At age 25, would you pursue a high-paying corporate job that makes you unhappy or a hobby that makes you happy but has no guarantee of paying the bills? What would you advise?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Ruben Cooke



At age 25, would you pursue a high-paying corporate job that makes you unhappy or a hobby that makes you happy but has no guarantee of paying the bills? What would you advise?

I am a 38 year old American boy who did not contemplate what you are doing at 25. I chased the dot.bom boom with pay raises of 68,000, 105,000 and 120,000 in 24 months in Silicon Valley from the east coast of 1999 (high compensation for a college student during those years). I was raised frugally, so I saved and invested blindly like a good boy with no goal in sight. I quit, been laid off, or fired from 9 jobs since then, the longest stints at a video game maker, a large investment bank, and insurance, all as a systems administrator or network engineer (switch / router / firewall). (The bank

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I am a 38 year old American boy who did not contemplate what you are doing at 25. I chased the dot.bom boom with pay raises of 68,000, 105,000 and 120,000 in 24 months in Silicon Valley from the east coast of 1999 (high compensation for a college student during those years). I was raised frugally, so I saved and invested blindly like a good boy with no goal in sight. I quit, been laid off, or fired from 9 jobs since then, the longest stints at a video game maker, a large investment bank, and insurance, all as a systems administrator or network engineer (switch / router / firewall). (The bank was faithful to everything rotten written about IB sweatshop conditions and psychological treatment / environment)

It started to suck really bad in 2007-2008 when everyone around me was fired and left with the bag for 3 times the amount of work with the same pay. I wanted to have children and tell everyone to go for a walk and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was a SLAVE who worked between 60 and 90 hours a week FROM HOME with a large mortgage; No nights or weekends or vacations really for me. You would think that working from home is a bed of roses, not so much. There were no limits, they would call me for an "emergency" at any time or place. It was HELL of my own making. I was angry, I complained, I was irritable, I couldn't sleep, etc. I even developed a lower back problem from sitting and working too hard. To cope, I started doing P90X and running every day. As I ran, I listened to self-help audio on an iPod.

After a few months I realized that this could not continue. I was 30 years old and had wasted my 20s working like a beaten horse in search of a ladder that the social hierarchy would never allow me to climb. I would go to the office once a month and in every corner office sat men over 6 feet of All American White bread (or those close enough to portray themselves as such). All the grunting of the workers during the long hours, the lifting of heavy objects, the creative thinking, all had varying degrees of darker skin or were non-American. Let's say my morale was low. The icing on the cake came when a guy 2 levels above me quit and a hole in A total stepped in. The job instantly went from overworked but defiant to overtly abusive and hostile. He needed to find the exit door fast.

I started following the self-help tips and started reading about different careers and job options about 5 years ago. I went through everything including doing an MBA, CFA, financial engineering, coin business, fast food franchises, a gym, network marketing, etc. They all had similar characteristics of convincing someone else of my worth to perform a task they couldn't. or they wouldn't do it themselves; none of the things I found desirable. I searched until I found stock trading. Technical analysis and speculative trading to be more precise.

I took a basic online course, got a massive archive of e-books, and read / analyzed over 200 books and found some authors that I found challenging, original, and great. I studied and read his books 3, then 6 and now more than 9 times. I practiced, started trading my own accounts and implementing an income strategy. Most of the time I was on my own and did my best to hold my tongue while working in a hostile, passive-aggressive work situation. I waited until I was fired from my super horrible slavery job so I could get any severance pay and state unemployment.

Now I can say that I am a FREE man. I still don't earn all the money I did at my last job with my investments, yet. But I am effectively retired at 38 years old. When people ask, I find it necessary to answer that I am a stay-at-home parent. Saying that I invest, trade, am unemployed or retired makes people visibly uncomfortable. No family member, friend or stranger, except my mother and my wife, who have told the truth, has ever expressed happiness for me; quite the opposite, but this is not the forum to squeeze those sour grapes. (Hence this anonymous Quora answer.) Real estate agents prefer to hear that I am unemployed, with my bottom dollar, and aspire to be financially dependent on a W-2 job that I could lose at any moment; Instead of looking at a statement showing a cash balance, a portfolio of assets that returns more income than I spend, is taxed much less than a W-2, cannot be taken away from me, and continues to grow. My guess is because it somehow alters conformity. This is an unexpected unintended consequence of not needing / having a job. I didn't see it coming and it causes me some sadness. Somehow I have lost the privilege of being open with people by not having a job to label my name and my face. I didn't see it coming and it causes me some sadness. Somehow I have lost the privilege of being open with people by not having a job to label my name and my face. I didn't see it coming and it causes me some sadness. Somehow I have lost the privilege of being open with people by not having a job to label my name and my face.

I cover all my family and my expenses and a travel and entertainment budget with passive investment income. I add to it with opportunistic swing and daily operations. I spend my days learning and playing happily with my family, going to family and friends events, traveling, etc. I work actively every day to forget the past, leave regret and anger behind, forget those who have done me wrong.

I practice and apply my analytical and negotiation skills on a daily basis as I implement wealth accumulation through more active strategies so that I can pass on experience, knowledge and evidence to my future generation. I do not answer emails or phones for any homework or master pay. I do not convince anyone of, I hope, I ask, I beg or I demand a raise of salary. I don't have an older boss to tell me what I'm worth; who, incidentally, is not intelligent or persistent enough to free himself from Debt and Labor Bondage; And it's had MORE chronological years to do it! I don't have a social or corporate ladder to go up or down, just money and Freedom. Judge me for chasing money But without him I would be hostage to a very abusive job nightmare that would affect all my friends and family. In my life, money and freedom are forces of good, not evil.

In short, I basically just swallowed the blue pill; and Morpheus never demanded an option when he was 21 years old. I had foolishly resigned myself to a standard white-collar middle-class existence. I wanted more, but didn't know that nothing else was possible. I went to a large high school of over 4000 students where the guidance counselor was useless and negligent. Maybe I was one of those who slipped away. I stuck my head in the sand and did what a middle-class American in search of upward mobility was supposed to do: I went to school, I integrated a sport into my identity, I went to college, I got a job, I integrated a job. With my identity, I climbed the ladder, loaded myself with a mortgage, up to the classic midlife crisis age zone. In the last 5 years I was kicked so hard that I fell. But there was no one like Trinity waiting to give me truthful answers. It wasn't the story of Neo's hero, Skywalker, Bilbo, Harry Potter that everyone loves. I actively searched for answers, reading, a lot. The answers were always there for decades and I was a student who just wasn't even ready to understand the questions: Lao Tze was right thousands of years ago. "The teacher will appear when the student is ready."

My advice for choosing how you will spend most of your time and days between your 20s and 30s is not to choose which institutional ladder to try to climb or to necessarily try to turn a hobby into an income. Instead, explore a wide range of income possibilities and study how exactly they INTERSECT with capitalism. My opinion is that you don't need a job, you need an income. The 2 are NOT the same. Chaining your income, identity, and self-esteem to a job or career is mathematically and psychologically dangerous. This danger is the reason midlife crises exist in the first place. Strive to avoid it.

Some industries are very abstracted from how they translate into money, like becoming a syndicated cartoonist where you have to jump through hoops of fire to get it right. Other areas, such as commerce, are right where the rubber meets the road; so it keeps what it kills and doesn't ask for permissions, but it can't hide any glitches from the numbers either. Two extreme examples, but if you look, it's a very wide and deep world. If you live in a capitalist country, study Capitalism: Labor, Property, and Capital; how they are related and how you can use them. I recommend not focusing on how to be a skilled employee on someone else's machine; I did, and was ultimately disappointed in reality when salary money was used to chain my freedom in a W-2 bondage cage.

Be ridiculously tenacious about everything related to your future and prosperity. Try more than you think you can do and use your TIME and efforts to generate money. Question your beliefs about what you think is possible in a lifetime. Generate as much discretionary FREE TIME as you can! Then use your time to do what you really love to do and build more wealth, also known as spare time. I love playing with my son and drawing superheroes, so that's what I do with my free time. Those are my HOBBIES and I like to do them. So I didn't think it was a great idea for me to open a daycare center or an apprentice as a comic book inker, etc. From your original question, IMHO, I think maybe it's better to keep the hobbies separate or you run the risk of them turning into an albatross. .

When you have free time, your thoughts and your inner voice change. You become more creative and the world opens up. If you are serving a W-2 salary teacher, your ego / inner voice is not yours and is held captive. Aim for time and debt freedom. For me, I am very technical and analytical, willing to experiment with myself, and not with an ethnic majority. So I found / chose something that would exploit my strengths and circumvent my weaknesses. I chose to decouple my income from my facial features and skin color. I created my own meritocracy and escaped from the social constructions of favoritism and institutional hierarchical order. But that's only one extreme that works for an individual; there are many shades of gray in between.

Find the intersection of what you're good at and something you like, then EXPLODE it through capitalism to the best of your ability, and then some more just in case. If there isn't an advantageous recipe for you yet, create one (also known as entrepreneurship). That will create a surplus of money that you can store in your spare time. That intersection may not be on an institutional scale. My intersection certainly wasn't and it took me about 14 years to figure that out. I do not recommend trying to integrate your Hobby with your income. It may be too restrictive to start. From your original question, you are essentially contemplating an intersection with your hobby, income / spending requirements, and capitalism. While it is not impossible, it may not be the best way to leverage your talents and strengths. My hobby was not technical analysis or trading; he knew nothing about it and had developed "focus avoidance" through propaganda, ignorance, and misunderstandings. But I already had a skills, education, and personality base for what I needed and I dug deep to acquire additional skills for more time and income leveraged on equity; completely out of my hobbies. I did not deny what my strengths were despite a conditioned fear of money and markets. And as an evolution, now I just have more hobbies. completely out of my hobbies. I did not deny what my strengths were despite a conditioned fear of money and markets. And as evolution, now I just have more hobbies. completely out of my hobbies. I did not deny what my strengths were despite a conditioned fear of money and markets. And as an evolution, now I just have more hobbies.

Yes, I recommend that you take advantage of your natural gifts. If you are smart, use it. Creative, use it. Attractive, wear it. Dexterous, use it. Able to think abstractly, use it. Have a great working memory, use it. Athletic, wear it. Have 10,000 friends, use it. Usain Bolt loved Cricket as a child (his hobby), but his gifts are commitment, focus, charisma, size, and speed (his strengths). If he had followed his love of cricket, he would not be a world track champion or the fastest man in the world.

You don't have to hit psychological rock bottom and wait for the midlife crisis to kick your butt, or maybe it will. Be honest with your hand in life, what you have won, where you have fallen short and what you are not, then choose some new tools and punish your bag full of tricks for all their value to generate and store wealth for improve your luck in life with more freedom. In my experience, happiness, unhappiness, or hobby should carry less weight in guiding your choices than the potential of Freedom and your natural strengths.

"Let your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." N. Mandela

I was a partner in a large law firm in the summer of 2016. I had been practicing law for twelve years, and while it wasn't a job I hated, it wasn't the kind of job that made me happy. I brought the office home every night, brooded over work problems when I should have been sleeping, and disconnected from my wife on the kids.

Before law school, I wanted to write music, poetry, creative nonfiction, but worries about paying the bills and supporting my family held me back. I kept writing additionally, even when I was a lawyer. I wrote a book and worked as a freelance writer

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I was a partner in a large law firm in the summer of 2016. I had been practicing law for twelve years, and while it wasn't a job I hated, it wasn't the kind of job that made me happy. I brought the office home every night, brooded over work problems when I should have been sleeping, and disconnected from my wife on the kids.

Before law school, I wanted to write music, poetry, creative nonfiction, but worries about paying the bills and supporting my family held me back. I kept writing additionally, even when I was a lawyer. I wrote a book and worked as a freelance writer and editor on side projects. Writing seemed like a more genuine extension of who I was, but still, I wasn't sure I could turn it into a living wage.

That September, a literary agent called me and asked if I would be willing to write a book with a gentleman who had battled ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) for over a decade. I agreed to explore the idea and two days later the agent and his client, John, called. I answered the call in my office and listened as John shared the wisdom he had gained in his fight against ALS.

John asked me if I would fly to Colorado and get to know its history a little better. In a season of professional distress and need for a break, I accepted.

In the week we were together, John told me about his life. He had been a successful businessman, he said, and had excelled in various industries. He had made a fortune in his own way, doing the things that fueled his passions, not the things that simply paid the bills. There were times, he said, when he had to do whatever it took to make ends meet, but those were just seasons, gateways to other exciting opportunities and projects.

Towards the end of my time with John, he asked a difficult question.

"Are you passionate about the practice of law?"

"I don't hate it, although it is quite stressful." I said, then I added "and it's pretty safe."

"That's not what I asked," he said.

It was a moment of clarity, a moment when I read John's question between the lines. Life is too short to work in a job that I am not passionate about because of the illusion of security. What is security? Could none of us wake up with a terminal diagnosis?

I left Colorado knowing that I had to pursue my passion, to write. A year has passed and I have not regretted it for a moment. I have discovered how to earn a living wage, and my wife and children comment that I am more present.

That said, he was 38 years old before he left the "high-paying corporate job." It was long, slow years of transition from my hobby to a full-time income. Those years in the corporate world fueled my drive for creative production and ultimately helped me understand how to build a business from scratch. Without those skills, I couldn't have created a sustainable business model out of my passion, my hobby.

Taking the corporate job and pursuing your hobby are not mutually exclusive propositions. But if you take that higher paying job, don't lose sight of your passion. Instead, let work fuel your hobby. Learn from the corporate model. See if you can teach him how to build a sustainable business out of his hobby. And when you figure out how to transition into your hobby, when you learn to do what you love, you will work every day for the rest of your life.

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