Welcome to Cultural Commentary, a 23-year old’s attempt at ruminating over cultural trends and ‘getting’ online shenanigans. These essays, like her 20’s, sometimes have no right answers and satisfying conclusion just yet – and that’s okay. It’s much more fun that way.
In this week’s edition of ‘what’s the Internet mad about now?‘ comes a viral hiring ad post that’s piqued the conversation on what it means to be a young creative – and the pitfalls of following our so-called passion.
For context, the said ad calls for the ‘best‘ creatives for a certain passion project – everything from animators, designers, writers, and all. It features the typical Gen-Z engaging design and even looks like a good opportunity to meet fellow creatives. The catch? Just don’t expect to get paid.
In fact, if being compensated for your time is something you ‘require‘ as a human being, you’re better off elsewhere, you fricking sell-out.
It’s easy to be transparent if you can’t pay for labor (though it’s high time every form of labor be compensated, IMO), but the pvblic anger comes from the arrogance of the wording – as if it’s such a betrayal to the cRaFt to want to feed yourself.
The company has since deleted the post, but the impact remains. With ‘passion‘ as their key term, it plays heavily on every creative, heck, with every single living person. But we have to stop the mentality that following your dreams is your favor to the universe.
As long as we live under this capitalistic society, money will have a hand in how we live – and that’s just how it is. There’s no shame in wanting a better life, and getting paid doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing your artistic pursuit. Those who deny or negate that have yet to see their immense privilege.
Being exploited begins with our casual trait of skirting the conversation when it comes to money and what we deserve. No, not the inspirational ‘know your worth‘ mantras, but in actually knowing your time’s worth, your assets, your effort. Your output isn’t produced on a whim, it’s from your years of doing what you do and being good at it.
On the flip side, there’s still the difficult conversation to be had in monetizing one’s passions. It’s not for everyone, and getting paid certainly doesn’t negate those who choose to keep their passions isolated from their sources of income. There’s still a fine line between capitalizing yourself and allowing yourself to be consumed by capitalism – and only you can draw that line.
As someone on the cusp of this ordeal too, it’s hard for me to decide if I’ve broken free from the system by pursuing my passion, or if I’ve actually already given in by making it a product to be paid for. Who’s to say?
It’s a real whodunnit – albeit a happy one. Though I do believe that how I perceive the situation is still up to me, and how creatives feel should be up to them too – not companies or brands negating their literal worth.
Banner graphic by Beatrix Zaragoza