Besides writing, one of my passions is video games. I happily follow quite a few video game-centric WordPress blogs as well as watch plenty of entertaining video game enthusiasts on YouTube with Rachel.
Recently, and I’m not going to name anyone specific here, one of the blogs I follow put up a post about a YouTuber who is going to quit creating some of his videos regarding a certain video game company due to said company’s strict policies about their games being featured on YouTube in that manner. Frankly, I wasn’t too surprised because corporations can be like that, it’s their business, even if I do believe that, as long as their games/works aren’t being slandered, there’s no harm in the free advertisement. (What do I know, though. I’m not a huge video game company that knows the ins and outs of that sort of business. I suppose that’s a whole other debate itself.)
What actually prompted me to start this particular blog post was one of the comments regarding the YouTuber quitting. It was short, to the point, with the commenter basically saying that the YouTuber could now “get a real job.”
That pissed me off.
Here was someone blatantly disrespecting another person’s occupation and, more importantly, passion, and it was difficult to fathom as to why.
What is the definition of a “real job,” anyway? Is it defined by how much manual labor one puts in a specific task? Is it showing up to an office five days a week? Is it a responsibility, a duty, to a certain person or business? Why not all of the above?
Creating a steady stream of good-quality videos to keep up with consumer demands is a job. There’s the equipment to learn, there’s the cost of the tech, there’s the installation, there’s the scripts to write and memorize, there’s the images and screenshots and video clips and voice overs and music and setting and editing to all mesh together to create a coherent video for others to enjoy. That is labor just as a 9-to-5 office job is.
Hard labor aside, YouTubers also need to be charismatic entertainers in order to keep their views up. The basic gist of getting paid by YouTube is through the ads that play before and after their video. If their views fluctuate, so does their money. They don’t get hourly wages that are, by law, paid to them just for showing up at the office. It takes discipline to follow one’s own schedule. How simple it would be for someone not bound by a corporation’s hours to just stay in bed on a rainy day! Professional YouTubers are their own bosses, which is more daunting than wonderful. They push themselves to work and perform with only their own deadlines hanging over their heads.
While professional YouTubers are their own bosses, they have an obligation to their viewers. If they start shirking on the quality of their videos, they’re going to lose their good viewers, you know, the ones who actually give decent comments and critique. While in the end, YouTubers have no one to answer to but themselves, the majority of them do it to entertain. They have the guts to put themselves out there, ripe for ridicule, all for the sake of amusing others. In case you didn’t know, the Internet is a scary place full of trolls! Remember how terrifying it used to be (or maybe still is) to speak in public? Here are these people voluntarily putting themselves up on a stage in front of millions of strangers, hoping that those strangers will enjoy what the YouTubers are doing just as they do. If a YouTuber is able to enrapture an audience that has more intelligent viewers than those just seeking attention, know that they work hard for it.
When I had decided to quit my corporation job in order to pursue my writing passion more fully, my boss had said, “Okay, but what are you going to do for a job? You know, for money?” I was flustered to hear such a thing. I am fully aware of the hardships that come with writing full-time, and am working on back-up options, but I was gobsmacked at the question itself. When I had seen that comment regarding someone else’s creative passion — a comment that was so simple and so similar to what I had been (and am being) asked all the time — it hit home.
It’s a shame for the world that creative passions, like writing or creating YouTube videos, need to be proved as “real jobs.”