It probably goes without saying that the majority of people would prefer not to work in a cubicle.
After all, staring at a migraine-producing computer screen while sitting in an upright chair under skin-yellowing fluorescent lights for nine hours a day is not the image most people conjure up when they hear the words “life purpose.”
For highly creative people, however (including those who refer to themselves as sensitive, intuitive, artistic, empathic, or gifted), being stuck in a cubicle can feel like drowning in a sea of missed opportunities and unmet potential. The thought of sitting in an office space that offers this kind of energy feels soul-crushing. Not only this, but the idea of living like this for the rest of their lives sends physical shudders through their bodies and can send them into a depressive spiral for months on end. Screw needing to buy groceries and pay rent. They’d rather starve and live in the forest (or so they say to themselves in moments of desperation).
Common advice for such people is to simply “get out.” Quit your job, find a meaningful career, and make lots of money doing it. This possibility is highly appealing, and there are plenty of success stories out there for them to read about. Highly creative people crave work that speaks directly to their heart and soul. They want to make a difference in the world; they want to help people, share their art, create a story, and/or send a meaningful and powerful message to people in need. And not only this, but they want to make a living doing it, independently and honestly.
The struggle comes during the in-between time: the time between when they realize what their life purpose is, and when it becomes lucrative enough that it can support them. Depending on their chosen passion(s), this could take months or even years. It could even take a lifetime if they’ve chosen a passion that simply cannot support them in the way they need to not just survive, but thrive. Because let’s be honest: it’s no joke that having a calming home, nutritionally dense food, and a mattress that allows you to get a full eight hours of sleep each night really does make a difference in your ability to work toward your dreams.
So, even though the highly creative person wants to quit their job, it may not be practical at the moment when they finally realize what their gift is, and how they need to share it with the world. In fact, at the very moment they realize their purpose, they may have a family to support, a house payment to be made, or they may simply prefer to retain the lifestyle that their current job provides them with.
There is nothing wrong with this.
Having a day job to support yourself is not shameful.
You have not failed yourself. You have not given up. You have not stopped loving yourself, as much as well-meaning others try to tell you. Just because you haven’t quit your job, moved to Bali, and started a six figure business at the age of 23 does not mean you are a failure.
You have simply decided that in order to feel secure, happy, and safe, you need that extra income and stability until your dreams come true (or in some cases, while you’re living out your dreams for the remainder of your beautiful life).
So take this post as a reminder that you’re not alone. Countless people, whether they consider themselves creative or not (and we all are, trust me), don’t revel in the idea of remaining in a cubicle for the rest of their lives. Yet these same people have deliberative, responsible, need-for-stability qualities about their personalities that require them to remain where they are until their creative passion can finally support them (or not).
My hope is that this blog gives you some inspiration, hope, humor, and a sense of connection with others like you while you work toward your dreams and the things in life that light your soul on fire.
Remember, you haven’t given up. You’ve only just begun.