Monday, July 16, 2007
Is It Worth Doing?
Rodion wrote in a previous comment:
“I am a young professional, fairly successful in (yet utterly unhappy with) his occupation…does it make sense for me to quit my job, go further into debt (my loans from my previous degree have yet to be cleared) over the next two years by embarking on a process which makes no guarantees of success (getting published) in a vocation where success itself is subject to so many variables?”
My first job out of college was for an internet firm in San Francisco. We had catered lunches, went to the movies at the Sony Metreon, had a miniature golf putting green in the office, and everyone there thought that we were going to be gazillionaires. Until the company tanked and we all got laid off. Dreaming one day of owning the Giants and 49ers and then worrying about not making rent the next day, man, that’s tragic.
Regarding my latest job at a wine company, I came out on top. I left a growing, successful company in the wine industry, one that afforded me a very privileged lifestyle, just so that I could become a full-time student. Some parts of that job, I loved, and am forever grateful, and some parts spawned a few disdainful emoticon faces over my IM. It definitely would have been an easy choice to stay and continue on with my life in SF, making money, going out to hip bars and posh restaurants. A safe choice. A comfortable choice. An I’m-happy-withdrawing-cash-from-the-ATM-and-drinking-Newcastles-for-dinner-and-meeting-girls-at-random-bars choice.
But I made the decision to dedicate myself to academia, make a contribution to the arts, focus on my creative work and embrace my peers and their work, and had I not, then THAT would have been tragic. Will I be successful? Depends by what parameters are used to measure. Though, according to the vision of Leland Stanford who, shortly before his death, penned a letter to the university’s first president, “The imagination needs to be cultivated and developed to assure success in life”, I might be on the right path.
Is it worth doing? It’s worth being able to look back and say that I took a chance, I gave it my all. For me, it’s worth not having regrets.