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Happiness vs. Survival

Where does the pursuit of happiness end and the pursuit to survive begin?

Since leaving the Post Register and moving back to Seattle, a lot has been going on in my life, but at the same time, not much. I’ve been unemployed for two and a half months and home for about two. And while that’s not a very long time, sometimes it feels like a lifetime.

From the second I lost my job, I’m sad to say I haven’t received much encouragement or support from the people from which I need it the most. Most people I’ve talked to have said my situation is a positive thing and that I should use this time to figure out what I want to do, find a job I really want and go for it. My parents are somewhat in the same boat, but they think I should give up “the whole journalism thing.”

Now, I can see their point in saying this. Honestly, I can. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know I’ve lamented from time to time about the bleakness that is the journalism industry. But it would be nice to have them on my side.

I’ve had this discussion with them so many times since I’ve moved back home that it’s no longer a discussion: They tell me to find something else to do with my life, while I remain silent and essentially ignore them because I’ve heard the same thing since college.

It really makes me sad to think about sometimes because writing and journalism is really what I want to do with my life and I wish they could accept this.  My parents have suggested going back to school and finding a new career path and while the idea has merit, I just know how miserable I’d be going into a math- or science-related field as they’ve suggested. Not to mention how bad I would be at it all.

I’ve told them this and unfortunately, they said being happy and good at it has nothing to do with it.

“Nobody likes their job!” my mom said.

She then gave examples of family friends’ jobs and asked me if I thought that’s what they wanted to do with their lives. She answered for me. No, they have those jobs because they can make good money.

This made me think. Is having money really that important? Obviously it’s important in paying the bills on time to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.

But all that flashy stuff, like the big houses and fancy cars? Is it really worth it? I mean, bigger houses are great for bigger families and when you have company. But they also mean a lot more cleaning and bigger utility bills. And fancy cars mean higher insurance rates and more fear that something may happen to them.

Now, I have nothing against that stuff and don’t mind indulging and splurging every now and then. I guess it’s always been my way of thinking (for the most part) that if you don’t need it, why buy it? I’m not saying you should settle for mediocrity either. Living in a big house and driving a fancy car are great things to strive for and work towards, but if what you’ve already got works for the time being, there’s no need to be unhappy about what you don’t have yet.

I guess the fact that I’m like this is a good thing in my chosen career path because otherwise, I’d be miserable.

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4 comments on “Happiness vs. Survival

  1. Hello, Samantha,

    Your parents and friends can and will offer well-intentioned advice, but only you can decide what’s your best career path. Remember also that a job in traditional media isn’t the only way for you to exercise your talent as a writer.

    I’m not going to give you any additional advice other than to say we’d like to hear from you more often. The PR is a duller place without you.

    • Hi John!
      It’s nice to hear from you, too! I miss discussing the lack of Asian food in southeast Idaho with you. And every time I see a sentence that ends in a preposition, I think of you. 🙂
      I know what you mean about looking for work outside traditional media. I have been doing that, so we’ll see what comes of all of this.
      I know this post was quite the downer, but it hasn’t all been like this. I was just venting out some frustrations. For the most part, I’m very happy to be home. Although, I do miss you guys at the PR. I’m sure it is a duller place without me.

  2. If you ever get back here, I’m still ready to open the restaurant. JM

  3. […] I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. I know we’ve had our disagreements in the past and they can really stress me out sometimes, but for the most part, I’d have to […]

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