Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Is It No Longer Okay to Say I Want to Make Money?

Does everyone remember the 1980’s? When movies like Wall Street gave us heroes like Gordon Gekko and songs like “Material Girl” were topping the charts; infiltrating the consciousness of every consumer who held a card regardless if it was gold, platinum, or basic plastic. The word of the day was “excess” back then. The more you could get your hands on the better. And if that ‘more’ was associated with money, well, there was literally no shame present in anyone who had it. They loved it.

Or as Gekko would say “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

So when did it become okay to remember the 1980’s as a time when we used AquaNet to kill the ozone (and how great it is that we all care so much now that we’ll never do that again), but not the money we made to buy those superfluous neon pink shoe laces?

When did it become chic to start saying “Money? Oh I hate money.” Because, quite honestly, I will be the first to admit that I don’t.

Okay, I should maybe back up here before all the people with homemade solar powered torches come and hunt me down to (slowly) burn me in effigy. Because it’s not that I want to run out and get a bad perm then don one of the 14 different acid washed jean jackets in my closet while I roll around in a pile of money screaming “ITS ALL MINE MWAH HAHAHA!”

All I’m looking for is to make a living from what I do.

Why is that suddenly a taboo subject? Why is it okay to talk ad infinitum about what we do, but when the topic of how much we make comes up, we all just smile and say “do what you love and the money will come.” Because no matter what the crunchy-crunchy movies and suddenly-rich motivational speakers try to feed you, they all got rich before they were asked to be in that movie.

Hello? Am I the only one picking up on this? Am I the only one who realizes that it’s the rich people telling us not to be bothered with money? That we should just keep piddling away doing things that don’t make us any but for $24.95 you too can have their hardcover book telling you how to live a simple life.

I’ll tell you right now for free.  Sell out.  Sell out and then start selling your book to thousands of people for $24.95 and that’s how you too can live a simple life free of greed. Fucking hypocrites.

Well I’m not a hypocrite. I’ve finally admitted what every single entrepreneur in the world is too shy to admit – that I actually enjoy working for a living it’s just that there’s way too much working and not enough making a living right now, if you catch my drift.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you do.

Can’t there be a balance? I mean I’m not trying to say I want to make millions of dollars that I intend to throw away on useless crap like hundreds of bracelets made out of rubber. But I’d love to be able to afford that organic hoo-ha. You know, the one that helps out another entrepreneurial type person. Sadly, if we’re not allowed to say we want to sell our products to make money well we’ll never get our hands on that hoo-ha; they don’t come cheap.

But if the local type person can sell an organic hoo-ha to me, proudly and without shame, at their Farmer’s Market booth for about three times the cost of picking it up at some big box conglomerate (READ: 1980’s throw back shop, shop, shop!) then why am I not allowed to start running around saying that I’d like to sell hundreds (millions!) of my hoobie-doos?

Thing is that old sly bitch known as the Catch-22 rears its ugly head. Unless you buy mine I can’t afford to buy yours. The real trick is that the Organic hoo-ha purveyor is saying the same thing as me. So neither of us can afford to buy each other’s thing and we both suffer.

Well I’m here today to say I’m tired of all the polite smiles and hopeful glances. I want to sell my hoobie-doos and I plan to share that with every single person I meet.

People talk about Artists selling out like it’s a bad thing – oh the horror! – but selling out means nothing more than actually selling whatever it is you’ve got to a much wider audience. And who freaking cares? I sure wouldn’t care. I’m more than willing to “sell out” if it means more people are enjoying my hoobie-doos and that I’m able to afford the basic necessities of life like Organic hoo-has and a roof over my head.

Because every cliché in the world can sell you on the concept that money doesn’t buy happiness but what no one ever says is that there’s a strong possibility you’ll be very un-happy if you don’t have enough to maintain even the simplest of lifestyles.

And I’m really quite tired of being the happiest broke-as-a-joke person on the planet.


Judi FitzPatrick said...

Welcome to the 98%! I hope you'll still love us when you are actually one of the rich ones selling your hoobie-doos. ;-)
Love, Mum
P.S. I see why yesterday's comment re: "Material Girl".

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with wanting to make a decent living doing what you love. Isn't that the American dream? I understand that some of the hard-core artist types think that anything done for money is "selling out" but I disagree. You're only "selling out" if you change who you are and what you're doing for the sole purpose of making money. And you've posted recently that you won't change what you write about just because it's not "trendy". So you're not a sell-out at all!

You're right about another thing too - struggling to live a basic, non-excessive lifestyle isn't fun. I've never aspired to be a millionaire but I can count on one hand the years of my life that I've lived 'comfortably' ... and it seems like those days are gone forever. Gah! So keep writing, and don't let anyone make you feel guilty for aspiring to make a living as a writer. You have the talent and the support to make it happen, and we'll all be here, chipping in our $15.99 for ya :-)

Almost Precious said...

Love the post. It is so true, not many starving artist are want to admit that they'd really like to make money doing what they love doing. I never stopped to scrutinize why this is so, nor why there are so many artist that feel they must be starving in order to validate their being an artist. I doubt that The Trump has this problem but then his love is making money and more money at all costs.

Linda Myers said...

I'm reminded of a life-changing book I read a few years ago. It's called "Your Money or Your Life." It changed my relationship with money.

Anonymous said...

Your second to the last statement....absolutely!