I work in a somewhat creative environment now… It’s not the dream job, but it’s real solid experience with a few great opportunities to get creative.
I’m a copywriter for an advertising agency that markets automotive dealerships and their products.
It’s the first full time opportunity I’ve had to actually write creatively (sometimes) and get paid.
My ultimate goal would be to write kids books, or for a sitcom or TV show… but everyone has to start somewhere.
Being in a creative environment like this, I have the added benefit of being surrounded by other creative type people, which is great. Being around other writers really helps me hone my own creative abilities.
But, it’s also kind of sad…Grounding, in a way.
One of my coworkers (we’ll call him Steven) is a Comedian and a screenwriter. Or at least he used to be. Steven had dreams of writing movies, and cartoons, and then producing them. He spent a lot of time pursuing those dreams, working as a bar tender to supplement his income, doing standup comedy routines, and writing, writing, writing. Pitching pilots to ABC and other stations. He was after it.
Then, Steven found love, and that took first place in his life for a while, as love often does. He got married and moved to the sunshine state, where he lives now. He and his wife decided that they wanted to have a baby, so, he got a regular job at an advertising agency in order to make a more steady income, and gain experience.
As time wore on, Steven started feeling very frustrated by the office environment, as us creatives often do. It stunted his creativity, and squeezed him dry of the energy he once had to work on his scripts and his pitches and his comedy.
Now their baby is here, and their need for a steady income is more real than ever before.
He feels exhausted and tapped out. He feels like there’s no escape. Now, his wife stays home with the baby, and he is solely responsible for making sure that the bills are paid and that their mouths are fed…
This is something that really scares me… Settling for a decent job that pays the bills… Feeling trapped by the monotony of office life until I retire…. Being forced into it even more by making the decision to have children… Loosing my passion and my spark for creativity…. Saying goodbye to my dreams….
I don’t want to end up like Steven.
This is a great job and it’s giving me the experience and the steady income that I need, but it’s meant to be temporary. Until my husband and I have the money we need to build or buy a house. Until we have a savings that is secure enough for me to cut back to part time work, and focus on my creative goals…
No body likes working. But my generation was raised to believe that we could. We were told that we could be whatever we wanted to be, and that as long as we loved what we did we wouldn’t work a day in our lives.
So then why are there so many of us without jobs? Why are there so many of us working part time? Why are there so many of us who have yet to become what we set out to be?
And why is it so disappointing when you find that what you wanted to be isn’t all it was cracked up to be?
I’m a writer, and I love that. But I don’t write in the way that I always dreamt I would. And getting there is not an easy task. Going to college and getting a degree in creative writing doesn’t guarantee that I will make it as novelist, or screenwriter. Hell, for many people, it doesn’t even mean they’ll make it was a writer in any form or fashion. I was really lucky to land this job. And it took years of working toward it to actually get here. And after all that, it’s still not a dream come true.
I feel like I’m starting to get off track a little, so lets bring it back in…
I want to make a promise to myself. A promise that I am not going to give up. I’m not going to settle, or sell out. I’m going to keep chasing my dreams. Keep following my heart. Keep going after what I want in life, without letting life get in the way.
Because I don’t want to be like Steven. He isn’t happy. He has a wonderful wife, and a beautiful daughter… but he doesn’t get to spend any time with them because of this job. He doesn’t get to continue chasing his dreams without sacrificing even more time with them. He is a slave to the 40+ hour workweek. Chained to his desk. Fighting to keep his head above the water, just to get a glimpse at the good things he has.
As for following his dreams? Well, that could mean holding his breath for really long time before he ever gets to leave the water.
I have dreams, and I want to achieve them. And to me, having a family that I never get to see is not worth giving up those dreams over.
I have a wonderful husband, whom I love, that’s all I need for now. I don’t want to get lost in life, and I don’t intend to.
And maybe one day, if and when my dreams are achieved, I’ll start thinking about planning a family.
Until then, I’m going to keep enjoying the free time that I have, and furiously chasing my dreams.
Thanks for the wake up call, Steven.