ADVICE BY R. ERIC THOMAS
My dog is internet-famous, and it’s stressing me out. I made him an Instagram account when I adopted him as a puppy, because I enjoyed writing funny captions, finding increasingly funny sweaters to put him in, and using my amateur photography skills to document all of our adventures. But now he’s five years old and over the years, his account majorly blew up. It now has hundreds of thousands of followers, regular requests for sponsorship deals, and my phone is always buzzing with notifications. I realized a couple weeks ago that if I quit my job and ran his account full-time, by doing things like creating sponsored content twice a week, making merch, and accepting brand partnerships, I could earn 50 percent more than I do at my current job, which, while already partially remote, isn’t a job I love.
However, I’m scared to bite the bullet and leave, and I have nobody to advise me because I don’t usually share the fact that my dog is a “petfluencer” with my friends and coworkers (I’m always scared they’ll judge me or think I’m the millennial equivalent of a cat lady). Plus, it seems wrong to make a full-time business out of my pet. Don’t get me wrong—he likes getting dressed in sweaters, going to new places, and loves it when strangers recognize and fawn over him. But I keep thinking of all the work I put in to get college scholarships and a degree from a good college, and then the years I spent working my way up to my current job. Quitting in my early thirties to take pictures of my dog adorably gnawing a certain chew toy seems too good to be true, and I can’t help but think I’ll end up crawling back to the workplace eventually. But this is also an amazing opportunity to turn what was basically a fun hobby into a job that I know brightens people’s day whenever they see my pup’s goofy photos in their feed. Should I take the risk and quit? How can I explain my career change to colleagues and acquaintances without seeming crazy?
— Too Good at Fetching Likes