The Arts have always been a part of my life. I'm a child of musicians; I studied music myself for over a decade; I went to school to study writing; and I have spent years working for a handful of nonprofit organizations. I am at a point now where I am considering if I want to continue working in the Arts, or if I want to pursue a career in the corporate world.
Both sectors can make use of my skills, and I could do well in either scene, but they are such different worlds. I had a conversation today (at an art show) with a man I respect, who definitively told me what I had suspected from my own observations:
You won't make as much in the Arts as you will in the for-profit world; you work in the Arts because it gives you a feeling that makes up for the money you are missing out on. In the corporate world, though, they are squeezing as much out of their employees as they can. They want people who are willing to work 7 days a week. So it pays better, but you never have the time to enjoy it.
I still remain on the fence. Three months ago, I wanted to go corporate. I wanted to feel like a big-shot professional, make lots of money, and be awesome. Now, I am leaning toward the Arts. The last piece of advice given to me was that if you want to be happy, you have to shift your view away from the material.
I've had a lot of conversations in a similar vein recently, about how there is such a thing as enough money. I have also truly come to appreciate a lot of the things I can do with my Arts jobs that I could not do in most other jobs (artists can be pretty cool people to work for). Right now, I do think that if I can live comfortably and love my job, it is the best choice to make. At least, it would be the best choice to make for me.