When Do You Give Up?

The Cave lyric

Two years ago, almost to the day, I lost my job and took the plunge to go back to school and change careers. As I’ve said a billion times, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. That first two weeks were fairly awful on many levels and more then once I sat crying in my car after class (I’m a crier). But I kept going back. One day it wasn’t as bad, then it was pretty good and eventually I realized that I sort of loved going. Every day was not perfect (by a long shot), but it definitely made those first few weeks of uncomfortableness worth it.

But lately I’ve been asking myself if this is the right path. How can someone not have doubts when your classmate hardly comes to class, completes half the assignments, and what they do complete they openly tell you they do it in a few minutes before class starts and then gets a full time job in your field- all while you’re busting your ass on two hours sleep to make sure your assignments are perfect all while never missing a class, trying to network and get your stuff seen? It’s even worse when you like the person and they come to class excitedly showing you what they did on their first day of their awesome new job. “No, these aren’t tears of rage! They are tears of happiness…for you! I’m not lamenting every single bad decision I’ve ever made at all!” Pile that on top of all the internship rejections e-mails (and those are the nice places that don’t keep you in limbo) and several incredibly bad class critiques (“It looks like a gravestone” and “It just needs to be different, better,” are my favorite two comments…and those were from my teachers), it’s hard not to question what the hell I’m doing.

This got me thinking, when do you admit maybe you reached too far and fell off the cliff? Is it ever okay to just stop trying? I’m on Tumblr  and every day my feed is full of inspirational quotes in hand-drawn typefaces over washed out photos saying things like, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”, “It’s never to late to be what you might have been,” and “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”  Oh and Steve Jobs quotes. The Tumblrverse freaking LOVES Steve Jobs quotes. So according to Tumblr, no, it’s never okay to quit. But Tumblr is like the internet version of the arty hipster friend who never has any money, wants to crash on your couch, eats all your food and is always begging people to fund his Kickstarter project. In other words, who can trust that freak when it comes to goals? So I went to Google. If Google were a person you know it would at least have a job, it’s own car and maybe a girlfriend, but for some reason I see Google person being a total hobag who flirts with your friends right in front of you.

Anyway, Google brought up some interesting stories of people who didn’t give up. Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination and had no good ideas, Dr. Sesus’s first book was rejected 27 times before it found a publisher, the Dyson vacuum guy tried over 5,000 prototypes before landing on the right one, Steven Spielberg was rejected three times from the USC film school, and Colonel Sanders was rejected by over 1,000 restaurants before he was successful. But I’m not them. I’m just a lady trying to land a job I don’t loathe.

Ultimately I think it comes down to what you can live with. If you can look yourself in the mirror, really know you did every single thing you possibly could, then that’s okay. Sometimes things don’t work out. But if the thought of giving up makes you sick,  you find yourself applying for internships through tears and in spite of yourself (what are you looking at me for?) because there is still that teeny bit inside you that knows you have what it takes and knows that if someone just gave you a chance that you would do every thing in your power to make them know it, too, and that knowing will absolutely not let go no matter how much doubt tries to push it off the swings, then you’re not ready to give up.

A little bit of exciting news- next week or the week after (depending on how generous our teacher is with due dates) I’ve got a brand spanking new portfolio site coming! Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going anywhere and it won’t really effect this site much. They’ll be linked together, but it will be a better way to display my design work and photography.

Till next week, enjoy the song, Sifters by Andrew Bird. It’s gorgeous and we all could use a little more gorgeous in our lives.


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