Is Having a “Respectable” Job In Your Thirties Worth Your Happiness?

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is having a ‘respectable’ job in your thirties.

In my twenties, I’ll admit, I hustled for money a lot…I was concentrating on my “real passion” – theater – so I was working a lot of random event jobs in between the Tradeshows I normally worked..also for extra money to support my theater career. I had jobs where I worked outside in the snow and handed out orange juice. I had jobs catering parties where people wouldn’t look at or talk to me. I had jobs at bars where too many people looked at and talked to me. I had jobs dressed as a dinosaur from a video game. There were many crazy moments. And, I’ll admit, there are still crazy moments now.

But there’s something about being in your thirties where the old job hustling doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. It feels very  important to have a “respectable” job. Job titles are cool in your thirties the way everything ‘grown up’ is sort of cool. Somewhere along the line of being in your thirties, you’re supposed to have ‘made it’ careerwise, right?

Well, I definitely don’t miss a lot of the random crazy gigs I had in my twenties, especially the ones that didn’t pay well. And I definitely am way more conscious of how I’m treated by the people I work with- I tolerate a lot less disrespect than I used to. But as for having a particularly ‘respectable’ and grown up job title…well, I don’t know exactly what that means to me. Especially since I’ve always been self-employed and have kind of cobbled my skills together.

I know some people who:

  1. Have an amazing, respectable job title and are pretty happy but make way less money than you’d think.
  2. Who have an amazing, respectable job title and make lots of money, but are way more UNhappy than you’d think.
  3. And of course, there are the people in respectable jobs who make tons of money and are super happy. I guess that = the dream. Damn those guys.

But maybe the thirties career dream actually doesn’t need the respectable title. Maybe all you need is to make good money (or at least enough money) and be really happy. Perhaps in your thirties, you don’t necessarily need that respectable title after all- just make enough money and be happy enough doing it. Then go do other things that make you happy.

So I’m sort of stopping my search for the respectable job title and am focusing the search on jobs that meet my financial needs and make me happy enough. Then I’m off doing other happy-making things.

If you can make good money hustling and are happy doing it, then by all means, hustle.  If you’re happy being a theater actor, and are okay money-wise, then be a theater actor. For goodness sake, if you’re happy and make enough money being a clown at a birthday party, then by all means, keep doing that! Screw the titles and screw explaining yourself! Figure out your own life, make yourself happy, and then of course, keep afloat. Make your own title! As long as you have the money to keep yourself smiling, then go for it. Because aren’t the thirties all about giving zero fucks anyway?

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