So, you love film, fashion, writing, design, the arts…
You really love it… really, REALLY love it.
You love it so much that you’ve had ‘the conversation’ with yourself, your friends, your parents… the conversation that asks:
Should you follow your love of creativity and turn it into a career?
Your mum wants you to be a solicitor. Your dad warns you of high competition in the creative industries but tells you to follow your heart.
What does that mean?!!
What should you do?
This is a big one for people leaving school and uni… should you follow your heart or your head, or try to find a middle ground?
It’s hard to know.
Every industry’s different; every company’s different, but in general, they share the same pros and cons, all of which need careful consideration.
First of all, the pros, because it’s nice to stay positive. Like a Christmas Day lunch, let’s avoid the brussel sprouts… for now.
- You can be artsy and creative (er, no shit…)
- You should have varied days
- You should be surrounded by interesting, driven, creative people
- You should feel more involved/committed to your work, if you love what you’re doing (or at least like what you’re doing)
- You (probably) won’t have to wear a suit
- It’s transferable work, meaning you can easily jump from one type of media work to another, without much re-training
- It’s international work, meaning it can be taken up anywhere worldwide (as opposed to lawyers, for instance, who can only practice law where they’re qualified to practice law)
And now for the brussel sprouts.
- Most creative jobs pay eye-wateringly low salaries in comparison to other professions (especially in your early years)
- It’s highly competitive, making it difficult to land even a badly paying job
- There’s tonnes of ego, meaning there’ll be people who think they’re more important than they actually are, strutting around, demanding lattes every five minutes (although this is true for many lines of work)
- You’ll probably have to do mundane, repetitive chores, especially at the start of your career (although, again, this is true for many jobs)
- You’ll face long days, and there’s usually the expectation for junior staff to work overtime for free, without complaint, as “you love your job, and don’t want to lose it, so run along and grab us a latte!”
- And on that note: unpaid work. It’s often demanded at the start of creative careers, and often lasts longer than is reasonable… or even legal.
So there it is. You have the low down.
If you still think you’ll love it, then should you give it a go? I’d say, yes. You’re young, hungry, and able to remember coffee orders. You’re also young enough to make mistakes. Use these years to try things, and try again, and hopefully you’ll fall in love with the creative industries.
It may go tits up, but you can start again… or flee the country – and for more on that, be sure to read HIRED, FIRED, FLED, my career adventure covering 14 jobs worked in 15 years, across four continents.
Article contributed by Charlie Raymond, author of HIRED, FIRED, FLED, available on Amazon.