Selling Out

All my life, I have preached about the importance of "being true" and "doing what you love." I always said, "money doesn't matter."

Now I find myself at a crossroads.

Last week I interviewed for a new position in my office, and there's a pretty good chance that I got it. (Assuming my fear that talking it up before it's official will make it not happen isn't true.) The new position--Web Content Manager--would fetch a larger salary than my measly writer-editor status. But more money comes with more responsibility and greater demands. I would definitely have to put off graduate school for at least another year, as my nice Monday - Friday, 8 - 4:30 schedule will turn into sporadic, long hours.

The new position also begs the question: Where is my career going? Just last month, I was certain that the path to take involved getting a master's degree in environmental science and becoming a science writer or doing PR for a research institute. Now, I find myself wondering if I should embrace the move into the technology sector, get certified in various computer programming languages and make lots and lots of money. Selling out.

Money isn't everything, but it's certainly nice to have. Grad school will set me back about $100,000 and a degree in environmental science will do little to bolster my pay. While the idea of working on a tranquil nature reserve or for an international conservation group makes me drool, economically it doesn't make sense. I can spend $100,000 on a graduate degree and probably never earn more than $65,000 a year, or I can spend a few thousand dollars on computer certs and be making something close to that immediately.

For every choice, something is gained and something is forgone. Am I willing to give up my dreams and sell my soul to the almighty dollar? I might be. And that is scary.


  1. This is a very insightful post as I think many of us hit this crossroad at least once or in my case, several times. It's important to have a balance. It's also important to eat, play and have fun...which a decent salary will allow you to do/have.

    Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I think you can have both. You do the job thing for awhile but still find time for yourself and then go to grad school. Don't ever completely give up what you love because you will inevitably be giving up a piece of yourself, but you can find a way to earn a decent amount and still be yourself.

    Maybe some work from home flexibility is an option to avoid the long hours in the office?

    Good luck on the job!!!!

  2. That is a really tough decision. I am trying to read through your blog to see what you have chosen. Did you choose already?
    Choose what you love.

  3. Funny you should ask that Novelista....I am planning to write a follow-up post or "Quarter Life Crisis Continued..." post this weekend. Be sure to check back!