In the struggle to integrate work with a meaningful, fun, and fulfilling life, many of us find our big dreams colliding with our occupational realities. As much as we'd like to be starting our own businesses, finishing our novels, selling our albums, or getting out to those casting calls, we feel chained to our chairs, shackled to our spreadsheets, drowned in our dead-end day jobs.

And the prevailing wisdom is that you just have to quit the job, cut the cord, take the leap from the job that you tolerate to the work that you love. Unfortunately, following that wisdom has led far too many people to financial ruin, frustrated ambitions, and unfulfilled dreams. There's a better way -- and it doesn't involve quitting your day job to chase your dreams.


Jon Acuff著作的书,《辞职高手》(Quitter),有许多富有智慧的理念,解释为什么保留日常工作是达成梦想较好的途径。这些是Acuff列下的几个原因:








Don't be a quitter

Jon Acuff's book, Quitter, is filled with wise ideas about why keeping your day job is a better path to achieving your dreams. Here are just some of the reasons Acuff gives for keeping your day job while you pursue your dreams:

When you have a day job that meets your financial needs, you have thefreedom to pursue only the things that move you closer to your dreams. When you quit your day job, you might have to say "yes" to things that make you money while actually pulling you further off course.

When you have a day job that you can contain and control, you have the time to truly plan your strategy, make connections, and lay the groundwork while still making an income.

When you have a day job that isn't quite your dream, you have the motivationto hustle in ways that move your dream forward.

From his experience and perspective, the people who build and actually achieve their biggest dreams aren't those that cut the cord rashly and irresponsibility. Instead, they're the ones you have the discipline and determination to use their current situations to support their ambitions. Here are some quotations from Quitter to give you some food for thought:

"When you keep your day job, all opportunities become surplus propositions rather than deficit remedies. You only have to take the ones that suit your dream best."

"Quitting a job doesn't jump-start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose, and progress to succeed. That stuff has to happen before you quit your day job."

"I know it sounds crazy, but people with jobs tend to have more creative freedom than people without."



另一方面,许多杰出人物,包括一些简直是天才的人,都这么做到了。一年多前,商业记者Lydia Dishman在Fast Company的网页上刊登了一篇文章,命名为《10位没有辞掉工作的著名创意人士》。以下是其中突出的例子:

达斯汀·霍夫曼(Dustin Hoffman)一开始就想当古典钢琴家。他20岁初期就开始演戏,但这不足以支付他的生活费。他在1967年在电影扮演《毕业生》(The Graduate)里的突出电影角色之前,曾任职戏剧演员,同时曾兼职侍应生(那当然)、临时打字员(不足为奇)、Macy's百货公司的玩具示范员。他也曾兼职纽约精神病学研究所的助手,当时的其中一个职责就是在病人接受电休克治疗时将他们按住。

雕刻家Richard Serra、作曲家Philip Glass 及 Steve Reich、演员兼作家 Spalding Gray 及画家兼摄影师Chuck Close 都曾经在他们创作作品、创造名誉的同时,在Serra的“廉价搬迁”( Low Rate Movers)公司任职家具搬运员。之前也当过水管工人和德士司机的Glass回忆,他曾有一名顾客对他说,他和某位著名的作曲家同名同姓。

作家Kurt Vonnegut在他出版了广受好评的《自动演奏钢琴》(Player Piano)的五年后,曾在科德角创立和经营了一家 Saab 经销商。但是,生意却彻底地失败了。Vonnegut 曾调侃道,“我相信我那么久前作为经销商的失败,解释了这个深之迷,就是瑞典人为什么从来没有颁诺贝尔文学奖给我。”Vonnegut 在汽车商务遇上麻烦之前,也曾担任新闻记者,以及通用电气的公关。

当然,这个名单可以列个不停。Jeff Koons曾是股票经纪人. Mark Rothko曾在小学教书。Julian Schnabel 曾是洗碗员。Keith Haring 曾是打杂员。Patti Smith曾在旧书商工作。

Finding creative freedom in your day job

At this point, some of you might be thinking, "Yeah, that sounds great, but I have a demanding job that consumes all my energy, time, and resources." Sure. I get it. It is not easy to follow your passion(s) while also fulfilling that dream of having some food in your fridge and the electricity to keep it cold.

On the other hand, many accomplished folks -- and some outright geniuses -- have done exactly that. A little over a year ago, business journalist Lydia Dishmanpublished an article on Fast Company's site called "10 Famous Creative Minds That Didn't Quit Their Day Jobs." Here are some of the highlights:

Dustin Hoffman, who started out wanting to be a classical pianist, started acting in his early 20's, but that did not pay the bills. While working as a theater actor before his 1967 breakthrough film role in The Graduate, he also worked as a waiter (of course), a temporary typist (not surprising), a toy demonstrator at Macy's, and an assistant at the New York Psychiatric Institute, where one of his responsibilities was holding patients down while they received shock treatments.

Sculptor Richard Serra, composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich, actor/writer Spalding Gray, painter/photographer Chuck Close all worked as furniture movers for Serra's Low Rate Movers company while building their oeuvres and reputations. Glass, who also worked as a plumber and a taxi driver, recalls one of his fares informing him that he shared a name with a very famous composer.

Five years after publishing the critically acclaimed Player Piano, writer Kurt Vonnegut opened and managed a Saab dealership on Cape Cod. Unfortunately, the business was a miserable failure. Vonnegut once quipped, "I believe my failure as a dealer so long ago explains what would otherwise remain a deep mystery: why the Swedes have never given me a Nobel Prize for literature." Prior to his misadventures in automotive commerce, Vonnegut worked as a news reporter and as a public relations flack for General Electric.

Of course, this list could go on and on. Jeff Koons was a stockbroker. Mark Rothkotaught elementary school. Julian Schnabel was a dishwasher. Keith Haring was a busboy. Patti Smith worked in a used bookstore.




寻找一份不需用到太多精力的工作。对有些人来说,追逐梦想的最佳途径,就是阻力最小的那个途径。Philip Glass在忙于搬运家具、驾驶德士与修理厕所的当儿,创作了惊人数目的作品。他谈论这个时期时说,“我故意选择了那些对我完全没有意义的工作。”但是我怀疑,Glass从工作上遇见的人和经历的事所得到的灵感,都以某种形式出现在他的作品里头。这刚好把我们带到第三个策略。



Keep your day job without killing your dreams

So what can you do to keep your day job without killing your dreams? Like all difficult questions, there's no single right answer, and as I've found with my coaching clients, the right solution for you won't be the right solution for anyone else. Nevertheless, here are a few possible strategies to consider when figuring out how to hold onto all the benefits -- tangible and intangible -- of a day job while still making progress toward those big ambitions:

Find an intersection between your day job and your dream. That job in the marketing department might seem like a soul-sucking grind, but might there be things you can learn from it that will make your business or your artistic endeavor more successful. On the other hand, is it possible that your experience marketing your band's CDs might actually help your employer be more successful? The ideal arrangement is if your day job somehow feeds into your dream and vice versa. Finding ways to connect the dots between how you make your living and the life you want to make is a strategy that helps many people keep their heads and their hearts while keeping their jobs.

Find a job that requires as little energy as possible. For some folks, the best path to pursuing their dreams is the one of least resistance. Philip Glass composed a truly shocking number of works while laboring in furniture moving, taxi driving, and toilet repair. Of this time, he says, "I was careful to take a job that couldn't possibly have any meaning for me." I suspect, however, that the inspiration Glass took from the people he met and experiences he had in these jobs showed up in his compositions in some way -- which brings us to the third strategy.

View your day job through the lens of your dream. Day jobs -- especially corporate ones -- get a bad rap for being heartless, faceless vampires that sap your will to live, much less dream. The truth, however, is that a job is a rich sources of experiences. You meet interesting (if sometimes maddening) people. You solve difficult (and ideally worthwhile) problems. You learn useful skills. Any and all of these things might provide inspiration for your art or girders for your business, if you shift your perspective and start looking at your day job differently.

Be practical. Many day jobs provide benefits that make dreams more achievable. Obviously, you should be using the money you make to invest in the development of your dream, but there are many other ways to use your day job practically to support your ambitions. If your employer provides tuition reimbursement or other training benefits, use them to build your knowledge, skills, and credentials. If you have access to relevant networking opportunities through your employer, take advantage of them to connect with more like-minded folks. If you have paid time off, use it occasionally to put time into your business.


有太多善意的忠告会告诉我们说,如果要创造有意义的生活,就要放开日常工作,一头栽进你的梦想。遗憾的是,梦想很少会带来日常工作所有的安全、保障及稳定。喜剧演员兼评论员Joe Rogan呼吁人们勇敢抉择的忠告,是出自善意,但是我质疑他的忠告的智慧与信心:


要实现我们今生应该实现的事,我们就要全力以赴。就如Vonnegut 在《茫茫黑夜》(Mother Night)里写道,“我们就像我们所假装的那样,所以我们要谨慎自己假装什么。

Keep your head and your heart while keeping your job

Far too much well-meaning advice tells you that, in order to create a meaningful life, you have to ditch the day job dive headlong into your dreams. Unfortunately, dreams rarely come with the safety, security, and stability that good day jobs offer. Comedian and commentator Joe Rogan means well in encouraging people to take the leap, but I question both the wisdom and the confidence of his assertions:

There's no shame in wanting safety, security, and stability. At the same time, it doesn't have to come at the cost of pursuing and achieving your highest ambitions. It is possible to keep your head and your heart -- and your dreams and desires -- while keeping your job. I've watched friends, family, and coaching clients do it, and I've done it myself. Don't buy the all-or-nothing, black-and-white, cut-and-dried perspective that tells you to quit your job. You're smarter than that. And when you take a smart approach to pursuing your passions, you can both do what you love and love what you do.

To achieve all that we were meant to achieve in this life, we must bring our whole selves to work -- and to everything that we do. As Vonnegut wrote in Mother Night, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."