Monday I started a new job. After working three years for a small company that exploded into one of the largest e-commerce sites on the internet, it was time for me to move on. When I started working at my old company, I knew almost nothing about IT, or the role I’d be filling. This was not something I went to school for, or ever envisioned myself doing. It was something I fell into, only because I needed a job, and a good friend of mine who was a valuable employee recommended me. Thanks to the chance his company took on me, I was able to learn skills that are worth a lot of money. These skills are what led me to the job I have now. One at an even larger company. It’s a job that is demanding, difficult, and high stress.
But, it’s a job that is paying me more money than I ever anticipated earning.
Driving home from work today, exhausted, I thought about the strange place that I am in right now. For the first time in my life, I don’t have to worry about money. That girl who grew up knowing her parents loved her, but couldn’t afford to buy her the things her friends had, now has the money to buy what she wants.
Within a couple months, my credit cards will be paid off. Within the year, my student loans. I’ll finally be able to replace my eleven year old car. I forgot when payday was, for the first time since I began working 12 years ago.
If I was someone who was working towards the American dream of getting a good job, working hard, and making a lot of money, my mission would be accomplished. All before 30.
But while I’m very grateful for my job, I’m struggling with my dream. My dream that doesn’t involve making lots of money, but making a difference with my writing. A dream that I can’t seem to make a reality, no matter how hard I work towards it.
I find myself in a difficult place. I’m so grateful for where I am financially. But I’m terrified that three, six, ten, twenty years will go by with me working towards a dream that’s never been mine. But I have no idea though how to make my dreams happen, because I am not the one in charge of their future. Agents are in charge. Publishers are in charge. And the rejections I have received so far have given me their resounding answer.
No. Or at least “Not yet.”
At what point do I give up, and let this dream die? Or do I keep working towards it, until eventually, someone says yes? Working hard at my “day job” (which is bleeding into nights) in the meantime? This is the place I find myself in, without any clear answers.
The one thing I can find solace in at this point is that this struggle is not unique. I know I am not alone, and that I am blessed to have a job at all, let alone one that pays me enough to not have to worry about money.
So fellow writer friends/artists, how do you deal with the struggle between work and your dream? Have you ever felt like it was time to give up? What keeps you going?