Quit Your Day Job?

From the advice column “Work Friend” in The New York Times, Dec. 31, 2018

You Can’t Beat Them (You Will Be Arrested)

What are your thoughts on friends who leave high-paying jobs to pursue their creative dreams, then end up broke and complain about it?

— Brooklyn

Obviously, we must all tell them to shut up and get back to work on their canvases and scripts. I thank these folks every day for keeping me on the straight and narrow. As a chronic quitter, I’m the most likely to blow out of Dodge and suit up for a six-month bike trek down the Continental Divide or a nine-month woodworking apprenticeship, only to end up an incompetent waitron in Silver City, N.M. But now we have Instagram, and we can spy on our sad, failed basket-weavers together.

Time, though, will have the last laugh on all our choices. A great novelist is one who quit his job in time; a failed painter is just one who hasn’t died soon enough.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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25 Responses to Quit Your Day Job?

  1. J.C. aka BLZeebub says:

    Can’t wait to see the nimrod getting his tie snatched up by the spinning bit. The reason clip-ons were invented. LOL Happy New Year!

  2. I miss the days when woodworking was done in a necktie and shirtsleeves.

  3. It can work if you are undeterred by short-term failures. Accept every failure as a learning experience. In my years, I have met too many people dreaming of leaving their jobs and careers and pursuing their passion. The financial hit is always the largest obstacle. If we can only accept a more reasonable lifestyle and embrace frugality, it can work. I actually did this, struggled with the notion, and finally made the leap.

    Norman Pirollo
    Author of “From Hi-Tech to Lo-Tech: A Woodworker’s Journey”

  4. Ron Dyck says:

    Then this must be the song of the day. “I Quit My Job” by Old Man Luedecke 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R79whVcsrxI

  5. William Giles says:

    My friend Ron had long floppy hair like this fellow. When Ron bent down to get a good look at his work piece a flop of hair latched on to the drill chuck and tore a chunk of his locks out.

  6. Thomas B Goodman says:

    Do a search for Mike Rowe and “Never Follow Your Passion”.

  7. Keith says:

    You only go around once in life. If you are unhappy in life a) be miserable and stick it out for the money or b) quit and find something you love and live cheaper.

    • Keith says:

      I should add, my childhood neighbor who was in my graduating class, went to work in a car assembly plant (the one now closing in Lordstown, OH), hated his job for 30+ years, but retired at 50.

  8. Joe says:

    It’s not an all or nothing. If you want to make a change, you can plan it out and start the new thing part time and on weekends. Build it up to the point that when you do quit the day job it’s not as big of a risk.

    • Keith says:

      There used to be guy on the radio that gave life advice. He was what I would call a ‘serial entrepreneur” having successfully started and continued a number of small businesses. He gave a contrary advice to this situation. He said just sticking your toes into a sideline was too easy to slack off and give it up too easily. His advice was to jump in with both feed, give it a “do or die” and fight like crazy to make and keep it successful. YMMV.

  9. Thomas B Goodman says:

    How do I get the comments to STOP coming to my email?

    • At the bottom of every email there is a button called “Manage Subscriptions.” Click it and it will take you to the page where you can turn off comments coming to your email.

  10. Drew Lastra says:

    Okay. Ill be the proverbial fly in the ointment. Making a living as a woodworker is dang hard. Too many of us go out to the shop after work or on weekends and we’re intoxicated by the Norman Rockwell-ism of our own creation and the thrill of completing our own creations in a vacuum. total freedom from the mind numbing scene that plays out every day for those who have chosen working wood as their life’s work. Here’s a reality check: you go to work woodworking and you quickly find out just how little actual woodworking you do comparatively to the business end. You juggle advertising, marketing, overhead, payroll, costs, etc, etc. And you WILL do this even if you work alone. That once cheery little hovel you encamped yourself in for its pure enjoyment will feel more like an anvil hung on your neck if you take it seriously. Its no longer fun. Its work. Did I say this before? Making a living as a woodworker is dang hard. You can have all the creative skill in the world and the design sense of Krenov but you damn well better have a sense for business and a healthy dose of luck. Read the book “Boss”. Over and Over. Read Nancy Hillers book. If you have a stay at home spouse or significant other forget it. Unless someone appears as your creative benefactor. If you’ve never thought about a “process” which takes your time and work procedure and makes it hum with efficiency, forget it. If you finish by hand and have never bought and learned spray finishing, forget it. Now if you can deal with this little snippet and you have no qualms about making $35,000 a year and can see that fitting into your current lifestyle with its current obligations, then I say put your head down and charge ahead. If you can’t, forget it. Enjoy the hobby for what it is. What do I say this? Been there. Done that. Its now back to being a hobby for me and I love every second of it for what it is. Lest I forget, I was and am successful, despite my ulcer, heart condition, and kidney disease, that I didn’t have BEFORE i started working wood professionally.

    • Yup. I like cooking for people, but working as a chef, grinding out 150 covers a night? No thanks. A job needs to be something you can be ok doing 40+ hours a week.

    • Joe says:

      I’m quite happy keeping my woodworking as a hobby. Plenty I want to build for my home. Toss in a holiday botique and making a piece for my schools annual auction and I get enough joy to last the year. I also figure if I want to make a little cash (for more wood) I could do Etsy.

  11. johncashman73 says:

    I disagree with those that think success is based only on hard work and frugality. It just isn’t so.

    In the words of the great philosopher, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.”

  12. Drew Lastra says:

    For anyone who cares to check
    this out, the book I referenced
    earlier which I called”Boss” is
    actually titled “Boss Life” by
    woodworker Paul Downs. A
    very insightful read.

  13. aaronkessman says:

    I’m not sure what that guy in the picture above is doing, but he’s not using the drill press. It’s not plugged in.

  14. Bruce Lee says:

    Is that a young Roy Underhill facing the camera in the toy maker’s workshop? More than a passing resemblance……

  15. Barry MacDonald says:

    Lets make fun of people with creative dreams and call them all basket weavers. Ha ha ha. What the heck is a “waitron” anyway?

  16. Cameron Watt says:

    Comedian Dusty Ruch said it best: …take an empty canvas and paint your f****** rent onto that. Your rent, your electricity bill, medical aid for the child you mistakenly made….Being an artist and following your dreams is difficult. Don’t let them bull**** you, children. It’s not for everyone.

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