Being a full-time content creator is often referred to as a “dream job.” More kids today aspire to be YouTubers than astronauts, with almost 30% of children ages 8 through 10 listing being a YouTuber as their top career choice in a 2019 survey. According to a more recent 2023 report, 57% of Gen Zers said they’d want to be an influencer if the opportunity presented itself.
Yet, despite the shimmering allure of fame and creative freedom, those working inside the creator economy know that “making it” is no easy feat. And this week, a tidal wave of YouTubers retiring is leading many in the field to speak out about how this so-called dream job can take a toll.
YouTuber Tom Scott was the first and biggest name this month to say he is abandoning the content creation hamster wheel. On Jan. 1, he posted a video for his 6 million subscribers explaining that after 10 years of posting weekly videos, he would be retiring from the grind. While Scott will still be working on a podcast and newsletter in the background, the expectations of constant video production were burning him out.
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“I know I’m incredibly lucky. But a dream job is still a job. And it’s a job that keeps getting bigger and more complicated, and I am so tired! There’s nothing in my life right now except work.“— Tom Scott said in the video, which now has over 10 million views.
Scott’s quote rang throughout the internet, and it specifically gave another creator a much-needed push to announce his retirement. As previously reported by Passionfruit, in a tearful goodbye video on Jan. 9, Matthew “MatPat” Patrick announced that he would be retiring as the main host of the Game Theorist YouTube channel.
In his video, Patrick said he’s exhausted from being constantly in work mode and wants to spend more time with his family. Much like Scott, he’ll still be behind the scenes working on bigger projects (including an upcoming creator fashion show and a fictional series).
We’ve heard time and time again that sharing so much of yourself online while trying to appease ever-changing algorithms is exhausting and takes a huge toll on mental health. This sentiment seems to be a common theme in why many YouTubers are retiring — animator Hunter “MeatCanyon” Hancock, musician Seth Everman, “Minecraft” creator Jordan “CaptainSparklez” Maron, sex education YouTuber Hannah Witton, and gamer Turner “Tfue” Tenney have all announced they are stepping back from posting videos this year for similar reasons.
Now, creators across the internet are sharing their thoughts on why so many long-time creators, who have seemingly met every metric of success and accumulated millions of followers, would want to leave it all behind…
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