On August 16th, 2018, I walked away from a pretty cushy Academic Advising job. I call it cushy because maybe (and this might be pushing it) I did two hours of actual work each day. Don’t get me wrong, I was doing everything I needed to do and I wasn’t neglecting the students I was working with. There just really wasn’t much to do. Anything beyond those two hours a day was just busy work, or make myself seem productive work. But honestly, I could have kept pace with everything that needed to be done if I worked a 15–20 hour work week. That is one of the main reasons I kept doing food delivery at night. I didn’t really need the extra money, I just wanted to do work I thought was productive.
There were a ton of reasons I walked away from the job, mainly they focused on ethical concerns. But I didn’t walk away just because I wanted to escape. I walked away because I wanted to do more with my life. I told my friends and family members I would just do full-time delivery for a few months and then start the job search after New Years. I was lying. I wanted to ease their minds because I was considering taking a bigger risk than I figured they would be comfortable knowing about.
I want to be a writer. No good friend or relative would ever tell a 35-year-old man with no professional writing experience it was a good idea to completely disregard his formal education to chase a dream. If one of the students I worked with had told me they wanted to write rather than finding a job in their degree field, I would have given them a reality check talk. Yet, here I am not following the advice I would give to someone in my shoes.
If I could go back in time to talk to myself at age 18, I would do everything possible to convince him not to be pragmatic. I would tell him to not worry about what would give him the best shot at a high salary after graduation. I would tell him to get a degree in the thing he loves and let the chips fall where they may after graduation. After all, in my college advising career, I worked for people with psychology, history, journalism, and anthropology degrees. There was no reason for me to study a subject I wasn’t really interested in. Even if things hadn’t worked out, I still would have been qualified to do the work I ended up doing. And I wouldn’t have missed out on more than a decade of…