Why is it difficult for creative people to find satisfying jobs?
Answer by Anonymous:
Isn’t it self-evident?
It’s simple. Because people with ‘creativity’ or at least, who think themselves creative, have this idea subconsciously drilled into them from a young age that only a select number of professions are ‘creative’ - actors, writers, fashion designers, artists, musicians, writers, designers etc. This leads them to join the above-mentioned professions in droves. It also convinces people who join the ‘drone’ professions believe that they aren’t/don’t need to be creative.
I am no exception. I am one of these ‘self-described’ creative people. In the past I have been an artist, musician, graphic designer and even acted in a couple of plays. These days I write a lot, love playing the guitar, my design skills are rusty but I try to take some time out to sketch, and I despise acting and theatre now. There’s nothing wrong with having any of these skills or pursuing them passionately- however, this superficial conception that areas like these are the ‘only’ way to be creative is devastatingly misleading.
All professions benefit from creativity- but all of them are not equally ‘easy’ to be creative in. I’m working hard on improving my technical skills right now- and it’s going to take a lot of study and learning from others before I’m at a stage I can do something original on a regular basis.
(Now I’m going to get flamed and downvoted by people I don’t give a shit about- for what I say next- too bad: keep living in your little bubble)
Firstly- the professions people typically associate with creativity are saturated. Too many people trying to prove that they are the most creative individuals out there in the world. A lot of it is from hedonism, really.
They are the easiest way to be creative.
The barrier to entry is low- you don’t need much of an education to get into any of these fields. This makes people think that education and creativity are anti-thetical.
They are not analytical or mathematical. Once again, it leads to this ridiculous notion that scientific or mathematical skill is somehow detrimental to creativity- leading to such individuals to reject careers in say- Engineering, Science or Business.
Now, there’s a hint of truth to these stereotypes- a Scientist/Engineer/Manage
r works under a lot of constraints laid upon him by the laws of nature or economics.
People in the ‘superficially creative’ professions seem to have fewer barriers to work with, or this seems to be true. Not only this: people from these professions- actors, musicians etc, seem to get a lot more attention and lionization from society in general.
The creativity of people from other fields is ignored. The outcomes of their creativity can potentially have far, far greater reach and ramifications than even the greatest of the ‘artists’ and ‘musicians’- and the world needs more creative people making an impact in professions deemed ‘uncreative’ than they need artists. Beethoven was amazing, but if I were to measure his impact on the world it would be negligible compared to some unknown Indian pharma CEO pumping out cheap drugs for Africa. The latter’s ‘creativity’ was in exploiting a situation and setting up efficient supply chains.
The kind of creativity these professions demand is not easy (more flame material here). It requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and understanding of often extremely complex material before it can translate to creativity.
Look at your computer. Unless you have advanced degrees in electrical engineering and computer science: you have no freaking idea how it works.
Some guy built it though. Lots of guys- in fact. They visualized everything from the flow of electrons to the storage of information microscopically to the way in which you interact with the machine. That level of creativity: that is fucking incredible, and exceptionally rare.
Every time I hear Picasso or Monet or Jackson Pollock mentioned as some kind of paragon of creative thought process- I feel like socking someone in the jaw right there.
Every single component of your computer- from the rechargeable battery to the LCD display, signal modulation that lets you use wifi and communicate wirelessly, the millions of tiny transistors, the processing unit that computers and displays graphics- is a greater achievement of human creative spirit than anything Monet and Pollock did- and it’s about damn time that we start understanding that creativity is not about drawing or singing.
It’s a way of looking at things with a fresh perspective. Anything. Even business, or medicine or engineering which are seen to be for ‘geeks/nerds/preps’.
These professions can often become quite mechanical, yes, but that’s why they need creative thinkers who are willing to take on the challenge.
It’s easy to be creative if you’re an actor or musician. Anyone with a mediocre skillset can claim to be superficially ‘creative’ in this sense and be acknowledged as such by society. I have created some great art, I have composed songs that I am in love with.
But I would have to be a masturbatory fool to think that this was somehow ‘more creative’ than the people who created Quora, Google, Microsoft or Amazon- or any of the hundreds of startups trying to solve problems in ways that I could never have even thought of.
It’s hard to be creative if you’re an engineer or businessman or mathematician or a system builder of any sort- you have deadlines and constraints to meet. You won’t get any respect, your creativity will neither be understood nor appreciated by the general public. Your creativity needs to survive and then thrive even after 2 or 3 decades of social conditioning that tries to turn you into a drone- of having people trying to convince you that that what you’re doing is menial, mechanical, mediocre, generic.
That is rare, and that is why it is valuable.
Personality: The Body in Society
Post by Kevin Simler:
Personality: The Body in SocietyView Post on Quora
How do you overcome the fear of your ideas being “not good enough”?
Answer by Ben Taylor:
Algorithm for fearless idea generation:
- Realize you are going to die
- Accept that you are going to die
- Figure out what you want while being alive
- Once you do, take steps to achieve what you want
- Accept that these steps won’t be perfect
- Stop caring what other people think about your mistakes
- Start using other people to help limit your mistakes
- Stop identifying with your ideas — they are temporary vehicles to accomplish your goals
- Enjoy making mistakes, they are getting you closer to your goals
Right now, you aren’t afraid of people judging your ideas, you are just afraid of people judging you, because you are married to your ideas. Stop identifying with your ideas — they are only temporary. They do not define you.
Besides, thinking you have a “great idea” is only a way of preventing you from sharing with the world all of your ideas. You become obsessed with it and dead set on defending it. And since you have no way of knowing what others will find value in, you’ll do more good by sharing lots of ideas that other people may or may not like instead of trying to share the one idea that you happen to like.
(Yes, that means the path to valuable ideas is often by coming up with stuff a lot of people don’t like!)
What advice would Jimmy Wales give to the young generation?
Answer by Jimmy Wales:
I think one of the most important pieces of advice I can give young people is that you should try to arrange your life in such a fashion that you minimize your consumption expenses as much as is practical so that you take on as little debt as possible.
If you want to do something interesting with your life, you will need a certain degree of financial independence, by which I mean, the ability to make choices without thinking about the immediate money involved.
Let’s say you start your first job and immediately make various spending choices to spend all or most of your paycheck, going into debt to do it. A popular way to do this is to buy a car and rent a nice apartment. Now, 6 months later when your boss is a jerk and you wish to change jobs, you’ve got a big problem.
Consumption spending (as opposed to investment spending) is mostly not required by income. In some cases (need to see clients, etc.) you’ll need to have some consumption spending of course (nice clothes for business). I’m not talking about that - that’s a business expense. Keep it under control of course, but that’s not my point.
For those who see things better with numbers attached, consider it this way. Suppose you want to have enough money to be able to take 1 year off from working, and you want to maintain your lifestyle during that year. How does adjusting your consumption requirements help with that? Assume you start with zero savings. Assume for simplicity that you can find safe investments to match the inflation rate… although that’s pretty optimistic!
If you spend 5% less than you earn, then it will take you 20 years to save up one year’s salary. That’s never going to work because in 20 years time your life will change completely, you’ll probably get married and have children. And who wants to wait 20 years to take a year off to pursue a dream?
If you spend 50% less than you earn, then it will only take you two years. Much better.
But look! There’s a mistake in the above reasoning, and this is the thing I want you to notice. You aren’t trying to save up “one years salary” but rather trying to save up “one year’s expenses”.
So if you spend 5% less than you earn, then it will only take you 19 years to get that year of freedom. (Because you only need to save 95% of your salary!)
And if you spend 50% less than you earn, then it will only take you 1 year (not 2!) to get that year of freedom, because your expenses are lower.
Reducing your mental expectations of what you need to spend to be happy therefore has two beneficial effects: you end up saving more money, and that saved money ends up lasting longer.
Now for most of the young people who will be reading this, the ultimate goal will not be to accept a reduced lifestyle forever. But if you really want to hit it big, this technique gives you the time you need to give it a shot.