Letter From a Friend

February 24, 2012 Uncategorized 1 Comment

Hi Martin,

Thanks for writing.

You’ll always have some unease until your “job” truly matches up with your life’s work. It doesn’t matter how many titles, doctorates, or honorifics you try to throw on it. A doctor is a noble profession, and it would sort of matter to you, just like [your workplace] sort of matters to you. Or, perhaps, how it matters will be in the basics – money, food, employment, something to prove to your wife that you are bringing value to the union. But it doesn’t really matter to you. Not in the ethereal or magical sense – and most importantly, not in your heart and soul.

So if you truly want to get a master’s degree, go for it. Just make sure it’s not just throwing another blanket over the box that’s hidden in the back corner of your mind that has the piece of rock that you scrawled, “I want to create when I grow up” on when you were a child.

Honestly, I think one of three things will happen:

  1. There will be an earthquake of change.

    Ideally, you would just throw up your hands and say, “To hell with all of it” and start Spitzfire Productions as a real company – one that makes movies and shorts and scores and compositions. Your wife buys in and gives you support regardless of whether you start off well or poorly, and you repay her faith by working harder than you’ve ever worked. Only you’re not working at all, because it’s what you love to do. And you end your 12 hours of work a day feeling like you never even started working.

    Conversely, this could also happen if you were to be fired, or you moved, or something else thrust you into it. Only you’d likely have less buy-in from your wife, more pressure to be successful, and the small, gnawing knowledge that you waited for the universe to hand you what you wanted when it was in your power to do it yourself, if you had the balls.

  2. You will change incrementally.

    You keep working at [workplace], only you ramp up the efforts to support yourself on other terms. You make movies and vignettes and compositions and word starts getting out. You bring extra money in and your wife slowly comes around to realizing that this is a viable solution. Eventually, so many requests start coming in that you have serious discussions with Jess about quitting [workplace] and working for yourself full-time. You suddenly are free from the shackles of [workplace] and are free to demand higher salaries, bonuses, and equipment. You eventually stop working there by either choice or because they don’t meet your demands, and either is fine because now you’re doing what you love full-time. The change is so slow and the support to the bank account so consistent that Jess never mounts a real opposition. Everyone wins.

  3. You continue to work at [workplace] because you have to, and you sort of tinker with movies and music and on occasion sell some stuff, but less because you’re really making an effort at it and more because your raw talent is so absurd that you can’t help but sell things even with the minimum of effort. Spitzfire Productions never really becomes anything other than what it is, and you eventually have kids or move and really lose any chance of pursuing any of your dreams because you don’t have any momentum that you could have built up from the time when you could actually do that. Your increasing needs tether you more to [workplace], not less, and leave less time for creating anything, while the increased stresses and requirements for the family means that your wife than has tremendous ammo to question blowing up what you have and striking out on your own to support while you create. Your creative world stays as a small, occasional supplement to your main income that decreases in frequency over time, and you struggle for the rest of your life with the vague worry that you never really made what you could have out of yourself.

I think I’ve been waiting five years to see where you’re going, and right now it’s a combo of two and three (more one than the other at that).

We get one life, Martin, and the difference between a rut and the grave is the depth. So you have to decide, what option is it going to be?

-A Friend

One Comment to “Letter From a Friend”

  1. Martin Spitznagel – Martin’s Top 100 Moments of 2012
    [...] Receiving the devastating and accurate Letter from a Friend. [...]

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