When Your Fandom Is A Barrier To Success

I meet plenty of people who'd like to do their own business, start a new career with what they geek over, and so forth.  They'd really like to do this, they're quite positive.

They don't suceed or have trouble.

I know I've gone on about this before, but I wanted to add one more thing to the mix of "why fans and geeks don't have careers that make them happier" – and that's that sometimes your fandom itself can be the barrier.

This is an easy thing to miss – because we may not see it, and because as people are often used to have their hobbies not taken seriously.  We don't often ask if what we love might not be something that we're pursuing in ways or affected by ways that affect our success.

Unfortunately when you want to go fan-to-pro, you do need to assess this.  In fact, it may be more important as you may have a few blind spots in your life.

The common ways one's fandom and geekery can negatively affect one's career ambitions are:

  • Low Self-Esteem:  You don't want to admit you geek over things, you're the lone fan of an obscure sports team in your office, etc.  Looking down on yourself can subtly affect your overall view of yourself – you need to learn to be proud of yourself.  Geek-identification can also lead to negative attitudes on yourself.
  • Distraction:  I don't need to tell you how flame wars, guild meltdowns, and the like can be big distractions to your life.  If you're in a contentious fandom that drains you constantly, you may need to rethink your involvement.
  • The Grind:  You may be level-grinding in a game, churning out the latest fanfic you no longer care about, producing that fan art you're tired of doing, or posting statistics for a team you no longer follow.  Your fandom can become a grind as sure as a job, and wear you out the same.
  • No Longer Fun:  Maybe your fandom is a big source of fun and relaxation – it may not even be career oriented anyway, but it's still a stresser.  If you're no longer getting any relaxation from what you've decided to be fun, you'll be drained.

Sometimes the things you love – or once loved – can be a distraction.  Keep that in mind, it can sneak up on you.

In fact, deciding to move to a geeky career may be what you need to rethink what you love.  Your move to writing a column could re-energize your writing, your new marketing career may revive your fanart.  Just don't let what you love distract you from the overall love of a big, meaningful life.

Steven Savage