So, really: If I do what I love, will the money follow?
November 6, 2006 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I recently left my comfortable position in a safe, nonprofit enclave to try the big bad corporate world and see if I could make a go of it. Three months in, the fit is pretty lousy. Ah, but I think I know what I really want to do. And yet, should I give the new place more time to see if things improve? What's that? Yes, or course, there's ...

I had been in nurturing nonprofit environments for nearly a decade when I started to get the itch to challenge myself. So now I'm doing marketing work at a professional services firm's where marketing is heinously misunderstood and where the administrative staff is scared to death of making mistakes for fear of being set upon by the firm's partners. The B.S. factor is extraordinarily high, and I do not at all feel as if I'm contributing a damn thing to society.

I think I can hack the work, but I don't thrive waking up at 2 a.m. with my stomach in a knot. The new job has had one beneficial effect, though: I think it's finally convinced me that what I want to do is pursue my passion of freelance writing and editing. I've done it part-time for years, and I have clients who have told me they'd give me more work. But I've never had the stones to chuck it all, stop working for The Man, and go out fully on my own. I'm starting to realize that you really do get just one go-round here on this ol' planet, and why not spend the working life doing what I truly love to do?

The caveat: I've taken jobs before, many years ago, where I felt this same sense of dread ... but which became more palatable as I got used to them.

So ... Just looking for the hive mind's insights here. I know that there are big risks as well as potential big rewards, and I know sometimes you have to face your worst situations to come out better on the other end. Would like to hear what you guys think of my situation; and if you've gone through a similar situation yourself, how did you cope? What did you do? Many, many thanks in advance.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I dunno, man. A lifelong dream is a lifelong dream. If you really think you could make a living doing what you love, then why does it matter that your third choice might improve until it's only your second choice?
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:12 PM on November 6, 2006

You sound like you think you've learned as much from this job as you can and are now thinking you might come to hate it less. That's not a reason to stick it out.

What is a reason to stick it out is if you can get more contacts or solidify your position while you get your freelance life up and running. If I learned one important thing from my life working for myself it was "don't quit your day job one second sooner than you have to."

If you can start taking those gigs before you leave this job, do it. Line things up, start the pipeline flowing and bank for the lean times. Because sooner or later there'll be lean times.
posted by phearlez at 2:31 PM on November 6, 2006

When I quit my corporate job years ago and went out my own, I had a great time. It was very satisfying to be my own boss. The negative for me was the ups and down in income - I'd be thrilled one week and in the dumps the next. I eventually took another corporate job, but have no regrets. Try to have some savings so you're not living from check to check.
posted by richg at 5:31 PM on November 6, 2006

The only reason you posted this question is to get people to encourage you to do what you already know you want to do.

So do it.
posted by ook at 5:36 PM on November 7, 2006

On reflection, I should add: not that there's anything wrong with that.

Going freelance is scary, but not nearly as scary as trying to stick it out at a job you hate. I went solo about seven years ago and never looked back; best decision I ever made.

Make sure you've got a few months' living expenses in the bank, and I'd strongly encourage you to find your first freelance gig before you quit, so you're not stuck with that ohmygodijustquitmyjobnowwhatthehellamigonnado feeling on day one. It can take a while to get started, but it gets easier the longer you stick at it; people start to know who you are and jobs start coming to you instead of the other way around.

Seriously, what's the worst that could happen? Freelancing doesn't work out and you wind up having to take another job that you don't like very much. If the worst that could happen is where you are right now, well, the choice is obvious.

This is me encouraging you. Go do it.
posted by ook at 8:35 PM on November 7, 2006

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