Dear Diary | If only I’d worked harder | A Mess In A Dress

The biggest lie you will ever be told is that if you want something enough and work hard, you can achieve all of your dreams.  You often hear this from the rich, the entrepreneurs or the creatives (actors, authors, artists and yes, bloggers). Well, I call bulls**t!

The thing that annoys me about this lie is not the smug look on people’s faces when they tell you achieved their success because “they worked hard”.  Or even the implied criticism that if you haven’t achieved similar successes, you just didn’t work hard enough.  No, the thing that gets my goat is the hope and promise it gives to every young person.  Hope that will eventually be crushed when you realise you’re just not going to get there, leaving you feeling like an utter failure.

You hear this a lot from performers, actors and singers, usually when they are accepting some accolade or other.  They’ll say something along the lines of “I’m proof that anyone with a dream can make it, if you just try hard and don’t give up.”

Now, that’s funny but I know lots of very talented people, who worked exceptionally hard but never got their big break.  People who packed up their lives to move to the big city, attended class after class, lined up at auditions and sometimes even got shortlisted, sometimes to the final two.  Sadly, though they never got their big break.

Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just weren’t in the right place at the right time.  You didn’t have the right colour hair, or have friends who happened to know the lighting tech guy in a big show. Does that mean you didn’t work as hard? Of course not.  However, the performing industry does have the highest unemployment rate so statistically it can’t happen for everyone!

Another regular group of culprits are business-owners, usually pretty well off, maybe with a fancy house or a swish car.  “I worked incredibly hard to get where I am”, they say “Anybody could do the same”. A lot of these people also have connections already in the business world.  Or a spouse to be the main breadwinner while they take a gamble.  Or no major responsibilities that will suffer if they fail.

Finally you have bloggers.  There’s always one, usually sat on a yacht or in their ultra-white house with its rose gold accessories.  “We make our own opportunities by working really hard.  You’re just jealous.”  Ok, I’m not trying to suggest that anybody isn’t working very hard.  The thing is, I read A LOT of blogs and there are hundreds, nay thousands of bloggers who work equally hard, take beautiful photos and spend hours planning great content but I don’t see them getting treated to an all-expenses paid to NYC.

Sometimes you were just fortunate.  Sometimes you got there first. Sometimes you had friends in the right places.  Sometimes you wrote that one post that happened to go viral.  It doesn’t make you better or more hardworking than anyone else.  It makes you one of the lucky ones.

I am more than willing to accept that all of these “types” probably do work incredibly hard.  Still, I do find it REALLY frustrating when they won’t admit a certain amount of luck was involved.  Call it fate, serendipity, whatever you like but for whatever reason, the dice fell in your favour and you get to be a success story.  Not all of us can say the same.

I once saw this quote on Jason Manford’s Facebook page:

“People always seem to admire those folks who ‘followed their dream’. Those people who became singers, footballers or surgeons & astronauts. But I prefer to praise those people who gave up on their dreams and just crack on with rubbish jobs that they hate. They’re the real heroes.”

This basically sums up how I feel about life. Obviously if I had the choice I’d be off pursuing my career in musical theatre, starting my wedding planner business or heck, being a full-time blogger.  Instead, I have a bog-standard, 9-5 office job in a school, which I sometimes find fulfilling but more often than not is monotonous.  Is the my “dream job”? Far from it.  Does it pay the bills?  Absolutely.

I am, in fact, incredibly good at my job and I work very hard to be as good as I can be.  I regularly work overtime and go above and beyond the call of duty to try and do my best.  Unfortunately, I also work in an environment where my particular talents are not widely-valued or well-paid.  That’s just how it is.

It’s a fact of life that sometimes you have to do what you have to do, rather than what you want to do.  I go to work to earning a living, to pay my bills and support my family.  I don’t have the luxury of doing what I love, instead I do what it takes.  For some people, that’s just the way life is.

So, if you are one of those blessed people who are living the dream, give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work.  Then thank your lucky stars for everything falling into place.




  1. Sian says:

    I definitely think we work because we have to! I’ve always worked hard in every job I’ve had but I’m still in retail! Nowadays, it’s more about who you know! For some jobs, it’s even what you look like! Those who imply that people have less money because they don’t work hard are very narrow-minded. Most people who have a job work hard at it but timing can be everything and there are many different factors to consider before having a dream job!

    Sian x

    • Stacey says:

      You’re so right. I bet there are some people in incredibly low paying jobs who work exceptionally hard. One doesn’t necessary exclude the other! Thanks for reading!

    • Stacey says:

      Exactly. I suppose you just keep doing what you have to do and if you get a lucky break, that’s just an added bonus.

  2. Jess says:

    I love this because it is so genuine and real, there is simply nothing else I can say but thank you for speaking for those who simply don’t ‘make it’ for one reason or another.

  3. robert says:

    Life is a gamble. You live your life like you would invest your life savings. You have a choice. Low risk, not much to lose, but safe and boring outcome. High risk, everything to lose, everything to gain. Opportunities come and go, sometimes you are lucky enough to be in its path – or sometimes you are creative enough to make those opportunities happen. Every opportunity is accompanied by risks, it’s up to you to do the risk assessment and see if you can live with your choices. When I’ve found myself with an opportunity that worked for me, I’ve grabbed it. It’s not a matter of working hard, or harder. It’s just seeing the opportunity, weighing up the pro’sand con’s, and making an informed choice. Or maybe one based on gut reaction. Others I’ve been offered have involved too much risk, like losing the job you have, your income, or even losing your home. When everyone depends on you to keep them safe, fed, clothed, its difficult to take those risks. Some people take the risk anyway, and for one or two it pays off. Others find themselves out of work and homeless. It ends up being a gamble – you try to influence it the best you can, to steer your life sort of in the direction you would like, and either all the bricks line up to form the yellow brick road, or a tsunami can wash out your plans, your dreams, your aspirations, in a moment. So, what to do? Survive and adapt. See the positives through all of the negatives. And don’t give up hope. Just because it isn’t a possibility now, doesn’t mean it will never be a possibility. Don’t live your life regretting your decisions. Accept that you made them for a good reason at the time, even if they turn out less than you hoped, and move on. We will all leave this earth wondering if we did enough, if we could have done better. There will always be goals we didn’t quite reach. Even rich people have regrets in the end; rich but failed marriages; rich but no one to leave it to. It depends on how you are measuring success. Winning a holiday, or raising a beautiful family to be proud of.

    You won’t go far wrong sticking with Maslow – now there’s a frood who really knew where his towel was…

  4. Sophie says:

    This!! so true, it is about both working hard and being in the right place at the right time I totally agree there are so many other factors as well as working hard! great post Stacey, so well written and so relatable! xxx

    • Stacey says:

      Thank you! I’m really pleased there are people who agree with me so I don’t feel like it’s just me being miserable and bitter!

  5. Amy says:

    I absolutely love this post, everything you’ve said is so true and I love that Jason Manford quote! So many people work very very hard, but there are only so many of those who can statistically make it and yes, they’re the lucky ones. It’s not that they didn’t work hard, it’s just that there are people who work equally as hard who haven’t made it!
    Amy xx

    • Stacey says:

      This is exactly right. I’m not trying to detract from the work other people have done, just pointing out that some people work just as hard without the same success. That’s just life sometimes. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Kayleigh Zara says:

    I really agree with the post and I know how hard it is to work so hard and feel like you’re no closer to your dream x

  7. Abbeylouisarose says:

    Really interesting post here, Stacey! I completely agree that sometimes success is all down to luck, and often about who you know rather than what you know, or how hard you work! The Jason Manford quote is spot on, people who didn’t end up doing what they always dreamed about should be applauded, it doesn’t make them any less of a person or any less successful that things didn’t quite work out for them! A really thought provoking read, thank you!

    Abbey ❤️

    • Stacey says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you found it interesting. I’m really happy that so many people understand what I was trying to say. I was worried it might come across as bitter!

  8. Natasha says:

    This post is spot on and agreed with pretty much everything you said. I think a lot of people feel like they are failing for not working hard enough and that’s just not true. Thanks for sharing.

    • Stacey says:

      Thanks for reading. It’s so hard not to judge yourself by other people’s standards, when really you should feel proud of the work you do, even if it isn’t always recognised.

    • Stacey says:

      You’re so right. I know lots of fabulous bloggers, who work so hard on their content but because they don’t have the views or followers they’re not classed as “successful”. Thanks for reading!

  9. Lucy says:

    We work to live lol, my brother always says he works hard which is why he is successful where as I played too hard and don’t have the job I truly want… I work hard too.. but I have some cracking memories haha and I don’t regret it now. I did a while ago because I should be the person buying the products I sell xxxxxx

    • Stacey says:

      I think everyone does what they have to do at the time. We don’t have to achieve someone else’s idea of success just to show we work hard in life.

  10. Izzy Marie Hill says:

    I absolutely loved this post Stacey! I’m all for chasing your dreams but I’m also realistic, cause let’s face it, you have to be in this day and age! Unfortunately it isn’t all about talent any more and it’s very rare that an absolute nobody scores the lead roll in the latest Star Wars film, (as an example). But ah well!

    Lots of love Izzy |
    Izzy Marie Hill recently posted…April Lust List!My Profile

    • Stacey says:

      Thanks Izzy! I’m really glad you understood what I was trying to say. Obviously we’d all love to follow our dreams but it doesn’t always fall into place. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Stacey says:

      This is exactly it! A lot of people work very hard without necessarily being “successful” in the eyes of the world.

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