Asked on 23 Oct 2018
I'm graduating in May 2019 from a local uni. I heard a lot about everyone here talking about FIRE (financial independence, retire early) and a big part of that comes from maximising my income when I'm a fresh graduate in my first 10 years of working life. Now, I'm choosing between joining a bank to be a MA (management associate) OR potentially joining a few friends to pursue a career in music as I'm really passionate about it (but obviously is not ideal in terms of pay, and even low CPF). So now it seems that it's an EITHER OR, and not BOTH. I'm interested to hear perspectives from the community on this dilemma I'm facing, which I think many will also have. And I've learnt so much from the community here so a big thank you to everyone! Really appreciate this platform. I think there are many who may also be choosing between pursuing dreams vs facing reality.
I had many friends who sloged their lives starting in a bank and then gigging on the night / weekends and side for fun. Some also teach music on weekends to keep their passion sustained.
I hate to say it, but it is easier to be mediocre and earn shitloads of money in a bank. However, you have to be truely exceptional to make a sustainable career in music. And usually its not those who purely do music, but there is a lot of "entertainment" to do for sustainability. For eg: sing in a wedding band, write music, produce, film and do youtube vids for publicity and perform for corporate gigs as well.
I'm taking the likes of local singer sisters Tay Kexin and Tay Kewei, both of whom have produced albums to fair success and see the activities they do.
Then i guess you ask yourself, is that worth it? Can i make it?
If you don't 'make it' , what are the options for me 3 years down the road?
23 Oct 2018
If you do follow FIRE, I think you'd have noticed that a big part of the discussion on pre FIRE life is about hustling (generating revenue from multiple income streams so as to maximise your portfolio prior to "RE"). So I would question the limitation that you've included in your question of "either or, not both". I know a number of people pursuing a music career in addition to holding down a full time job in professional services.
Keep the job in the bank, and test run your music career in your free time. Why? Cos you say you are passionate about music, but do you know what a music career really entails? Its not just making music, but also learning to market your band, manage your fanbase, deal with producers and what not, navigate the industry, network etc. Its like a person who likes cooking and thinks they want to open a resturant, then finds out they hate dealing with customers, managing inventory, chasing suppliers, doing accounts etc and essentially hates having to run a business, when what they really loved was cooking for friends and famiky and doing acts of service (cooking) for them. To extend the example, the dream career for that person who loves cooking may in fact turn out to be something entirely unrelated to cooking like nursing or charity NGO type work, but still has the same essence of service to others.
Pursue what you really love. Who say pursing it won't give you money? You studied for your first half of your life. If there is no financial burden that you have to shoulder, follow your dream. You have your whole life to work. You can make it your career. Teaching music, being a music teacher and many more. There is no right or wrong answer so long you don't live your life with regret. Because you love music so much, you will find ways to make music and earn money at the same time. (:
Thank you for reaching out to the Seedly Community with your question. I understand you are split between (i) Pursuing your dreams (ii) Picking a practical choice
I feel that these choices do not have to be mutually exclusive – meaning to say, you can have both!
Just to share a personal example, my true interest is to contribute to society through pushing for policy change and taking practical steps to help Singaporeans cope with the various bread and butter issues that they face. However, my day job has absolutely nothing to do with that, it is in the Technology Industry.
What I do is that I simply treat my job as one segment of my life – a platform for me to grow professionally; feel a sense of achievement and most importantly, to feed my family. After all, our parents didn’t think that a job needed to be a “passion”, they simply took it for what it was – an exchange of labour and results for money.
For my passion, I pursue it outside of my main job through volunteering and sharing useful analysis and information on my blog. This enabled me to achieve two things I wanted – financial stability and to be able to contribute to society at the same time.
Hope this perspective helps :) Feel free to PM me if you have further questions.
23 Oct 2018
Pursue your passion but you still need to feed yourself. Consider how to balance the two, perhaps via a day job and earning from your passion on the side. You need good original material though (not really mentioned in your post but I'd assume your passion in music is as a musician). Create a demo tape and send it out. Busk if you can at popular hangout areas in town. Create a presence / branding for your group. Score small permanent gigs and go from there. Great example you can look at: Dave Matthews was a bartender before he recorded his demo tape and used it to bring members of his legendary band together. And look at how far he went. End of the day if it didn't work out, you can pursue a career somewhere else. But you won't have regrets. All the best!
Hold a full time job in the bank and pursue a part time career in music. It will be very tiring but at least, you are garnering the relevant experience before you ultimately decide on which one. Just my humble opinion.