A Rant-Why Even Try?


I’ve probably mentioned that I like to write. I’d like to make a living at it. Hopefully by telling crazy stories about vampires and zombies and space aliens. But every once in a while, I get really discouraged and I ask myself: Why even try?

Seriously though. I ask myself that every day. The odds are crazy. The amount of competition is insane. Readers are fickle. Publishers go out of business every week. The roadsides are littered with the flaming wrecks of would-be writers. You’d have to be delusional to believe that you’ll ever be anything more than one of a million hacks on the Kindle store, selling four copies a month while your co-workers at Pizza Hut chuckle about your sad ambition. You’d be better off buying lottery tickets.

But it seems to me that in this day and age, if you have any kind of goals greater than working as a fry cook at McDonalds, you’re still facing insane odds. There are no longer any magic bullets. There’s no career path or degree or certificate or qualification that guarantees that things are going to be easy for you. For every real grownup job there are hundreds of applicants. I’ve got friends who graduated with sensible degrees, solid blue-chip career degrees like accounting, and it literally took them years to find a job. Years of sending out hundreds of resumes, living at their parents houses and servicing their massive American student loan debts. I know someone who graduated with a good professional degree, found an awesome suit-and-tie job, and got laid off three different times in a year. I know teachers who get blamed for everything that’s wrong with our broken school system, who buy their kids school supplies out of their own pockets, who sweat bullets every year when the layoffs come around.

If there’s a good, safe job out there, I haven’t seen it.

I’ve seen people with bachelor’s in biology making twelve dollars an hour working as lab assistants. I’ve had teachers, PhDs, working as adjunct professors, making less money than the guy outside the window mowing the lawn. Your barista at Starbucks or your cashier at Barnes and Noble probably have English degrees. And take a look at the statistics for law school graduates sometime. Wasn’t that what our parents told us? “Get a good job, be a lawyer and get rich.” Good luck with that.

And in addition to that, some of the most miserable people I’ve ever met got where they are by chasing the money. Dentists and pharmacists and lawyers who spent years and years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to get where they are, and they hate it and they hate their lives. It makes you ask yourself: How much money is happiness really worth?

And anyway, you might get hit by a bus tomorrow.

So, given all that, given that for my generation it seems like a good, secure career might as well be in the same category as unicorns and Bigfoot, why the hell not try to pursue your passion? Why not try and do what you really want to do?

Because hell, there just aren’t any safe bets.

14 thoughts on “A Rant-Why Even Try?

  1. Didn’t do a degree in the end (was offered a place to study Documentary Communication, which would’ve been cool, but at the time not practical). Had some amazing jobs & enjoying finally being paid a nice little earner with perks and I’m not quite ready for the knacker’s yard yet.

    Roll with the punches.
    Do what you have to.
    Dance your way up.
    Write ‘cos you want to.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am of course just ranting. Life is beautiful. But it often strikes me that the “safe,” “easy” options actually aren’t as safe or easy as people like to pretend. I think one’s odds of being a mildly successful author are at least as good as the odds of becoming a partner at a prestigious law firm. And the author might get to keep their soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often feel this way. I think it’s a natural process of being a writer. If you love what you do, then don’t do it for the money. Take opportunities as they come, consider pros and cons, and find your own way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You know what, you put into perspective that being an author is actually about as likely as getting a job related to a graduate degree. I have two. It really means shit all. Everyone is qualified, but they dont tell you theres no job at the end. University level education is a business in itself. Wtf happened to jobs? Its like they dried up in the nineties. Its realy a scary time to be needing a job, and in the mean time i’m cranking out some novels. Dont give up the dream.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yeah, right there with you. Plenty of “jobs” but not many Jobs. If I were the paranoid type, I’d say we’re experiencing the heat death of capitalism. Luckily I’m not the paranoid type.


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