The war between the “work from anywhere, travel the world, be your own boss creatives and the 9-5pm hustlers of the corporate world needs to end. Here’s why.
The Creative Side
How many times have you read a blog post, instagram caption, or website “About Page” of someone glorifying how they escaped the barbaric and inhumane working conditions of the #cubiclelife?
They describe the heroic way they slammed their hands on the desk with a bang, screamed “f*%k you!!!” to every coworker that walked by them, bolted into the Board of Directors meeting throwing a pile of documents in the air, showering the CEO, CFO, and President with company letterhead lined paper yelling “PEACE MOTHERF*CKERS” in a real Bruce Willis Die Hard Yippee Ki-Yay kind of way. They then proceed to personally victimize everyone in the room, a string of verbal diarrhea that has festered inside them for years.
“Karen, I told you I liked your hair cut, but newsflash, it ain’t 1984 no mo’. Kevin, the email you hit ‘Reply All” on really WAS that bad. And Boss, I don’t actually have IBS, I just said that so I could hide in the bathroom playing Tetris on my phone without causing suspicion. I just beat my high score this morning.” Thank you and good night!!!!” *invisible mic drop*
Okay, so MAYBE most exits are a little more eloquent. Can you tell I’ve spent some time fantasizing about dramatic office departures? My point is, people that escape the 9-5pm life make a point of sharing the story, because it’s an integral piece to their puzzle and led them to where they are now. I say this because I’m no exception. When I quit my job in January 2017, I shared my story after escaping the trenches of dim lighting and rulebooks. Here’s why I chose to share a look into my decision.
My decision to choose a creative job over a corporate one
When I was working a steady full-time job, the stories of creatives following their passions inspired me. They caused me to think differently and invoked a thirst I knew I had to quench one way or another. How did those articles manage to do that? Because I was their target audience.
A trapped creative with a desire to live a life where I made the to-do lists, I set the boundaries, and a life where I was able to prioritize passion versus profit. I didn’t do well with a structured work week, talking to other humans all the time or completing detail-oriented tasks. My brain isn’t wired to succeed in that way.
Those stories of escape thrilled me and made me feel less alone. In a society where the norm is getting a steady job with a fixed income and benefits, a creative mind can be a lonely place. Those articles spoke to me.
The Corporate Side
However, if I was a person passionate about my corporate job, where the thrill of new accounts, healthy sales quarters, promotions, board meetings, and strategy sessions fired me up, I would read those articles and probably think “What kind of hippy, flowery bullshit is this?!” As Brené Brown put it, “You have fun with your A-R-T, I got a J-O-B.”
I read an article the other day about a girl who quit her successful job in New York City to move to Southeast Asia and pursue the joys of the nomadic lifestyle and a career that isn’t location dependant. And believe me, I ate up every word like a kindergartener does Paw Patrol. I think I even let out a few “YAASSSS girl!” ’s along the way as I read.
And then I read the comments. #neverreadthecomments. There was a full on war about creative jobs versus corporate ones. They screamed through CAPS LOCK about which lifestyle is more appropriate and which should be celebrated over the other. Amidst the nonsense, there was one comment that stood out to me in particular, which was the muse for this article.
“I think if women want to empower and support other women, then it’s important to support women who like their corporate jobs. I’m so tired of this over-romanticism of “wanderlust” and how “living off the grid” is just another cult trend.”
The woman has a point. I understand where she is coming from. She is proud of her career in the corporate world and feels it isn’t being valued. However, the article was not for her. She is happy and content in her job. The article was for people like me a few months ago that needed these “romanticized” stories of people with similar values sharing their experiences.
Accept other people’s versions of success
With 7 billion people in the world, shouldn’t it be obvious that people are going to have different ideas of success? Different ways to live our day to day? Different ways to express ourselves, live on our own terms, challenge ourselves? We should approach career and lifestyle choices the way we approach the idea of learning.
Some people are visual learners. Others learn by doing. Some can read it and remember it. Others need to hear it. The choice and the way in which we work effectively should be no different.
There is nothing wrong with a hot shot attorney that works 80 hour work weeks, if that in fact makes them happy and fulfilled. Same goes for the wandering traveller that sells candles made of amazonian rainwater and blogs about her journey along the way.
The argument between corporate jobs versus creative jobs comes down to ego. It doesn’t make sense because it is being fought by two vastly different human beings. When you put your ego aside, you have no need to justify, argue, or debunk others because you are confident and content with where you are at in life.
If you are pursuing your dreams and living a life you are proud of, there is no need to look down on someone for chasing the corporate ladder, or quitting their job to pursue other things. You also don’t need to feel ashamed or badly about choosing one over the other. You don’t need to pick a team to root for, or bet against the other side. If you are truly happy and fulfilled, you’ve already won the game.