If you let the internet tell it, everyone is an entrepreneur. You hear success stories everywhere of people talking about how they left the job that they hated and are now fulfilling their dreams, traveling the world, visiting far off places that you can’t even pronounce. They’re living the life that you want for yourself. And you can feel your insides filling like a hot air-balloon, envy carrying you off into the blue sky — up, up, and away.
But how did they achieve said life you ask? Why, simply by following their heart! Quitting their job! Taking a risk! And it’s so easy to find yourself falling in love with that idea. Imagine driving into work one day and calmly explaining to your manager that you’re so thankful for the opportunity but now you’re off to live your true purpose in life. After all, you’ll explain as you collect your things, “No one wants to be the person that is getting paid to fulfill someone else’s dreams.”
When you finally open your eyes after that nice little daydream, the real world comes crashing back. You’ve got bills. Family commitments. Never-ending Responsibility. You’ll realize that you’re not quite at that point where you can toss steady income to the wind and go all in on your pursuits. And what’s worse is that you’ll feel guilty about it. Are you a true entrepreneur if you’re not struggling? A real artist if you’re not starving? If you’re not willing to forego bi-weekly paychecks and reliable health insurance that must mean that you don’t really believe in your skills. Right?
I’m here to tell you (and myself if I’m being honest) that there’s no dishonor in having a day job. There really isn’t. We should all refuse to let comparison rob us of the understanding that we’re not where we want to be just yet. Don’t feel guilty for busting your ass during the day and then divvying up your time at night and on the weekends to fulfill your goals. The discipline of juggling your hopes and dreams™ with your 9-to-5 will only serve as a resource for you when you do get the chance to pursue your side-gig full-time.
Everyone likes to sell the dream of entrepreneurship — how they can wake up when they want to, work in their pajamas, spend the day without makeup! Wow! — but they skip those moments in between, the moments where you just don’t know if you’ll ever be able to make your dreams come true. And it’s not to say that the people who quit their day jobs are terrible humans who should be shamed for taking that plunge. Not at all.
But let’s not forget that there’s space for those of us who are still juggling the luxury of fulfilling a dream with the reality of daily life. It’s ok to have a day job that helps make ends meet. Even when there are days that you would want to be anywhere but there. Even when the inevitable moments occur when you spend most of the day imagining everything else that you could do with the time that you spend at said day job. And this is coming from someone who actually likes her day job (which is, you know, unHEARD of).
So, I’ll say it again for the people in the back: there is no dishonor in having a day job. And if anyone says anything otherwise, send them all of your bills in a nice little package for them to pay at their leisure. But not too leisurely — there are due dates after all.