There was a Twitter thread going around this week telling people to quit their day job and follow their dreams. In theory this is fine—follow your dreams, kids—but not when you really analyse it. Leaving your job on a whim to follow a dream that has no guarantee of payment is not a clever move for everyone. It’s the modern equivalent of throwing in the towel to run away with the circus—except the circus doesn’t pay you anything and all the clowns are drunk.
You can follow your dreams alongside a day job, or a night job, or being a parent or carer. These things aren’t mutually exclusive and to see them thus is damaging a lot of people’s dreams. We’ve all heard the phrase “but that doesn’t happen to people like us”. As an example, only a small percentage of the people in publishing are working-class. I believe it’s because we’re constantly hearing opinions like this that tell us if we don’t walk away from a steady income we’re not sacrificing enough. We don’t want it enough.
The wording of the thread, the anger and judgement of the author (I won’t name and shame partly because I cannot be bothered to find the thread again and partly because I don’t believe in the mob culture side of social media.), was unacceptable. It perpetuates this idea we must be wealthy to follow a dream. The author apparently was from a working-class background originally but one does not simply walk out of their job without a stock pile of dough or a wealthy partner. They especially shouldn’t quit said job and then look down their privileged nose at everyone else who still has to work their day job to afford food.
I’m not exactly a beacon of success (quite the contrary in fact) but I have written novels alongside full time employment. I have queried agents alongside full time employment. There are New York Times bestselling authors who get there alongside working full time. It is more than possible. However, on the flip side of that, if you do need to lay aside a dream for a while, that is also valid. Quitting comes with a whole barrage of stigma but if a dream is no longer bringing you pleasure lay it aside. It doesn’t have to be forever.
In short, live your life how you damn well please. All the judgemental haters can go f*** themselves.
Annnnyway…I realise most of my posts in the last month have been money related. This was unintentional and going forwards I shall try to diversify the content on here. With that in mind, is there a topic you would especially like to see discussed? I’m all ears (or, at least, I have two of them and they are listening).