The Hartford Courant published an article yesterday telling the stories of a number of middle-class workers who quit their day jobs to pursue their dream of doing truly soul-satisfying work.
Here is the text of the section of the article that quotes me:
“More people than you might think dream of leaving a sensible – but not particularly rewarding – job to follow a dream.
“Rob Bennett of Washington, D.C., interviewed hundreds of middle-class workers for his book Passion Saving: The Path to Plentiful Free Time and Soul-Satisfying Work. He writes in an e-mail, ‘I sometimes get the feeling that there is no one today who does not carry around in the back of his or her head at least one`What if I tried?’ scenario for dramatic career change.'”
There are many good observations made in the article. One that I particularly liked is set forth near the end of the article. A woman who acknowledges that the 22 years she spent earning a corporate paycheck “couldn’t have been that bad” notes that now “I can laugh when I want to.”
I relate to both comments. Corporate life is not as bad as some people make it out to be. I had a lot of good times during my years of corporate employment. I certainly learned a lot during those years, and I got paid to do so. So I think it is wrong to totally diss the way that most people make a living.
There really is something to that “I can laugh when I want to” line, though. There are certain freedoms that you can never have so long as you stick with the safe corporate job.
I think it makes sense in many circumstances to learn the ropes working for a big company, where there are lots of people to learn from. If you save enough in your early years of employment to be able to take some risks when you get to an age where you feel strongly that you need to be calling the shots for yourself, you end up tapping into the pros and cons of both approaches to making a living at the times of life at which it makes financial sense to do so.