I recently had the pleasure of talking with Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk and Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps for Abby’s regular podcast. You can find it here. I hope you check it out–Abby is an excellent interviewer and Kathy is, as always, fun, intelligent, and generous with her knowledge and experience. In it Kathy and I talk about running and closing our fabric shops, reinventing our businesses, and more. One of the things I brought up toward the end of the podcast was a bit of a ramble about following your passion to a point. I had a thought, but it wasn’t fully formed and I feel I went on about it rather ineloquently. I do, however, think the idea struck a nerve with a lot of people who have emailed or commented on social media, so I wanted to explore it here a little more and hopefully continue the dialog about income in the creative communities. I imagine there are probably hundreds of people out there thinking about these things, but we don’t talk about them much. Someone might write a thoughtful blog post about money, income, pricing, getting paid, etc.,  but they might not really invite a conversation, and often it feels weird to debate in the comments. But I’d like to try it. Let’s pretend it’s sociology class and we’re sitting in a circle on a nice sunny day in the quad. I’ll go first.

I would like to argue that certain social subsets of workers have started believing in and living by a new (ish) ideology. Perhaps these graphics look familiar?

You’ve probably seen them on Pinterest, Facebook, and handfuls of blogs. It is a very popular idea and one which, for better or worse, people are using to make big life decisions. The quote is actually the title of a book by Marsha Sinetar written in 1987. I haven’t read the book and I would guess that 99% of the Pinners of these images haven’t read it either. (But if you have, please share!) Let’s just talk about this idea. I would love to hear/read your thoughts. I’m going to make a few statements, play devil’s advocate, and  ask a few questions and you can tell me if you think I’m on track or out of my mind. Feel free to reference point A, B, C, etc in the comments, or just go with your train of thought. Anything goes, but please be respectful.

A. Millennials and creatives are the groups most likely to have bought into this theory. Women more than men.

B. Does this concept serve an industry or economy?

C. How does “the money will follow” part work, exactly?

D. Might the people for whom this concept works be otherwise qualified for their chosen career path?  For example, maybe it’s not that Designer X is successful just because she is doing what she loves, but rather that she actually has a fine arts degree. Or an MBA.

E. This idea keeps people in creative industries from demanding fair pay for the work they do. (Because they love their jobs, are patiently waiting for the money to follow, whatever…)

F. In order to make money from your hobby (assuming it is your hobby that you love), you have to turn your craft into a business or turn yourself into a brand. What if you love the creative part, but not the business/marketing part? How does the money follow then?

G. Without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, is there a way to realistically affirm but reframe the concept of having a career that feeds your body, mind, and soul…and also feeds  your family?

H. In general, do you accept, deny, trust, believe, refute, live by, challenge, reject, concur?

I. Rachel Nabors speaks to this idea(ology) in this excellent blog post.  Thanks to Heather Grant of the Modern Quilt Guild for calling it to my attention. So many good thought and quotes in here. Read it!

Please comment here. Let’s keep the conversation going.