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August 08, 2008



What the teacher probably should have said was that the career you choose should be the one you’d do for fun. Not free.

Fun doesn't mean free. It just means that if you enjoy doing something and can make a decent living with it then why do anything else?

Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive)


I wish you the best of luck with whatever choice you end up making.

I've been working for what was once a small company, and is now a thriving semi corporate environment. At first it was like a good episode of Cheers, now, it's a dog eat dog environment based on manipulation and misinformation; The type of place where you never get paid what you are worth until you are literally caught surfing job postings online. Then you get labeled "troublemaker" or "ingrate" So I think I have an idea of where you're coming from. Perhaps not since I have only been doing this for the past 5 years.

Having lived in the Chicago area for most of my young adult life, before moving to Michigan, I can appreciate a town like Naperville. Great place :)


Nice post! For whatever reason, I've been having a lot of those fantasies myself lately. I'm a corporate goon in IT at the moment but my mind seems to drift daily to things I'd love to do instead or just places I'd rather be. Like you, I like the people I work with and for, I just don't much care for the work I do. I'm a creative person and yet most of what I do is little more complex than shoveling coal into a train's boiler in those old western movies.

I think my idea writing retreat would be in the mountains. I'd live in a cabin, not a log cabin, though that would be neat, but a stone house - like it was part of the mountain itself; and every day I could peer through the woods and watch the sunrise light the mountains. The house would be simple, a couple good-sized windows, fireplace, bed, basic tables and chairs. All natural stuff though - no pressboard junk. There would be deep water running nearby - not so close or swiftly-flowing to be noisy and drown out the sounds of birds or wind but close enough that if I concentraited I could feel its rumble. I'd write most of the day except the morning and evening so I could hike. (Much like yours though: no bugs!) :)

The realistic escape is what I'm still working on. I think owning a tavern would be neat. Or maybe running my own tech business again (with more artsy / development stuff than maintaining things).

Best of luck in your reinvention!


@Jason - Not sure I believe that anymore either. *sigh* I'm beyond jaded and burned out. I've known some very talented artistic friends who turned their loves into careers and now they hate both. A couple don't even practice their craft outside of work anymore. One of them is very talented and I often find myself shaking my head at what a pity it is for them. There's such a heightened level of stress and angst everywhere in our society. That or I know a lot of workaholics like myself - birds of a feather flocking and so my perception is that this is the general situation.

@Wolf - I LOVED Naperville for having the best of both worlds. It was conveniently located, had access to all the big brand stores and restaurants galore! Yet many of the communities where enclosed subdivisions with parks, tree-lines streets and that small town feel. The Riverwalk area was interesting and diverse, making it a nice hang out for younger people. Yep, I sure miss that place. I wanted to stay there but once I bailed out of Lucent, I couldn't stomach the 1.5 hrs drive each way that quickly turned to 2.5+ hrs when the snow started. *sniff*


@Kahn - sounds pretty sweet! Not sure I could do the mountains since I'm not a big fan of cold. My first two years in Chicago I swore I'd be gone before another winter hit. I got caught having to dig my car out at the airport after a nice little blizzard and dumped a mountain of snow while I was away on my first business trip after moving there. That was enough to sour me on the place for a while. But spring came, I met great people, loved my job back then and ended up staying 12 years.

I totally feel ya about being creative and doing geek work. When it's good it's great and when it ain't...

Gaming Diva

I was in a similar situation as yourself when I worked in the corporate world. I left went on my won for a year an reentered to get a behind the scenes experience working for charities. The last charity I worked for I stayed only 10 months. My boss was incompetent had no idea about computer programming and was trying to tell me what to do. I love that!

I work for myself full-time. I create and sell natural skin care products. I also write, and have monetized three of my ten websites. Those have become a great source of passive income, and it's doing something I enjoy helping others with topics I enjoy (fitness, nutrition, alternative healing, and Macs.) Initially it wasn't easy I definitely put in more time then I did when I worked out of the home but now it has definitely paid off.

Wishing you the best in pursuing your dream and turning it into a reality. :-)


@Diva - Wow, that's wonderful. It sounds like a very interesting diversity of things you have going which must keep things challenging.


The thing about work is, it is supposed to be.. well, work. So thats why we have spare time to relax read/write books, enjoy theater or movies, MMOs for escapism and distraction. We are far, far better off than almost all human civilization before us. Better health, longer lives, more amenities. Living off the "small shop owner" fantasy is certainly a good thing to do. It channels frustration in a sort of pressure release valve.

Good thing is, as I live in Europe, we have something called "part time job". You actually quit 20% - 50% of your office time, get paid less and have more spare time. How does that sound?


"I've known some very talented artistic friends who turned their loves into careers and now they hate both"

That's why I've always dismissed that cliche teacher advice. It never rang true to me, even when I first heard it in high school. I take a job because it's a way to support my family and contribute something to society. I keep my loves and hobbies as separate from my career as possible, so as not to sully them by crass commercialism and the appalling need to turn every waking moment to finding ways to exploit my talents and turn them into money.

It's nice to like what I do for a job, so I don't burn out, but mixing business with pleasure is a recipe for ruining both.


I don't mind work being work. I mind work being hell and there is a difference. :-) It is what it is and I stay for the money right now. It just feels more like blood money as time goes on.

I have thought about saying that I want to go part-time. I think they'd go for it for me not to jump ship but it wouldn't work. We have summer hours where you take a half day each week. I've been able to do it once since it started in May. I can't get away for a half day a week, how in the world would part-time work out? It wouldn't. *sigh*

Gaming Diva

I enjoy it immensely all those things have been a part of my life since I was a child so turning it into a business was the easy part.

Funny thing is I really don't see myself as doing "work" now since it's these are things I did daily when I was away from work. The only difference is now I get paid for it. The beauty of it is, I don't have to factor in the added drama that occasionally comes into play working out of the home. To be fair I have worked at a few jobs where I had the exact same feeling (my job did not feel like "work".) I was doing something I enjoyed and had an excellent group of co-workers. I've wanted to work for myself since I was eight years old. I'm happy that I was able to turn my dream into a reality. I am the toughest boss I've ever had. ;-)

The first year and a half going full-time was challenging in the fact that I had to fit all those pieces together you know?

Spending time with my five year old daughter, running my business, covering the bills, and dealing with the occasional relative/friend that thought I must not be doing anything since I had my own business, lol. The bills were covered, but I did make mistakes when it came to managing my time. I did too much. That's under control now although I still deal with the occasional family member that thinks I have all the time in the world, lol. ;-)


I agree with a lot of what you said.
My job pays very well, but I really struggle to work up any enthusiasm for it.
How I would love to pull the plug on it and do something more interesting, but a little voice keeps pointing at the money, and telling me it would be a foolish thing to do.

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