My life came to a small crossroad over the last two weeks. Our three children went back to school after a too-long summer break (I pretended to be a stay-at-home-dad for a few months.) That brought me to a choice- do I take a full-time job at the company I’ve been working for since January, or do I focus on writing, starting a running class, and doing freelance social media consulting?
It’s a classic “traditional” versus “creative” career choice. It’s a choice many of us will face at least once in our lives. We can take the safer, more predictable traditional route, or we can throw caution to the wind and take the more adventurous creative route.
The smartest thing to do would be to do both. You know, the “don’t quit your day job” thing. I could work the traditional job for forty hours a week, then work the creative shit before and after work and a little on the weekends.
Unfortunately I’m a little bitch when t comes to creativity. I tried the “do both” route from January to about May. My writing during that time, quite frankly, sucked. In fact, it’s still nowhere as good as I’d like. The regular job robbed me of the time for introspection needed to mentally compose ideas. Unlike more talented writing friends, my thoughts don’t just flow like diarrhea during a rotovirus outbreak. I need time, damn it!
I weighed the pros and cons of each:
Pros of the traditional job:
- Predictable hours, set schedule
- Steady income
- Health benefits, retirement plan, paid vacation
- Excellent opportunity to move up the corporate ladder
- Relatively easy work, can mentally “coast”
- Be part of a team of pretty cool cats
Cons of traditional job:
- Very little challenge
- Unspectacular pay scale, doesn’t get too much better with advancement
- Would involve working in a retail environment
- Would cut into my mma training/ exercise routine
- Getting kids to and from school will become a challenge
- No schedule flexibility
- Feel like a cog in a giant machine
Pros of creative job:
- Excellent creative outlet and accompanying fulflment
- Opportunity to help people on a personal level
- Almost limitless flexibility to do as I please
- No boss, ergo no busy work
- No real limit to income potential
- More time with Shelly and the kids
Cons of creative job
- Lack of “guaranteed” income, benefits, or vacation
- Greater risk
- Less interaction with people
- More difficult work
- High cost for failure
After making the lists, the decision was obvious. I have to take the creative route.
It’s the same choice I made when Shelly and I decided to leave teaching to travel the country in an RV, and it led to an amazing adventure. To date, I’ve never regretted taking the unconventional route.
How about you? Have you ever been in a similar position? What was the outcome? If you haven’t been in a similar position, what would you do if you were?
Tell us in the comments section!