument goes for acting.

I could just quit and focus on writing and acting. That's a scary thought, though, because the amount of money I've made from them, in total, so far in my life, is not enough to buy dinner for two. If our mortgage payments rely on me making money at writing and acting, I predict a rapid descent into despair and homelessness. That might be an irrational fear, but I know the money is a real risk.

I saw Jim Carrey encourage a graduating class to follow their dreams by saying that you can still fail at what you hate, so you might as well do what you love. The trick is, sometimes what you love is a much bigger risk than the other option. That's why they call it the safe choice, the stable career. Sometimes you will lose your job as an accountant or as a software developer, but as a writer and actor, you are defined by unemployment, with brief periods of work. That is a life of never-ending risk and work-seeking, and I get exhausted enough looking for one job every couple of years after my various contracts run out or my employers go through rounds of redundancy.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Unemployment is fun only for about three days.
PPS - Or maybe up to two weeks.

No comments: