Get a real job.

Dear Pogue,

The last letter I sent you, I don’t understand how other people got to read it. Was it sealed when it arrived?

Putting this mystery aside, some of those who read it said nice things so I guess, all in all, we got a win (someone even suggested there’s a book in all this!). High five over here! Plus someone who got to read it said: “You ought to comment on the occasions when creative people are told, ‘You need to get a real job’. It happens. I’m sure we’ve both heard this at some point.

Now think about this, isn’t it a really peculiar thing to say? I imagine that a good number of the people who have said this enjoy reading books, hang art on their walls, frequent media sites crammed with creative content, download music and lose themselves in it. So where do they imagine all of this comes from? Like, it hangs out in that place the unicorns live and drops down when we have a need?

Creativity is an act of defiance. You’re challenging the status quo. You’re questioning accepted truths and principles. You’re asking three universal questions that mock conventional wisdom: “Why do I have to obey the rules?” “Why can’t I be different?” “Why can’t I do it my way?”

Twyla Tharp

The issue is that so often being creative is not seen as a meaningful pursuit, right up until someone succeeds. A person can go from being a “waster”, a “dreamer”, from being work shy to being a celebrity over night. You write and write and write, maybe for years and people will shake their heads and pass comments: “What a waste”. Then someone decides to publish your book and the “waste” is now redefined as dedication and effort. Your single mindedness has earned its just rewards.

What a fickle world we live in.

Maybe we need to spend more time encouraging creative people? Should we encourage the dreamer to dream on?

Now, I get that all people need to earn a living and support themselves. Fit and well people should not be a burden to others. Regrettably there are to many who seem to feel they are owed a living by society. But, if someone is prepared to live a meagre lifestyle, so as to free themselves up to create let’s honour that.

I grew up in a world that was all about money. Everyone told me that we needed good jobs to make good bank. Then we needed to progress so we could have more money because, and here’s the illusion, more money equalled more happiness as happiness is just another commodity. But, as it turned out, it wasn’t. It isn’t.

Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness

Anni Albers

Money does not have a correlation to happiness. For some money helps deliver the dream and for others achieving the dream can bring money. Yet others achieve the dream and forsake the money for the fulfilment. I’m also sure there are rich people who are very happy. The thing is, it’s not about the money. Regrettably for a long while I believed it was and now realised I missed out on the life I wanted. I’ve seen people buy houses with 12 rooms and live in 3 and are happy to do so. 12 rooms is a statement, posturing, mines bigger than yours, and 3 rooms is contentment. It’s not about the amount of what I have, it’s about the quality.

Quality of life reflected in contentment and satisfaction and what greater satisfaction than the release and flow of ones potential? Is it not a Law of the Universe that we get to give to make room for more?

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.

Maya Angelou

Maybe, just maybe, many of us bought into the tale of happiness that has a correlation with possessions and status when we should have understood that our contentment was tied to realising our potential. That the Universe, God, has no interest in status but rather finds pleasure in the way our spirit’s flow, in how we bring forth from the resources that are within. For one it’s inspiration that leads to a tale that becomes a book that touches many. Another sits in the world and sees it, differently, touches it with all senses, feels it and paints a picture that we will all gaze on and admire. And there is someone who hears people, even when they don’t speak, feels their pain and understands their confusion, then becomes their therapist and gives from what they have thereby receiving more. Lastly there may be one who sees a need, a gap, steps in and builds a great business built on the creative spirit flowing out. And each finds happiness because the Universe has moved and created through them.

Let’s build on the desire to be creative and let that spirit flow, rather than tying ourselves to possessions and status. If you only use 3 rooms don’t become burdened by the upkeep of 12. Maybe if 3 is all you need then you won’t have to have a “real job”.

Yours, very creatively,


6 thoughts on “Get a real job.

  1. Pingback: You’re worthless – Letters To Pogue

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