2011 is the tenth anniversary of when I graduated from art school and began pursuing a career in the publishing industry.
As the first post of 2011 I have to get something really heavy off of my chest. It's something that has actually been stressing me out for months and even after making my decision I'm still flip flopping in my mind about whether or not I made the right choice.
You may have wondered why I haven't blogged until now and it's mainly because I've spent the last few months trying to find out where my life was actually heading.
You see, I was recently Googled.
Not searched online, I mean I was offered a job by Google. To be a Doodle artist.
This is a Doodle....
A random email came ot me in October from their HR department. The gist of it was "We like your work. We'd like you to come up for an interview."
At first I thought it was a joke. Then I googled the name on the e-mail and lo and behold it sent me to a Linkedin page informing me that the person was indeed a member of Google Human Resources.
I spoke to some friends of mine who work at Yahoo! who basically told me that there are people who dream of working for Google and they try to apply over and over again. Now, here Google came knocking on my door, and that it was an opportunity I would be foolish not to pursue.
So I did.
They flew me up. I interviewed. Then, just before the holidays, I discovered that I was offered the job.
It was an unbelievable offer. It was a Google offer. I can't say more than that.
Then after weeks and weeks of discussion with some close friends and family....
I decided to turn the job down.
I know this is not a bad problem to have, but these days, with a horrible economy and an unemployment rate of over 9% coupled with the slow dissolve of the middle class it really makes one wonder if they're completely out of their mind for turning down an offer like this. I have an entire family to keep in mind, all discussions about uprooting, selling the old house and buying a new home and moving to a new city is not a decision to be taken lightly, nor is it a decision that is entirely my own.
Thus begins the spiraling uncontrollable feeling of self doubt.
There are two sides of me arguing in my mind.
One side is the author/illustrator side who is passionate about writing and illustrating and spending time with family. The future of publishing is in a huge transitional stage with literature slowly converting into eBooks and bookstores like Borders slowly going the way of the dodo. The money isn't great but, between me and my wife, we're fairly comfortable, we have benefits through her work, and the kids are enrolled in a great private school. I love doing what I do so I should keep doing it because 2010 was a fairly good year for me. Maybe in the coming years there will be room for bigger and better? You never know.
The other side is the husband of a lovely wife and parent of two kids. If I work for Google then everyone would be taken care of. I can probably buy that BMW I always wanted. Everyone would be less stressed. There would be money in the bank saved up for college. Great benefits. Great school districts, free meals at the Googleplex, and more. But, there's also the chance of burn out, not seeing the family as much, and not having enough time to do books perhaps to never ever see my full potential.
I spoke to a few close author/illustrator friends in the industry to get their perspective on the matter and to my surprise all of them said they would take the job in a heartbeat. I was flabbergasted. I thought everyone was going to tell me to "keep it real" and tell me that "money doesn't buy you happiness" and so forth. The truth is we're all worried about the future of publishing and the state of our economy. Heck, I'm terrified and I keep kicking myself in the butt wondering if I threw away the once chance I had to ensure that my kids would have a secure and bright future in what sometimes feels like a slowly decaying society.
In the end it all came down to quality of life.
If you had offered me this job four years ago right after leaving the game industry I would have jumped at the chance to work for Google in a heartbeat, but now, I have greater responsibilities to keep in mind.
I want to be with my family. I want to be a good father and a caring husband who will be around whenever I'm needed, and I still have enough hope and optimism that with the abilities and ideas that I have in my mind I can do much better than what I have already accomplished and that I have yet to reach my peak.
I know I'll always have thoughts of what might have been, so, since I HATE this constant wallowing of guilt and self doubt I hereby make this decree....
"I will work harder. I will seize more opportunities which I have normally avoided and explore more opportunities which I once thought not possible. I will not squander my time spent because I want the person who chose the other life to envy me and ponder what it would have been like to have seen his true potential."
Thanks for letting me vent.
I've said it and made it public and even while finishing up this post I do feel a little bit relieved that I don't have the constant burden of making such a huge decision resting on my shoulders any more. There are no right or wrong answers, only "what could have beens". Working for Google could have completely changed everything and started a new chapter in my life, but I've decided to stay the path in a career that will be in a huge transition in the following years. Many of my friends have said I made the right decision, but I think it's often just out of moral support. In many cases it's not hard to see in their faces that they think I'm completely out of my mind for turning the job down. Maybe I am? I may never be rich, life may even be a huge struggle at times, but I will live and die by my own sword. Chances are most likely that I'll never achieve that financial security that I would have had at Google, but it's still a goal worth reaching for and in the mean time I will have to make certain compromises.
....I can always save up for a used BMW.