Which would you prefer?
Job I Love
72.3% (162)
72.3% (162)
Job That Pays Best
27.7% (62)
27.7% (62)
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Poll: Job you love, or job that pays high?

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So I've run into a little problem with my future plans. I love drawing, anything from comics to character concept creation to animation. The problem I run into is I know too many people that have gotten art degrees and have done nothing with them and most places don't even require one. One of my friends who is an industry vet says that my style and ability to adopt new styles and changes as quickly as I do and being completely self-taught would help my future if I tried to get in to any internships or gigs.

However, I also run into the knowledge that an art degree feels rather useless (no offence to anyone with one, I know I'm likely very wrong). I originally set out to obtain an engineering degree because another passion of mine has been tinkering with and building robots and machines. However after taking a few classes, I began to feel like it was not right for me despite still wanting to go through with it because I know engineers are in high demand and get paid very well.

It brought up the question, should I abandon engineering and just try to get a job doing artwork? Or should I stick with it while getting more in debt with student loans, and try to get a job as an engineer?

Which would you do if you were in this scenario?

This is going to sound like a cop-out. But I'd pick the job that pays enough while still being reasonably non-soul-crushing.

I don't believe that fun-jobs exist (for me), I have never heard of anything I would enjoy doing for 40 hours a week that people actually get paid to do. However, I also don't feel a terrible need to become independently wealthy. The job I have now pays well enough for me to afford my style of living without me dreading going to work every day. It's a compromise I personally find the best option.

I've never been one for money. While I wouldn't say I grew up poorly, we still didn't have enough money. I learned to make do with little at a young age. And I applied for my dream career when the pay was fairly shit for what I would be doing but I chose it anyway.

Do something you want to do, not because you want money.

Eleuthera:
This is going to sound like a cop-out. But I'd pick the job that pays enough while still being reasonably non-soul-crushing.

I don't believe that fun-jobs exist (for me), I have never heard of anything I would enjoy doing for 40 hours a week that people actually get paid to do. However, I also don't feel a terrible need to become independently wealthy. The job I have now pays well enough for me to afford my style of living without me dreading going to work every day. It's a compromise I personally find the best option.

That's almost my current standpoint. Right now I'm a colourist for a webcomic and trying to get some more gigs, otherwise I sell individual pics. I don't quite make enough to live off right now, though I'm working to get a couple new tools to help me work a bit quicker (a wacom cintiq for one). At the moment, I'm also applying for an internship at Nickelodeon.

imahobbit4062:
I've never been one for money. While I wouldn't say I grew up poorly, we still didn't have enough money. I learned to make do with little at a young age. And I applied for my dream career when the pay was fairly shit for what I would be doing but I chose it anyway.

Do something you want to do, not because you want money.

I'm not all about money, I just want to be able to live comfortably. Sometimes it would also be nice to be able to point at something and go "I did that".

I'd say the latter is a higher priority at first. Once you have a decent amount of money, you can swap to the job you love.

I'm still believe I can get a job I love and pays well/decently.

Hopefully by the time I'm done studying at University, I will be able to become a game journalist which will hopefully pay me not bad. Though the reason I chose game journalism is because I love to write (Especially about my passions) and I love games, so it's kind perfect.

I guess I'm taking an optimist side to this. XD

Like you, I had the option of studying for a higher paid career or going to art school. I chose art school. And I think you're right that it's a kind of useless degree even now when I'm almost at the end of it, and I'm not even sure I'm going to have a career in art and design because too many people want to do it and many of them are better than me. But it was a fun four or five years and I learned a lot about what I love and I got to practice doing what I love and I made a lot of contacts in the industry.

I wish I could speak to you from four or five years in the future, because I couldn't say for certain if I've made the right choice or if my life is going to go to crap because I haven't chosen the more financially secure career path. HOWEVER, I will be happy so long as I can earn enough to keep a roof over my head and decent food in my belly, and if that means stocking shelves at a supermarket while only having the very odd illustration commission here and there over weekends, I think I'll be doing alright.

Don't do something you love for your regular job. Do something you enjoy, something you're good at, but not something you love.

Why? Because after doing the thing you "love" 9 hours a day, 5 days a week (not counting overtime and extra days worked to meet deadlines) you'll begin to stop loving it. Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll still "like" it, or even "find it bearable".

My advice is to do something you're good at, something that will earn you enough money to have free time to pursue your "love" during your free time, when you can really enjoy it at your own leisure.

I know this may seem like strange advice, but I have a lot of friends who "loved" programming... and now hate the sight of code because of late nights working under idiotic bosses who don't understand the complexities, demand "results", and have no clue that what they're asking is impossible. I love coding... and I still love coding... mostly because I don't do it for a living.

Now art is a risky degree to take. I'm currently studying music, which is sort of relatable, and my experience is that an art degree doesn't work the same way that other degrees do. At least not where i am. If it's strictly "art" you're going for, instead of product design and stuff, an art degree is more or less just access to resources (teachers, space, equipment) and time put aside to use them, along with opportunities to network. You can get all of that outside a school, and if the music world is comparable at all, nobody could care less about your grades, it is only your portfolio that counts (in my case, try-outs).

Now back to the risk of taking an art-degree. If you take it, you'll leave school in debt, with few opportunities to land a solid job to pay them back. In my situation, I put all my eggs in that basket when I was 16, and has been working towards a music career since. That has given me several years to develop my skills, find my niche (conductor) and network, so i am reasonably sure I will get some kind of job after i graduate. As a sort of spur-of-the-(very-drawn-out)-moment kinda thing, you don't have that advantage.

So in the end, in your shoes, I would stick to the engineering degree, while cultivating your art on the side, find teachers to help you, network and so on. It'll probably take alot of time and energy to juggle the two, but an art degree (if comparable to music) isn't excactly a walk in the park either (I have weeks i work 14-hour days non-stop, and i still strive to get on top of the load). Good thing is that you'll walk out with a useful and profitable degree to fall back on, while still having the opportunity to work with art if you have the talent, time and tenacity to continue with it.

Now, a big disclaimer: I don't know that much about a visual arts degree at all, just music, but i figure some of my experiences carries over. Please correct anything I might have gotten wrong.

Okay, before i start writing, Iīm 17 and have only worked 2 jobs, 1 of which i am currently contracted to still. The first job was as a bottle boy for the largest supermarket in town. Good pay (about 11,18$ an hour), unchanging work hours and some pretty nice coworkers. The problem is my boss was a giant A-hole (heard he had a blood clot recently and i almost cheered) who kept blaming me for things i didnīt do, forced tasks on me that i wasnīt trained to do and generally made my Mondays and Fridays hell. Understandably, i quit after 4 months.

Currently i work as a cashier in a smaller supermarket in town and i LOVE it. Everyone i work with is nice, my boss is awesome and understanding and i have enough scheduled hours and unscheduled ones to make almost the same amount of money that i used to. Therefor i favor jobs one loves over high paying ones.

Vausch:
snip

I have an art degree, an "art" job and I've been out of collage for almost 2 years now. After drawing for 8 hours a day Monday-Friday, it gets exhausting, to the point where you won't even want to work on art when you get home. My advice would be to stick with the higher paying career that you find somewhat enjoyable (engineering) and use the money you get from that to fuel your art as side projects. That way you won't have a boss, or clients telling you what you have to make (or telling you it's not good enough), you can make what you want and not get burnt out on it.

I think if it were a choice between two other genres my answer would be different.
I know a person who was very passionate about cars and wanted to be a racer or a mechanic.
Instead he worked in the finance world and ended up paying for his own race cares and racing team.
It let him drive the way he wanted to and not be effected by politics.

I think maybe hte same goes for art.
You can always make the money first, and then use your engineering experience and money to expand your art.

Job I love. I'd rather enjoy my day and get paid for it instead of being able to make slightly more and be miserable all the time. Plus if you go for a job just to make money, you will never be as good at it as something who loves doing it.

I'll take a job I love over a job that pays well any day. I've done well-paying but soul-destroying jobs and it's utterly shite. You wake up with an over-bearing sense of loathing for what you're about to go and do, you do a shift running on hate for what you are doing, and then you get home and start dreading waking up because you know what you have to go through the next day. No amount of money is worth that.

On the other hand, while if you work at something you love while you might get burned out on it, if it's something you truly love then you will bounce back and start enjoying it again. I might not make a great deal of money playing music, but I'd take that over working in an office, store or factory ever again.

All the people who say do what you love and you'll be happy were completely lying - you're not going to be happy if you're completely broke, and it will make you pretty damn stressed.

As others have said, go for something that pays well & is interesting enough that you can bear to do it for a considerable amount of time. If possible you can end up making it into a high-paying job that you enjoy...particularly if you get to a senior position which quite often translates to doing bugger all & controlling minions.

I feel you should always strive to something who love in your life, however it's always best to have backup prepared should things go not as planned. As for myself I've kind of just checked out on job satisfaction and I'm just happy to get paid a decent amount that allows me to pursue the things I actually enjoy in my spare time.

I would definitely get a higher paying job for the short term at the very least.

Be it as it may, money is a necessity. I'd spend 4-5 years building up a nice little nest egg, once I wipe my debts and GET THE GIRL OMG

sorry, once I pay off my debts I'd move into something more my style.

Vausch:

Eleuthera:
This is going to sound like a cop-out. But I'd pick the job that pays enough while still being reasonably non-soul-crushing.

I don't believe that fun-jobs exist (for me), I have never heard of anything I would enjoy doing for 40 hours a week that people actually get paid to do. However, I also don't feel a terrible need to become independently wealthy. The job I have now pays well enough for me to afford my style of living without me dreading going to work every day. It's a compromise I personally find the best option.

That's almost my current standpoint. Right now I'm a colourist for a webcomic and trying to get some more gigs, otherwise I sell individual pics. I don't quite make enough to live off right now, though I'm working to get a couple new tools to help me work a bit quicker (a wacom cintiq for one). At the moment, I'm also applying for an internship at Nickelodeon.

The cintiq isn't going to help you work faster unfortunately.

The thing with doing something you love, yet low paying, is the lack of money is going to turn it into something that you do not like. It basically defeats the purpose. Which is why you should go with something that has decent pay, yet isn't soul torturing. Maybe at one point, you can go back to that thing you love because now you're more economically secure.

Getting a job you hate for the sake of money is always a bad idea.
However getting a well-paid job you sort of enjoy over a horribly paid job you'll really enjoy is a toss-up, which is kind of the situation presented here. The other problem is that one job more or less will guarantee you getting employed, the other is kind of hard to get together. The two comments I can give to this is:

- You started asking yourself whether or not the engineering degree is something for you after "a few classes"(is that a semester, a year, whatever?). This is perfectly normal and has happened to pretty much everyone I know that's studying something difficult/useful, because you have to go through some classes that you don't really enjoy all that much. It took me a year of molecular biology where I pretty much was like "eh, is this really the field I want to work with for the rest of my life?", until my stance suddenly changed to "this is the coolest fucking thing ever and I love it". The reason was that I had to take classes that I found kind of meh, but when I got past that, it became much more enjoyable.
- If you really want to work as an artist, the most important thing is to have connections. I bolded that out because it's really important. Getting a degree in arts won't net you a job the same way an engineering degree would. Degrees and talent are factors that help, but your best shot at getting a job is to know people. So go do that. Attend stuff that might give you contacts that later might maybe need an artist, or know someone who knows someone who needs an artist, or so on.

Whatever you choose, good luck!

If I'm going to spend, what... about a quarter, of my time on this earth doing a particular activity, then it had damn well better be an activity that I enjoy, or at least one I don't dislike and can derive some satisfaction from.

Obviously there's limits. Love of the job doesn't pay the bills. But personally I can live on relatively small amounts of money, at least in my current single and childless state of being.

Use your head. It's important to have a job you enjoy, but it's even more important to have a job at all, and one that will support you sufficiently.
That being said, if you're truly fixed on becoming an artist then you're gonna have to bust your ass to get to a decent paid position. And that means networking, self promotion and loads of practice. Art is a luxury these days so there's very little demand for it.

If you're convinced that you'll make a good and profitable artist then go for it! But plan, plan, plan! Do NOT dive in on pure instinct. You MUST use your head, because in the real world no one gives a shit how much 'passion' you have about something until you start producing good results first. And I'm sure you know that people are soooo not going to step aside for you. Especially in the arts field. Art circles are amongst the BITCHIEST cliques of people I've met and there's a lot of ass-kissing and lying involved. By no means am I trying to scare you, but it's an imperative that you PLAN before you jump in.

The problem with art is that is very undervalued into today's world. They say "Starving Artist" for a reason.
Not that aren't jobs for it, there's just far more focus on science orientated areas.
Along with producing material goods and services.

But yeah I'd choose a job I love. Otherwise I might go insane and murder someone.
Why spend 40 hours a week doing shit you potentially loathe or have no interest in?
I'd also rather have more time than money.
The job I have now is not too bad, but mostly I'm saving to get into the horticulture field.

That's a false dichotomy. You virtually never have to come to such a decision. There's a wide array of jobs out there that you can check out, even if the economy being as it is doesn't actually guarantee you get any of them.

So you need to look outside your comfort zone and go for "I don't hate it and it pays enough to get me through the month" to begin with. You're not going to land a dream job right off the bat. I'd actually argue that there's no such thing as a "dream job", even if some seem so.

Also, I'm firmly convinced everyone should be obligated to work at least a year in a job where they have to deal with a lot of people (call center, restaurant, retail...). Everyone. Our society would produce a lot less dickheads that way.

I'm all for a job that I actually enjoy.

I'm not someone who carelessly throws their money away on a daily basis and I'm very happy with the things that I own that I often don't need to upgrade/replace many of my things unless absolutely necessary. In many of my previous jobs that I enjoyed, I was able to get by no problem and have a blast at work (either the environment was great or the work was pleasant). It wasn't until I decided to take jobs on the basis of a large payday that I realized that working for money alone is horses***.

So yeah, I'm mostly focused on jobs that are catered more to my interests and skill set.

Either way is good. Right now, I'm stuck in a low-paying job (considering my education level) that I hate. So...I'd take either at this point.

I'm a teacher, so obviously job I love.

I was making a lot more working for a multi-national engineering firm, correcting grammar and spelling on multi-million dollar bids. It paid a lot more, but I had zero say in what I did each day. I love teaching as I get to decide what we are reading and can change it from year to year as I get bored.

But the money sucks. I looked it up one year and discovered that a first year teacher makes around average pay for a Kmart manager. As in my state, I needed about 7 years of college (4+ for degree, 1.5 years for the credential program, and another 24 units over 2 years to turn my preliminary credential into a cleared one), that seems a little absurd.

There's a balance to be struck for sure. I turned down a job that paid roughly $30,000 a year with the use of a company car and assistance in relocating because I'd be miserable at it. This was 3 days ago. I'm currently looking for a job which provides enough for my inexpensive lifestyle so I can concentrate on why I'm actually here.

So yeah I picked happiness over finances. Have done all my life.

I've been consequently generally poor for a good deal of my life but I've never felt like I had done completely the wrong decision.

I'm not sure there is a job that I could love for a long time, but if I was paid enough I'd enjoy my spare time more.

Never pursue money, pursue excellence and money will follow. Many people make a fine living in the art industry and you can always supplement income other ways (I own a few rental homes, pretty easy to do and using a property management company keeps the work involved in it to a minimum) or low effort part time employment where you can plan your next art projects while you work (my body is flipping these burgers while my mind paints a beautiful picture).

I go to work to earn money, not to have fun. It may be nice to have a job you like, but liking something doesn't pay the bills - that's what money is for. So definitely the lucrative job, I can do things I love in my spare time.

Why not both? I mean have the job that pay while you still doing your art in you free time but in saying so the work hours can drain away your free time. If you really love drawing/ making artwork then you should still be able to do it without being paid for it but by all means getting paid for it is a nice thing to have.

Whispering Cynic:
I go to work to earn money, not to have fun.

I don't go to work to have fun myself, but if I hated my job to the point where it would be a chore just to get there, I'd likely perform a lot worse than I do. Enjoying, at least remotely, what you do, will help you do better. And if you do better, you can have better hopes for getting rewarded.

I'm sorry to be the cold pragmatic one, but to be blunt, an awful lot of people don't get to make such a choice. It's more like "take a demeaning and soul-crushing job that pays the bills, or starve."

Maybe your college has unusually good job placement/contacts/industry references for art majors, and you'll be the exception who gets a great art job just as the student loan payments start hounding the door, but I wouldn't count on it. The two art majors I was most closely associated with in college are now, respectively, a web designer and a lawyer. The computer science guy who decided he wanted to work in animation has done some great stuff, but he's also unemployed last I heard.

It's entirely possible to continue working on art while you pay the bills as an engineer; it's also quite possible that if you keep producing art and getting it "out there" that it might one day lead to a career change. But it's easier to make art as a sideline while making a comfortable salary than it is to live on commissions and hope that you get enough work to pay the bills this month.

By all means keep taking art classes; take a minor, or double-major if you have the time, dedication and interest. But especially if you have significant student loan debt, job-track needs to come first. The expression "starving artist" exists for a reason.

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