I recently answered a question on Quora. It read as:
At age 25, would you pursue a good paying corporate job that makes you unhappy or a hobby that makes you happy but has no guarantee to pay the bills?
And this was my answer:
When I was 25, I did exactly just that.
I executed the whole, “Quit my job to follow a dream thing”
At that time, I had no fucking clue what I was doing or what I was going to do.
All I knew then was that:
– My dad died when I was 20, so I think life is too short to do bullshit you hate, and that includes working a job that bores you.
– I love writing and I want to make living from doing just that.
– I wanted the whole world or nothing. I wanted to be rich, travel the world, meet chicks and all that shit.
I still want it.
And it was scary as hell then. I didn’t know money would come in then.
Heck, in fact, I was honestly a naive dude, thinking that it was going to be easy. I just thought I’d set up a blog, write my heart out and then somehow make money magically because it was the internet.
I’m 30 today. I know my shit. I’ve been through both sides of the coin.
The cliche-ness of quitting your job to follow a dream and all that shit
The problem with this idea is that successful people always advocate an “all or nothing” mentality to it.
Wanna follow a dream? Quit your job.
How often has it been said, “Oh I got fired/I quit my job and it was the best thing that ever happened to me!”?
And then there’s passion.
People all around including the successful ones talk about passion as if it’s the golden ticket to a good life.
How often has it been said, “Do what you love and you don’t have to work a day in your life!”?
All of this is bullshit.
Your question needs some careful thinking and an answer which only you can form yourself to best suit your current situation in life.
It does NOT have to be either this or that; one extreme or another.
Remember, too much of anything is never good in life.
As Obi Wan Kenobi said, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
You wanna be a fucking Jedi and find peace and balance in life.
Here’s my take.
Quit your job only when it makes sense
No, quitting your job isn’t some monumental moment where everyone throws up confetti and fireworks to celebrate how awesome you are.
You’re only quitting your job and it can be the stupidest decision you ever made.
When I was struggling with my blog, I once hit a low point where I only had $33 in the bank.
Do you know how fucking sad that is? Do you know how shitty I felt? Do you know the amount of stress I felt every damn day in my life then?
Sure, I was doing what I love. I wrote everyday. But fuck, I felt low as hell. If I could go back in time, I DEFINITELY would not have quit my job if I knew it was going to be this hard.
Yes, money is that important in life.
You may be bored with your job now or even unhappy, but having no money or assurance that money will be coming in to help pay the bills will make you even unhappier.
Think about it.
What if you can’t pay your phone bills? What if you can’t make calls or texts?
What if you can’t contribute to the household or give back to your parents? What if you start to feel like a burden?
What if you fall sick one day and can’t pay for medication? This actually happened to me. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism that time and the clinic rejected my ATM card. I never felt so fucked up before.
What if others are dependent on you? Do you have kids? Do you have a partner? What if you start seeing yourself as a failure to them?
So yep. Quit your job only when it makes sense.
Passion does not solve all your problems
Passion isn’t a magical fart that comes out of a unicorn’s ass and makes you feel high and happy everyday.
And indeed, it does not guarantee to pay the bills.
Case in point too, your question mentions pursuing a hobby. JUST a hobby? Man that’s weak.
Hobby is way below the ranks as compared to passion. If it doesn’t light a fire under your ass so much so you think about it everyday and want to make shit happen, I don’t see how a mere hobby can really drive you.
But anyway, back to the point.
Doing what you love does not equate to happiness or solving your problems.
If you want to do what you love and make a living out of it at that, you’re going to have to put in the effort to figure out what works for you.
Business is indeed not easy. If it was as easy as simply doing what you love, then everyone today will be making bank just from having a hobby/passion.
And yeah, it’s going to be so hard that you’ll fail, fail, fail, fail and fail until you succeed.
And it does not feel great at all.
So what the hell do you do?
You find a damn balance.
It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.
Start being brutally honest with yourself and see how you can work around it.
Does your job really suck so much it makes you unhappy? Or are you the one making yourself unhappy?
Are you challenging yourself?
Are you not stretching out of your comfort zone?
Are you spoiled?! I mean, I can’t imagine a job being so bad unless it’s a super toxic place with a shitty boss and colleagues. What if you work else where for a bit and realize one day you actually had it good?
With regard to your hobby and/or passion…
You can work on it today. I don’t see what is stopping you.
Just start NOW.
Develop your business plan. Craft out your strategy. Find your passion. Start a blog. Write your first article. Share it on social media and get feedback. Validate your business idea and see if it works.
There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t start today all the while working on your job.
That said, it’s better to work on your passion knowing that you have money to survive and enjoy life along the way. That will give you the confidence to really do what you love as opposed to being broke and trying to create a business out of your passion.
If you conduct the latter, the pressures of chasing money will fuck you up to the point you aren’t producing your best work. Trust me. I’ve been there.
It’s all up to you now
As said, you need to start being brutally honest with yourself.
There is no “all or nothing.” Being extreme is never good.
Quit your job only when it makes sense. To be rash in anything may only result in a lot more problems you can’t deal with.
Start on your passion project, idea or whatever today. What is stopping you? Oh and 25? That’s young as shit. You’ve a lifetime ahead of you. Start today and slowly see what works. No rush.
And don’t listen to others. Do what you think is right for yourself.
That’s my advice.