“Hard Now” vs “Hard Later”: Why I (Always) Choose “Hard Now”

GUEST CREATOR: Vlad Adrian Iancu

You’ve been blessed with being a creator.

To: You

From: Vlad Adrian Iancu

Dear You, 

You are incredibly lucky. Never forget that. 

For you, this specific wonderful combination of You to be born, a helluva cosmic perfect storm had to take place. I won’t bore you with the details: that one sperm cell, the egg, the DNA mumbo jumbo. Bottom line, You appeared, out of a gazillion possibilities. 

If that ain’t lucky enough, you’ve been blessed with being a creator. You put your mind to it and stuff appears out of thin air. How many people get to do that for a living? Trust me, not many. 

But you’re not happy. Trust me, I know. You find that life’s somehow unfair, and you’ve been slighted. You think you’ve been handed a raw deal. Maybe you’re forgetting You are in charge. 

That’s why I want to share with you my philosophy. The philosophy of choosing Hard Now, instead of Hard Later. 

The difference is quite simple: you can choose the easy way/the fast way, or you can take the path less traveled. Easy solutions and easy fixes usually end up biting you in the ass. 

I had this feeling inside myself that authenticity was the way to go.

My personal “Hard Now” moments

Throughout most of my life I chose Hard Now. I was a misfit, a mature kid who just couldn’t be integrated in a group. Maturity came from hardship, not from reading Baudelaire. Or, at least perceived hardship. I had this feeling inside myself that authenticity was the way to go. Yes, even when other people didn’t like who I was. 

As a result, I didn’t have many friends growing up. Still don’t. But the ones I do share a friendship with, they are the real deal. They know the sunny side of my story, and the not so pleasant details. 

“Hard Now” meant that I wouldn’t just do whatever everybody else was doing. They threw rocks at cats and dogs, I didn’t. They made fun of other kids, I didn’t. They chose to drink and do drugs, I waited until I was of legal age, ha. Not fitting in as a kid, and later as a teenager, was debilitating, let me tell you. Sure, I could have chosen Hard Later. And, on some occasions, just to feel like a human being, I did. 

My professional “Hard Now” moments

And then, the reality of being an adult hit me at 90 miles per hour. If you can pretty much do whatever with your personal life, the professional world doesn’t usually stand for such crap. Again, I had to choose between Hard Later – being a good little employee, and Hard Now – speaking about the stuff that made my blood boil. 

My first ever job interview was a total fiasco. I was supposed to teach English to preschool children. But I had opinions about how young minds need to be handled. For me, it was less about education and rules, more about nurturing and self-expression. 

Now, I needed a job and pocket money. Hard Later would have meant I nodded in agreement to whatever my interviewer said. I would have gotten the job and I would have been miserable in two weeks flat. I chose Hard Now and failed. 

Then, I wasn’t even able to work with my own mother. Differing views on business. I could have chosen to be the perpetual professional Mama’s boy, and be frustrated around the clock. Instead, I chose Hard Now. Kept only a collaboration with her company, moved out, started life again in a new city, and ended-up working in a call-center. 

The rest of my professional experience is a carousel of doing the right thing, speaking up against injustice, and basically being blacklisted by every manager I ended up having. It was Hard Now and hard then. 

Funny enough, I never got fired and all my colleagues and even superiors considered me an asset to the company. I was a problem boy only for management.

Freelance experience

The penny had to drop at some point, and I figured the only person who will ever hire me and my idiosyncrasies would be… me. So I did exactly that. 

Being your own employer is not easy. Before, I only had to deal with one manager. Now, I deal with multiple clients. The difference is: I don’t let them mount me. I write a lot on this topic in B00ls: Issue 12 (my newsletter) but it boils down to this: 

Any collaboration is a partnership: the sooner you draw a line in the sand (a healthy boundary) the sooner you get the respect of whoever’s paying you.

For example: 

  • You want to modify my contract? Won’t happen if it’s not mutually beneficial.
  • You want to pay me less this month? No, you signed for a fixed fee, no matter what happens.
  • You want me to do stuff that’s not in the contract, and you’ll make it up to me later? Nah, you pay now. 

I know, it hurts you to even think about raising these concerns with a client. What if they bail on you? Well, what if they don’t?

What if they end up respecting you and seeing you as a professional? What if you start respecting yourself? 

That’s a gamble You should be willing to take. 

This Social Media thing

If you follow me on LinkedIn, and if you don’t, maybe you should, you’ll notice that I never pull my punches. I like saying that “if a shit is a shit, I’ll call it a shit, not a chocolate mousse.” 

It’s not a facade either, or an act. It’s just who I am. Sure, I could choose Hard Later and build a brand that’s not authentically me. I’d attract clients faster, not after one year and a half (yo, successful freelancing doesn’t happen in a heartbeat) and I’d grow a lot faster by talking about all the platitudes under the Sun. 

Instead, even with my social media presence, I chose Hard Now. I chose the difficult topics, I chose to call out the liars and the common wisdom. That’s working for me, and I don’t have to pretend I’m anybody else when a client does end up in a call with me. 

Creators create for the thrill of creating, not the end result.

Oh, yeah, writing with A.I.

I don’t want to turn this article into a full-blown A.I. rant, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. To my mind, writing with A.I. is the best example of choosing Hard Later over Hard Now. 

I won’t even go into the legal and ethical aspects (using it means f*cking over other creators such as yourself). I’m only talking about outsourcing your thought process and your craft and skills because it’s easier this way. Because someone else does it for you, faster than you. 

You’ll end up relying on that someone. And it won’t be about you and the work that comes out of your hands. It will be about the end result. 

Last time I checked, creators created for the thrill of creating, not the end result. 

The long term benefits of choosing “Hard Now”

I think it’s obvious by now that Hard Now basically means choosing yourself and putting your needs first. Too much Hard Later and you’ll wake up one day, realizing you’re living a life that’s not exactly yours. 

And you might even end up hating yourself for it…


I had a very different conclusion planned for this article. I was going to be a stern professor, a Guru, a personal trainer telling you to always push yourself and always choose Hard Now because that’s what winners do. 

I’d be a major league hypocrite and say: “You can choose Hard Later when you’re dead. Right now, do the right thing and choose Hard Now.”

After several bouts of burnout and a constant battle with my imposter syndrome, I know choosing Hard Now every damn time is not only impossible, but also incredibly toxic for yourself and loved ones. I should know, I’ve been dragging my feet with this article for a couple of days (sorry, Oana). 

Yeah, I don’t always choose Hard Now. I just take it one day at a time, and try to be better, little by little. And maybe that’s what you should also attempt. 

Remember: you’re already incredibly lucky.

You might think this letter is addressed to you. Yes, it is, but I needed to write it a lot more than you needed to read it. 

“Hard Now” vs “Hard Later” Vlad Adrian Iancu JOCstudio GUEST CREATOR

Vlad Adrian Iancu

He hates writing self-descriptions with a passion that suits a better purpose. Copywriter and content writer, marketing contrarian and professional (Gica Contra) intent on making the world a better place, one liver failure and nervous breakdown at a time. He also likes to exaggerate. A lot. Follow his writing/marketing misadventures on his newsletter or LinkedIn page.

JOCstudio’s note. With the guest creators’ series on our website, we hope to build a safe space for creatives to share their very personal experiences in the professional environment. Let’s talk about mental health, inclusivity, diversity, and equity. How’s your workplace culture doing?

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *