1. You’re going to need a job no matter what.
If you’re looking forward to such luxuries in life as a nice apartment, going out to see your friends on the weekends, and eating — you’re going to need a job. Having a place where you are paid to go do things every day is, unfortunately, not some extra curricular high school activity that you can sign up and get credit for but never actually attend. You’re going to have to spend a very significant portion of your life working, and if you’re not in a job that either you enjoy in and of itself or which allows you a lifestyle you enjoy, life is probably going to be pretty lame.
2. Your job dictates much of your life.
Are you the kind of person who maintains a time-consuming hobby, has a really active social life, likes to get a lot of sleep, wants to buy nice things, or loves travelling? Your job is going to decide a huge part of whether or not you get to do those things. Whether your ideal is a job that leaves you a ton of free time, one that has almost no commute, one that earns you a lot of money, or simply one that doesn’t get you too stressed out — all of these things have a huge direct effect on the rest of your life. Even though we’re not defined by what we do, and our life isn’t our work, it does have a huge influence on the rest of what we are and aren’t able to do. Why not go for the one that suits you best?
3. Some people are going to judge you regardless.
A lot of people hesitate to follow their dream jobs because they fear judgment from family, friends, even random people they meet who ask that sometimes-dreaded question, “So what do you do?” (Speaking personally, it took me a very long time to get over that fear, and I definitely encountered my share of naysayers when announcing that I was pursuing writing full-time.) But the truth is that the people who love you and want to be there for you, even if they do offer words of advice or caution, will always be supportive and excited for you to be doing something you enjoy so much. The people who were going to make nasty, backhanded comments or openly doubt your ability to succeed likely do it to others, and are going to be judgmental no matter what you choose to do — because it’s not about you. Ultimately, we should pity these people who cannot feel happiness for others and, if they can’t offer something nice, at least be neutral on the subject. Their nastiness isn’t suddenly coming from your decision to pursue music, it’s coming from within.
4. If you don’t at least try, you’ll always regret it.
Everyone knows what the regret of not having gone for something that we so desperately wanted feels like, even when it’s a relatively small missed opportunity of daily life. Imagine what it would be like to live with the knowledge that not only do you not do what you’ve always dreamed of with your day-to-day work, but that you didn’t even try. Imagine being haunted by the knowledge that so much of what you consider impossible could easily have been yours. No one deserves to live with that kind of remorse.
5. What you want can change as you pursue it.
Maybe you have a perfect image in your mind of exactly what it is you want to be doing, say, 10 years from now. You want a certain job, a certain office, a certain city, a certain loft apartment with bold-but-chic decor and a dog so beautiful and well-mannered that it kind of makes you sick. The dream job you have in mind isn’t just a job, it’s an entire lifestyle that goes along with it — but maybe you won’t end up with it. In fact, you probably won’t end up getting the exact things you want, right down to the last detail. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As we pursue our dreams, we often find what we thought we wanted to be tedious or stressful, or discover other things along the way that make us even more fulfilled. The more we try, the more we keep reaching further towards what we want, the more we’ll end up encountering — and maybe falling in love with.
6. Work doesn’t have to be horrible.
So many of us live with this resignation to the idea that work is just some dreadful, time-consuming activity that we have to slog through five days a week in order to be able to live the rest of the time. But why? Is it because we think that we cannot have a job that we really want? We may not all get paid millions of dollars to be an official ice cream-taster for Ben and Jerry’s, but there are certainly jobs out there that make us feel excited to get started in the mornings, and leave us with the impression that we’ve accomplished something at the end of the day. Why not look around for something that makes your days feel like something worth getting up for in the morning?
7. You wouldn’t give up on a relationship.
If you were with someone who made you feel terrible about yourself, who didn’t put in any effort, who wasn’t fulfilling, and generally left you depressed most of the time — would you stay with them? Would you just say, “Oh, well, this is the best I can do, might as well just put my nose to the grindstone and die already.”? I hope that the answer to this is no. Most of us are determined to find someone who makes us happy, who treats us well, and who makes life actively better. Why don’t we put this same effort into the search of the job at which we will spend forty hours of every week for the foreseeable future? There is no reason, just because a career isn’t your necessarily a part of your “personal” life, that you shouldn’t be insistant on one that makes you happy.
8. You deserve to be proud of what you do.
Is there anything worse than, when being asked by family, friends, or inquiring strangers what it is that you do for work, feeling actively embarrassed/upset by the question, and wishing that you could just strap on a jet pack and eject yourself from the situation, so as to not have to respond? Well, unemployment is probably worse — but it’s likely preferable to some of the answers people are forced to give in those situations.
9. The pursuit itself is fun.
Sure, going to the job you hate every day and coming home to pass out in front of Netflix with some Thai food is safe, but it’s certainly not fun. It’s not thrilling and challenging, the way the process of going after a job you really want is. Everything from the education, to the training, to the résumé building, to the cover letters, to the searching for new listings, to the interviews — it all suddenly becomes this extremely exciting safari when it is potentially leading to a job you will love. Every minor professional kudos or opportunity that, in another job, might be quickly forgotten about, suddenly becomes the greatest thing that’s ever happening to you. And even if you don’t get exactly what you’re looking for, a huge amount of skill is in the pure tenacity and confidence you develop from learning more about and going after what it is that you want.
10. You don’t want to be jealous.
One of the most noticeable side effects of not going after your dreams is being maddeningly jealous of those around you who are. When you are feeling stagnant, and trapped, and too nervous to make the first step, seeing pictures and status updates from people who are taking risks and putting themselves out there is essentially psychological torture. You start to become this resentful, critical, bitter person who is consumed by their inability to make a move. Every person who is at least making strides and trying for what they want become a slap in the face. That person is no fun to be around. You feel absolutely horrible about yourself because you can see how much of a passive-agressive goblin you’re becoming, but you can’t help it. To avoid falling down the slippery slope of haterdom, best to at least take your own shot at the kind of life you want to be living.
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