Choosing Not to Have a Career

Few would argue that trying to have a career (and get paid) is an easy ride. And yet choosing not to have a career seems to be the new social taboo.

Reader JR Lewis directs our attention to an interesting article, written from the perspective of a 29-year-old woman, about the realisation that “having it all” might not be worth having, especially when it’s such a bloody struggle.

Life doesn’t suddenly stop when you decide to leave a job, or change tack and do something completely different for a bit. You don’t become a different, lesser person overnight. Admitting that the coveted position you’ve spent years of student debt, overdraft fees, and shittily-paid junior roles grafting your way toward doesn’t make you happy isn’t giving up. If you have learned skills, you can go back to them.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

6 Responses to “Choosing Not to Have a Career”

  1. Spoonman says:

    How’s the move to Glasgow going?

  2. Hi Spoonman. Tomorrow’s the big day! We left Montreal on March 1st but have been travelling in Spain for two weeks. It’s been pretty great and I’ll write something about it at the blog. Tomorrow morning, we fly to Glasgow and collect the keys to the new place. Thank you for asking.

  3. Briony says:

    This isn’t a career or having-it-all problem, it is a peer group problem. But she doesn’t seem to recognise that.


  4. Hi Briony! How so? Do you mean peer pressure to live a certain way? Or that there’s a certain set of expectations held by the writer’s generation?

  5. Briony says:

    If you surround yourself with people trying to live the media high-life in London, working all hours, schmoozing with the right people etc. etc. then that will seem normal and it will seem abnormal to no longer wish to do it or to drop life down a gear or two.

    If you have a circle of friends who have slower-paced lives or make more conscious choices or who question the life plan set down “in stone” by the combine (uni, career, massive mortgage, several cars, prestigious holidays, children in full-time nursery, struggle, struggle, bigger house, bigger mortgage, heart attack etc. etc.), then it is much easier for you to question/opt out/slow down.

    Your peer group sets your “normal”. Tribe is everything.

  6. Gotcha. And agreed with. I’m lucky in that I really am surrounded by freedom-loving loons such as myself, or at least a lot of people who are sympathetic. There are very few strivers in my vicinity, which is nice. I think you might be similarly fortunate? You must notice when you meet the odd striver in doctor’s waiting rooms or at bus stops or similar how downright strange they seem with their million unfounded worries.

    Anyway, you’re spot-on, I feel. Peer pressure being the strongest force in the universe means its important to find the right peers!

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