"Selling out" has a very interesting connotation in today's Drake lyric-filled world. On one hand, the term seems to represent compromising everything you once stood for in the pursuit of mad G' s. On the other hand, you could just as easily make the argument that "selling out" is simply the haters way of quantifying success.
Either way, the disconnect between doing passion-driven work and making money is quite considerable in a great deal of industries. And for many a person, that choice always seems to be a-looming.
With that in mind, here are a few signs you're close to making the plunge:
1. You've Realized You've Overestimated Yourself, and are Slightly Delusional
The first part of giving into anything is going great distances to assure everyone you know that you will never be doing that particular thing. See: the majority of people currently on twitter.
On a more #grind-oriented note, I think we can all agree that when it comes to non traditional, self-absorbed career paths (i.e., anything that involves a personal entrepreneurial pursuit, or simply exists outside the “you show up at a certain time, wear somewhat nice clothes, and you’ll get paid” model), there is often a supplementary narrative predicated on having an obsessive drive and a delusional perception of one’s own potential. To give a relevant example, successful comedians often note how sick and twisted you have to be when starting out.
As we all know, this mindset can easily be skewed as a declaration of one’s own importance relative to the narcissistic pyramid scheme they are promoting. But as we also all know, these people started from the not here, and now they are there. Transporting oneself wasn’t easy.
But as my friend aptly stated last night over beers at a culturally valid bar in Alphabet City, success isn’t a straight line. If you’ve been delusional enough to think this didn't apply, you've likely experienced many dreary walks home from work cursing at fire-hydrants.
2. You’re Increasingly Listening to "Anti-Man" Music
Sometimes people compose lists based on vague generalizations that are relevant and poignant enough to appeal to a somewhat mass audience. While this process often infuriates a loud minority who actually gives a shit about the topic being somewhat inaccurately analyzed (and ultimately skewed and misconstrued), this is what works. Beasts have nature.
Another thing that works are people who make money. Sometimes people who make money are upset about the things they’ve been doing to make that money. This is because that while money is necessary to pretend like $40 sake bombing plus $40 more with cab and drinks is no sweat, it’s alsosomewhat evil. Because as we all know, the key to being a proper young adult is to rip soulless money grubbers to shreds, yet never get all nervous and sweaty when you have to come up with $5000 by tomorrow in order to secure your apartment.
I’ve really got off the point here, but if there is a point, it’s that people like Paul Ryan really dig bands like Rage Against the Machine and Twisted Sister for a reason. We all need that balancing act.
3. You’ve Begun to “Third-Guess” Yourself
Third-guessing is no different than second guessing. I only said that because I thought it was important that I tricked you into thinking I offered something you weren’t previously aware of. I'm pretty sure this is how people get ahead.
People who hate “selling out” label the term as such because for the most part, they believe that “giving in” to the current standard operations and procedures is some sort of great tragedy. This is true I think, but coming to that conclusion often takes a great deal of critical thinking, and/or a college professor with life experiences underscored by spectacular facial hair.
Getting to be “anti-establishment”* takes a great deal of thought and reflection. Meaning that if you do decide to go to that route, you’ll notice that there are many a thing you are missing. Respectable meals for one, but you might begin to realize that there are actually a shit ton more benefits of “giving in.” Not only practically, but morally. There’s something to be said about working in the current system and slowly but surely altering moving operations towards a manner you feel socially and/or morally acceptable. After awhile, you might realize that actually doing this is sort of noble.
*This isn’t supposed to have any sort of political connotations. You don’t have to be liberal to be disruptive. In fact, especially if you’re trying to make as much money as humanly possibly via @Entreprenuership, its actually incredibly important to enjoy money.
4. “Meaningful Work” vs. “Profit”
There’s this perception out there that good work and profit are rarely ever homies. The Hollywood studio system is probably the best example of this--with directors like Kevin Smith retiring from the field due to the fact that big budget special effects shitstorms like After Earth 3: The Lone Ranger--arguably “terrible” films--have monopolized the film industry business model, therefore pushing out great talent or rising stars.
This of course has a great degree of truth, but there’s also people like Joss Whedon. There’s also something called South Park. Highly creative and subjectively quality endeavors that also make a ton of money. People will often point to business, man Jay-Z always merging the two, non more evident by the current Samsung Carta.
People on the verge of “selling out” will often make this argument--that if you’re really doing something that matters, you’ll know how to get both to work together. It’s a great argument, and it’s ultimately the solution we need. But if you’re thinking of it in terms of a compromise, it means this was never your vision. Which makes the whole thing incredibly dangerous.
5. You Made a Career Related Compromise, However Small, You Swore You'd Never Make 12 Months Ago
The timeframe is important here--remember, this is the same distance in the past/present/future continuum as the time your omniscient seventh grade self once said “man, those 6th graders are SHORT. We weren’t that short back then. No way.”
Time has a tendency to make us all slightly more informed, which inevitably makes us slightly worse people. This is why if you’re a year out of college, you can’t really base much off of what your freshman year self said and thought. Mr. Deeds' rants about our childhood versions hating what we’ve become, but let’s face it--you weren’t cut out to be a firefighter. Your regional accent is too tame, you don’t have a strange fettish for card games, and you aren’t naturally clueless enough to somehow miss major world events. (And deep down, you’re also kind of a giant wimp.)
ALL THAT ASIDE, business moves fast. Especially in this day and age, when even those Cisco Systems cross-the-world SuperSkype commercials seem a bit dated. There are times when you need to compromise, but there are also times when compromisation is easy, or just gonna happen this once.
Chalk it up to a hiccup, even though we all know this is the beginning of a giant snowball. Not saying that’s wrong, just don’t start crying when that ice trickles down your spine. Sometimes, it’s cold outside.