I’m Tired of People Saying I Need Practical Career Goals

13 Jun

Dream8Follow My Dreams… Or Nah?

Since I’m trying out this whole “responsible adult” thing, I’ve been reading all these career advice articles for young adults with titles like “20 Things You Need to Accept in Your 20’s,” and “Things They Don’t Tell You About Your 20’s.”

The recurring theme in most of them: Life is shitty, student loans will suck you dry, and there are hardly any jobs out there so you should settle for whatever job you can scrounge.

Oh, Thanks y’all. I feel pretty encouraged. -__-

So, follow my dreams… Or nah?

 My life goals are, by most people’s standards, very impractical— I’m like Lynn from my favorite throwback show Girlfriends: I have several passions I want to pursue, I do all I can to avoid becoming a corporate slave, and if I could, I would stay in school for a while and get a few master’s degrees.

While some people can (or have to) put aside their life goals, that is simply not an option for me. I cannot function without writing. I literally write for my health—for now. Somewhere down the road, there are a few Oprah’s Book Club novels published with my name on the cover, I’ll have several by-lines in my favorite publications, and I’ll eventually step into the title of Editor and Chief of something fantastic.

But for now, I’m living on a blog and a dream.

For us dreamers, it’s easy to get discouraged—especially in a society where we expect everyone to make “practical” decisions and get “sensible” jobs. It’s difficult to hold on to your goals when people say that you’re too much of an idealist, that you won’t be able to support yourself, and that your dreams are hobbies, not careers. Sometimes, I even say those things to myself.

But “practical” doesn’t always work when idealists feel called to do creative work. And in answering that calling, we have to be resilient against the Naysayers and negativity.

Dream1So I created a 7-point list of things I’ve committed to doing in order stay on the right path of my vocation.

  • Stop calling my dreams “impractical.” For me, impractical can sometimes be a synonym for impossible. I gotta let the word go before I can fully accept that I’ll be successful. Instead, I’ll assume that under the right conditions, all of my goals are possible.
  • Look at all of the success stories of other people. If other people have done it, I can do it too. I have an editor friend over at Ms. Magazine in her early 20’s and loving her dream job. One of my favorite bloggers financially supports his family of 6 using his blog. Maya Angelou’s life journey, where she went from sex worker to waitress, to dancer, to actress, to award-winning author, is nothing short of amazing. These awesome examples give me hope.
  • Dream bigger. My friends often come up with the coolest ideas for my blog and my career. I usually think their ideas are too hard to accomplish, but I quickly realize that it isn’t that they are too hard—it’s just that I don’t believe I can do them. Thinking about all of their ideas I mentally shot down, I realize that I need to break out of my “I cant” prison and believe in myself a little more.
  • Keep making moves toward reaching the goals. I’m committing to writing more often (so look out for my posts y’all) and pitching to publications as often as I can.


  • Celebrate small victories. I treat myself to something every time I publish an article. I celebrate when my blog stats are higher than usual. These accomplishments bring me closer to my ultimate goal—so I’ll drink to that 😉Dream5
  • Support other people’s dreams. What goes around definitely comes back around. So I’ve began supporting other writers and artists in whatever ways I can. Sometimes just showing up for people goes a long way.
  • Talk to God. My spiritual foundation is what constantly rejuvenates my desire to write. Sometimes prayer and my church music really get me through difficult days when I’m questioning my calling. Thank God!


If you need a little more motivation, check out this article from the Daily Muse:
10 Quotes That’ll Inspire You to Dream Big

Got any advice for me? What do you do to stay on you path to reach your vocation?

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  40. Alyssa June 14, 2014 at 8:10 PM #

    Yeah girl. It’s easy to get a BAD case of the twenty-somethings when you’re living day to do, doing the same thing over and over. But something that has helped me is to see everyday as something fresh and new. Maybe today will present an opportunity that yesterday’s circumstances wouldn’t have permitted. Live for today, dream for tomorrow. You’re so inspiring. Write on…


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  41. Wendy S. June 13, 2014 at 6:05 PM #

    Oh, Shae. This is such a wonderful article. I used to read all those “essential” what you need to do/know in your (insert age), but I don’t anymore. I find them discouraging, impractical (Hah! Take that!), and generic. It’s those kinds of articles that make you feel like you’re doing something wrong with your life.

    I can totally relate to you when you say you’re doing everything you can to avoid becoming a corporate slave. It’s a little harder for me because my family background is business. I was criticized when I wanted to become a biologist, imagine saying I want to write and teach. I maybe did a couple times at first, got some weird looks like “how the hell are you gonna support yourself?” and finally stopped explaining myself to people who are unwilling to understand my passion.

    As for how I stay on my path, I try to do something everyday that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, no matter how small. The little accomplishments make me feel happy, and that’s all that really counts. They slowly add up to greater happiness and eventually you’ll reach the goal you have set for yourself. Sometimes I get sidetracked, but as long as it’s something I truly enjoy, I see no problem in that. For example, my current passion project is making homemade shampoo from scratch. It might seem like a silly thing to do, but it’s also a step towards my goal of living a healthy life. Plus, it’s kinda cool learning how to make soap. 😉

    Just keep your head held high and move toward your dream, girl! From what I can tell, you’re doing just wonderfully. 😀


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