I have a reputation in my circle of friends as a “fun vampire”.
I swoop in on wings of realism and just suck the magic out of everything. Go on, give me a topic, any topic. I’ll leach everything you’ve ever loved from it, and bake salted caramel brownies with a reduction of your tears.
Resistance is futile, and I can present 11 paragraphs +a works cited page why.
One subject I usually always have a bone to pick with is self-help, especially where advice on how to follow your professional dreams is concerned. And sure, I sound like the Grinch, but there are aspects of this expectation of being able to “follow your bliss” that I really can’t stomach.
I’ve seen the volumes and volumes of articles and books and inspirational macro-images about how ‘if you don’t work on your dreams, you’ll work building someone else’s’. Speaking as someone that doesn't exactly own the means of production at her own job, that’s a really narrow minded and hurtful sentiment. What would that even be as a writer...stock in WordPress? I digress.
Check out this cute comic from one of my favorite nerds, Kevin Bolk:
See the point being made there?
We all know full and completely well that no one wakes up with dreams of unclogging sewage, but not only do several thousand someones the world over have to, it’s more than a little demeaning to imply that they’ve failed somehow.
We NEED people in unglamorous jobs, believe it or not. Our world as we know it would literally stop, and stop violently without this work.
Great smile, right?
She’s laughing, thinking of how everyone pointing her out to their kids as a bad example would literally drown in dead plants and litter after one week of her taking off. Y’all ever slipped on a pile of uncleared leaves on the sidewalk? That’s how you land yourself in urgent care, let me tell you.
And speaking of care? There’s no better feeling than knowing you can pay your bills. Massage therapists notwithstanding, there’s only so much a scented candle and a deep rub will do if you’re going back home to ‘Final Notice’ letters on the coffee table because you're holding out for something you don't actually need. Lara Witt and Cameron explore that a little more in this great interview that’s been helping me whenever I sacrifice my Sunday nail-doing in order to re-organize yet another box of April B essentials.
So honestly, if you’re working an admin, manual labor, food services, or other unsexy gig, and you’re feeling like you’re not living up to your potential just due to the nature of your profession? Take solace in the fact that not only are you and your job necessary and 100% valid, but also that there are people with a vested interest in making sure that you feel perpetually miserable about not being something you aren’t.
DISCLAIMER: If you’re unhappy in your work because it’s actually draining you, hurting you, underpaying you or otherwise making your life worse despite the check, none of this applies to you, and I’m so sorry that you’re going through it! Also, you deserve better, and I love you.
I personally take comfort in knowing that although I don’t OWN the publication I work for, I’m not personally suited to the the realities of of running a business, nor my other childhood dreams of dancing professionally and being a marine biologist—just like I’m not suited to meditation that requires you to stay still. And forcing myself into thinking that I NEEDED to work in a top-tier family-dinner-humblebrag worthy position or I’ve let myself down lead to a lot of unnecessary wasted time feeling negatively about how I was doing in life. Mostly while I was trying to meditate.
And just like I'm not suited to certain things, maybe you aren't either! If you've been reading this and getting irritated at how I seem to be suggesting complacency, take a deep breath and then shoot for your dreams! I'm the last person that's going to tell you not to go after what you want. This is more about making sure that you're not uncomfortable just for the sake of not being somewhere that's going to elicit 'Ooohs and ahhhs' from anyone you give your business card to. Even NASA needs office managers. And that's 100% okay.