Growing Up & Being Punk Rock

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From a reader named Sty.

I’m curious about your thoughts on staying punk while trying to have a grown-up job. I’m sure you get this question a lot, and you may or may not have answered it before… but I feel like a freaking sellout since I got an office job, however I have to pay the rent and take care of essentials. Short of knocking over liquor stores on a regular basis, I don’t see how this is possible. What can I do? How can I convince myself that I’m not completely selling out? I mean, I use the extra money I have (if I have it) to work on my art, my music, and the occasional writing, but I would just love to get out of this white-collar b.s. And so would some of my other friends. What do you think?

I think you are an adult. Adults work. That’s what we do. You haven’t sold out. You’ve grown up.

No good comes from poverty, and America’s rich tradition of public museums, libraries and parks have been funded by hardcore capitalists. Thank god there are people out there who went to work in oil, railroads and steel. We have great gardens and universities because of those cut-throat SOBs.

Work your 9-5 job and take comfort that you know enough about yourself to realize that it’s just a job. You have more self-awareness than most people who slog through their lives ascribing meaning to careers that never quite meet expectations.

So my advice? Go to work. Pay your bills. Shop locally. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. You can’t support local musicians and artists if you can’t pay your rent.

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