Stupid Things I did in my Early 30s, Exhibit 362

Despite thinking of myself as the sort of person who knows bullshit when they see it, I lapped all this garbage up.
a refrigerator bearing inspirational magnets including a peace sign, "Find Joy," "Follow your Passion," and "Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
illustration: Tyler Littwin

I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life; the highlight reel goes on and on. One standout moment, however, came when I quit my advertising job via a newspaper column. I was working in a small New York agency at the time, getting paid quite a lot of money to do what was, by any measure, a pretty fun job. I came up with taglines for women’s underwear and positioning statements for vodka; I brainstormed ideas for car ads. There were free snacks and coffee and international travelling. I had health insurance! And, best of all, my boss didn’t mind when I wrote op-eds for the Guardian on the side. 

The problem was I felt unfulfilled. I blame this on *waves hands vaguely* 2010s culture. There was a brief but dangerous period during which millennials (I am a geriatric millennial) were constantly told that we should follow our passion. We were fed stupid quotes like: “Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” We were told we were entitled to jobs that both paid the bills and nourished our souls. Remember those days? Those heady days pre-Trump and pre-pandemic, when it seemed like the world was on a decentish trajectory and you could worry about frivolous notions like following your passion

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