Career vs. Calling

If you’re lucky, your career and your calling are one and the same. However, despite all the advice on bookstore bookshelves and daytime talk shows to follow your bliss and get down to the business of starting your own rock quarry, mail-order marshmallow shop or edible book emporium, most of us hold down day jobs we feel we can’t afford to leave behind. The barrier might be a psychological one in some cases, but in most I’d bet it’s a financial one: it’s hard to see how you’d get by on a diminished salary (if you’re on your own) or on just one (if you’re in a couple).

I was in that boat until February. Having held increasingly well-compensated jobs for twelve years, it was hard to imagine how we’d do if I left my salary behind so that I could get down to the business of doing what we think I was meant to do instead (be a writer, that is). In my case, the push came in stages over a couple of years: a six-month break before my last job, concern about moving into that job when I took it (since it was so similar to the previous one), mounting distress that the position wasn’t what we’d hoped, and so on.

The same week I left my job, 30% of my company was laid off. Granted, it’s a different thing to plan to leave and do so voluntarily, and to be suddenly escorted out of the building, but in both cases you wake up the next morning with a different kind of day ahead of you. What are you going to do now?

Marc Colucci made a documentary about what some of the 70,000 laid-off creatives from the advertising field have done with their unplanned freedom. I hope the feature is as inspiring as the preview: “I got laid off and I started doing my life’s work.” Hooray freedom!

(thanks Molly)

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Categories: News, Nuisance, Miscellany

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