Realistic or Imaginative Career

Guy with an AccordianSometimes I’ve thought, wouldn’t it be cool to be like the Dos Equis beer guy, “The most interesting man in the world.”  To travel and find buried treasure and smoke cigars in a boat with hot women and have a mom with a tat that says “son”.  What exactly does this guy do for a living?  But he’s the most interesting man in the world, he’s too cool to work a boring job.  Like those guys that travel the world climbing K2 and Mt. Everest, they’re just too interesting to work regular jobs like you and me.

Back when I used to spend all day playing computer games there was this fantasy game where I did the usual killing monsters and getting treasure thing.  So I walked into town with my guys all pimped out in + armor and weird mage robes and in between walking into houses invited and searching through their stuff I talked to this regular guy that just said, “You people and your adventuring, why don’t you go get regular jobs like everyone else?”

I remember one time I met a hippie couple that played bagpipes and did ren fairs and that sort of thing.  I kept up on their blog when they toured the country in their volkswagon van.  I wanted to at least read it, because I was jealous, since I was stuck at home with my boring warehouse job.  But then I also read about all their car troubles and being out of money.  After all this was real life.  And so I saw the pros and cons.  Was it worth it to pursue dreams?  You decide.

So we have two paths, the imaginative career path and the realistic career path.  The “imaginative” sounds exciting, but can also imply flakiness.  “Realistic” is practical, and yet can be cynical.  How about we make the compromise.  You can think of the realistic as the means to the end.  You have to pay the bills somehow, but when you leave the door open for the imaginative it keeps you wrestling, asking the tough questions, not “safe”.  When you shut that door you’ve essentially given up, and though you might have money and neat toys, but you can end up cynical, not alive like you once were.  It can help lead to the mid-life crisis, and later an old grump.

Tell me is a “career guide” gonna tell you what the purposes of your heart are?  If you dedicate your life to a corporation are you pursuing your dream or someone else’s dream?

Growing up I wanted to be a musician.  But people around me said it’s hard to make a living in that.  For some reason I kept wavering between what people around me said I was supposed to do and what I really wanted to do.  After getting my associates in music I spent years working low-end jobs and asking hard questions.

But I finally found purpose and confidence and decided to go pursue a career my way.  Go be creative and market myself.  I was working two low-end jobs at different parts of the day and having trouble going after it, so I quit one of them when the store closed, which I felt was an open door for me.  I keep one part-time job to keep some income and benefits coming in.  And so that’s where I am right now.  Will it work?  We’ll see.  I seem to have all kinds of prophetic words from different sources and parts of life that are pointing this direction, and so that gives me confidence, as well as having mentors and a support group and a great church.  And the important thing is that I did it, regardless of consequences.

So I know there’s many people asking the similar questions.  How do I make a living when my talents don’t fit what the world calls “practical”?  I do have some news for you.  From studying creative business books and websites lately, what I’m learning is how we’re entering into a conceptual age where creativity and meaning is what sells.  Companies can’t outsource or program creativity and so creative types will be in demand if they can be work well with the companies.  Entrepreneurs and private companies can also succeed even in today’s economy if they can learn the ins and outs.

Your family and friends might not understand.  “What flaky business pursuit is he gonna try next?” “Where’s she gonna travel now?”,”Get a real job.”, etc.  Don’t be angry, just know this is what you have to do.  Spend less time with the doubters (if not cutting them off completely) and find positive influences.  Doubters like to use words like “can’t”.  Many have either not pursued their own dreams or gave up after being hurt and so it’s easier for them and they can influence others as well.  But the truth is you don’t know for sure unless you try.  Try it at least once.  Put yourself out there and find out.

First of all make sure you’re good at what you do and have something that society wants at least in one niche.  Get some kind of schooling.  Then after schooling, if you have debt you’ll need to get that paid.  Cut back, and do what you need to do to get through, even if that means eating top ramen for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT suggesting a starving artist mindset.  It’s only a means to an end.  Dave Ramsey can help you get the budget in order while you set up and figure it all out.

I’m not one that would suggest forget practicality.  I would suggest make a compromise that would enable making some type of living for now and yet keep pursuing your dreams step by step.  Get a part-time job, find inexpensive housing etc.  And work your butt off.

If you don’t have a church, finding one will help you get anchored and help you line up your dreams with God’s will along with others.  Get plugged in and serve.  Don’t be a freeloader.  There’s an element of faith in what you’re doing as well.  And I hear messages of giving to to receive in the secular business world as well as the church.  I’ve even heard of business owners that never set foot in a church and yet find a church to tithe to, because they understand the principle.

Grow yourself in every way you can, physically, mentally, spiritually.  Learn to be social as well as computer savvy as you might need to market yourself or find contacts both online and offline.  It’s 2012 guys, and trust me I’m rather behind in technology too, but I’m learning.

If you have a family all this might be hard, but not impossible.  Are there any non-essentials you can cut out?  Are you really pursuing dreams even in baby steps?  Perhaps you should crack open that imaginative door just a tiny bit.  I know of quite a few guys my age that have kids and are frustrated that they can’t pursue their creative dreams freely.  It’s that imaginative door they left open a crack.  It always lingers, no matter how busy we get.  It’s tough, and I feel fortunate in some ways for my own situation.

Inspiring, huh?  Hey, don’t quit your dayjobs guys.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  Whether you make a lot or hardly anything, don’t be stuck forever in the ratrace, but don’t be stupid either.  Take the small risks and little uncomfortable steps.  Find the compromise between the imaginative and the realistic.

Now go be interesting!

Category: Dreams and Goals |

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