I read a post this morning which said ‘Don’t quit your job to pursue your passion’. The reasons cited in the post, among others were that some bloggers who did that are scrubbing toilets now, it is a privilege for the rich kids etc. etc.
I didn’t find that post interesting or entertaining or useful. It was downright malicious. Now, as someone who did quit his job to pursue his passion (writing and comedy), I owe an explanation to the person who wrote that post and to people who think likewise.
To start with, I will start with the YES part of the answer.
Why should you quit your job to pursue your passion? Why do people do it? Are they fools? Are they fools to leave the comfort and security (assumed) of their jobs to start walking on an unknown terrain which they have not seen before and they will have to walk alone?
No, they are not fools. Most of them are intelligent, smart thinking people. They are forced to leave their jobs, even if these are jobs they like, because in any job, one is not able to give himself or herself wholeheartedly to what one loves to do.
Let’s say, writing. Even if you work as a journalist in your job, you will not be able to write the content that you long to write. You will not be able to edit it the way you want and you will not be able to decide the timeframes.
Let’s say, a graphic designer. Even if you work in an agency as a graphic designer, you will not have the freedom to make the designs that you want to make and have the liberty to push them out. Every job is a role in a company and that role has to adhere to the requirements of that company and that system.
Take anything-a photographer or a painter or a filmmaker or a speaker.
Therefore, from the company’s perspective, there is nothing wrong with it. A company has responsibilities to its customers and its systems, which it will have to adhere to. Companies are not formed to cater to the passions of its employees.
Therefore, people quit their jobs and go out on their own to try and see if they can make it by themselves-as freelancers or as companies of their own.
Do they scrub toilets? Well, it is stupid to say that they scrub toilets or in the other case, if they are scrubbing toilets, they took the decision without any meaningful calculation of how they will go about making a life out of their passion and how would they meet their expenses.
When I quit my job, I did it after saving some money for 2-3 years (which I could have used for a down payment for a house), so that I can have a 2-3 year shot at what I am trying to do, that is even if I make no money in that time. Right after I quit, I started working freelance with research agencies by using the contacts I had and by building new ones. I have been able to make my expenses, while I continue to write books and perform comedy.
Let me elaborate a bit on the NO part of the answer.
You should not quit the job if you have no clue what your passion is. A passion is work that you will do even if you have to pay people to do it. You cannot NOT do it.
You should not quit the job if you have no savings or you have no visible source of making your expenses. That’s the bare minimum. You should be able to make your expenses, while you work on your passion and try to make money off it.
You should have an idea about what will happen if you fail. I don’t know what that means myself for I my definition, one is a failure when one gives up.
You should not quit the job if you don’t understand what living a passionate life means.
You should not quit your job if you can satisfy yourself with living a mercenary life where money is your only source of satisfaction or happiness. I am sorry for you.
You should not quit your job if you deride people who quit their jobs to pursue their passions.
It is not easy to leave the comfort of an air conditioned office to try and stick things out in thin air. That’s what passionate people are trying to do. They are trying to create things, keeping their faith as their best friend.
They are trying to make the world a beautiful and lovable place where they can do their best work and hopefully, inspire other people to do their best work, somewhere on the way.
If it doesn’t work, they will know in their heart that they tried.
Should you quit your job to pursue your passion?
The answer lies somewhere between YES and NO.
Thanks for reading.