The Millennial Ultimatum
By: Amir Oosman
I was faced with a decision after completing my Masters in 2013. The decision would alter my path for the next 3 years and I truly did not know what to do. The prospective safety net of a full time faculty job lingered in mind while I gauged whether or not I wanted to gamble my savings with a pursuit into a freelance career as an artist. The latter would include countless sleepless nights and an awareness of budgeting every expense; the former would have stability in forms of income, sleep, diet, relationships, etc.
I mulled over both options for 4 months, all the while my savings depleting into an apartment in LA. I found that I continued to avoid what I feared was inevitable: if I took the steady job I would lead a boring life. If I took the risky option I would lead a life of fulfillment and tons of ups and downs. Once I realized there was nothing on the other side of my fears, I dove head first into a freelance career. My only goal for the year was to reach a point where I did not have to worry about money day-to-day and could plan 3 to 4 months of budgeting at a time.
Reflecting on the Sacrifice
Looking back, the sacrifice it took was tremendous. I sold everything I could when I got started out, old drums, cymbals, Jordans, clothes, and weekend ventures into driving for Lyft (never again). My homepage was the “gigs” section of Craigslist for months and I took every odd job I could. From air drumming in commercials to playing jazz for audiences that I could count on 1 hand, I questioned my initial decision almost every day of this struggle. Until I began to focus on what I had to offer versus what I thought I needed, my career path would remain a result of my mentality. Things began to snowball in ways that my post-grad self would have thought unimaginable.
The bonuses of a freelance career finally became apparent. Spontaneous travels around the world was exactly what I wanted! Especially paid travels. Never would I have thought that my craft could take me to so many far away locations. Nevertheless, to this day I continue to live by words once told to me by a childhood mentor, “attitude will always, always, ALWAYS precede talent”. I’m thankful for every up and down that I endure week to week but I will never lose sight of my first dive into this venture.