Stop the Job Suckage: Day Eight

* This ten-day series is designed to help you kickstart a new way of approaching your job or career. Over ten days, we’ll explore how to look objectively at the job/career situation you’re in, and clarify where to go next. For some, that might mean not leaving a job but drastically improving it in some meaningful way. For others, this series will provide some help with clarifying your next career move or pave the way to a transition. You’re strongly encouraged to complete all ten steps, in order, to see what answers you arrive at.

Day Eight: Collaborate

(Nice how all of that rhymes, huh?)

If you are still considering ideas for a career move, it’s time to collaborate. If you know the career you want to go into, it’s time to collaborate.

For those of you still considering–ask to interview people who are involved in lines of work that you might possibly be interested in. Ask what they love about what they do and what is a challenge. People like being interviewed, so you might be surprised by how many people are totally into this (also, people like it when you buy them a cup of coffee or send them a Peet’s card). Try to get a really real picture of their jobs. Don’t back away from asking tough questions. 

For those of you who know your line of work–ask to interview people in that line of work, and ask what things they  would do differently, or what mistakes they made that they’d do differently, and what they learned. Ask about things like unexpected costs. Ask if they have any job openings where you can intern for awhile. Take a risk.

I once thought that it would be a dream of mine to be a working fine artist. I had some solo shows at cafes and other local places. I learned by doing that it was not something that I ultimately wanted to do. I wish that I had asked more questions of someone in the business, beforehand. In case you’re thinking of becoming a fine artist, here’s my brief personal run-down: 

The Good:

Creativity, art, collaboration, the thrill of seeing your work hung, opening nights, attention, getting messy, people who love your work and tell you so.

The not as good:

Hanging a new show (physically demanding), finding storage space for art, the constant marketing, not making much money on a show given how many hours go into it…which leads to stressing about money.

I learned that I personally preferred to make art in my home rather than do shows. That’s just me. Another artist–someone who’s more invested and more passionate about art-making–might decide that all of my “not so goods” are worth it to her, and they have the perseverance to surmount those challenges.

Either way, isn’t it good to be advised of the challenges before jumping in?

So, who will you be contacting today?

Stop the Job Suckage: Day Seven

* This ten-day series is designed to help you kickstart a new way of approaching your job or career. Over ten days, we’ll explore how to look objectively at the job/career situation you’re in, and clarify where to go next. For some, that might mean not leaving a job but drastically improving it in some meaningful way. For others, this series will provide some help with clarifying your next career move or pave the way to a transition. You’re strongly encouraged to complete all ten steps, in order, to see what answers you arrive at.

“I’m going along with all of this, but I still know that I don’t want to be in this line of work. Now what?”

First, let’s start with those of you who may not know what line of work you want to go into, and then we’ll get to those of you who know what you want to do and want to take the leap.

Please note that these are both super-involved topics, and I’m going to be aiming for brevity and directness.

If you’re not sure what other line of work you’d like to do–talk to your closest friends and ask them what line of work they would imagine you doing, knowing the kind of person that you are. I consider this far more effective than a college career counselor administering an aptitude test. I took those in college and none of them told me what feedback from my friends told me: that I wanted to call the shots, that I wanted to balance between working with people and flying solo, that I had an interest in problem-solving, that I wanted to incorporate creativity, that I get bored with repetitive tasks.

Who knew? Life coaching is a career where I get to “call the shots” by setting my own schedule and working for myself; I work with people one-on-one for their sessions but “fly solo” when I work by studying up on human relationships or working in my home office; it’s all about problem-solving (the kind that can actually be solved or reframed); I get to incorporate creativity all of the time through writing or website design or just having a schedule where I have time for that. And trust me, there is nothing boring or repetitive about it.

My friends never said “life coach” when I asked them what they saw me doing. They used the phrases above. Notice that no one suggested I go into sales.

What jobs are you drawn to? I didn’t know coaching existed as a career until I happened to read an email about it (passed along to me by a college career counselor). Everything in me said “YES!” when I read that description.

What careers have you heard of, where you thought, “THAT sounds so cool!”

I’ve worked with coaching clients before who described five seemingly unrelated creative things they wanted to do, and then followed that up with, “But there is no career that has all of that.”

Meanwhile, I was listening to that thinking, “Oh, she’s talking about becoming a Creative Director.”

The client thought the job didn’t exist. I knew such a position did exist.

And, as Yvonne Dutra-St.John of the Challenge Day organization is fond of saying when she describes how she ended up becoming a leader/co-founder/author: “The job for me didn’t exist yet. I created it.”

Those of you who are uncertain about your next move are in a great place. You get to experiment and try things out. You also get to choose whether you look at that as an unfair burden or as something exciting!

Now, for those of you who already know exactly what you want to do: How can you make that happen for you, part time? Etsy is everyone’s favorite for crafty selling.

Worried that you aren’t yet experienced enough to do what you want to do? Give it away for free. People tend to worry less about experience when it’s free. Worried you don’t have enough experience to work as a home organizational consultant in some capacity? Start consulting for free–organize your neighbor’s closet, note what you learn, and don’t charge a dime. Positive that you can’t book photoshoots because you didn’t go to school for photography? Do it for free.

Or if you know that it’s not possible to implement it part-time, how willing are you to start announcing to family, friends, loved ones that you intend to start __________ by [ this date ] ?

You have no idea what will come out of the woodwork. You might meet someone tomorrow who can hand you the opportunity to make the switch you want to make. That won’t happen if you keep quiet about it.

For every barrier that comes up, choose to take the approach that you will find the time, money, skills, or capability–the solution will present itself. Resistance will tell you that it’s got to be all or nothing, that you have to have it all figured out now (or five minutes ago). Resistance will tell you that if you can’t quit your job and do exactly what you want full time right now, it’s not worth it.

Okay, then–to what are you more committed? Resistance, or something bigger?

Stop the Job Suckage: Day Six

* This ten-day series is designed to help you kickstart a new way of approaching your job or career. Over ten days, we’ll explore how to look objectively at the job/career situation you’re in, and clarify where to go next. For some, that might mean not leaving a job but drastically improving it in some meaningful way. For others, this series will provide some help with clarifying your next career move or pave the way to a transition. You’re strongly encouraged to complete all ten steps, in order, to see what answers you arrive at.

Day Six–whew! 

You’ve looked at how to be in integrity (if you skipped the last post, it’s really important–pause, read, then come back here).

Now it’s time for action. Look at your list of possible solutions from days three and four.

Choose between 3-5 items (challenge yourself to go beyond that, even) and implement them.

Now.

Not tomorrow. Not next week.

Now.

It’s Wednesday. You can do this. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You don’t have to see the effects immediately. 

You don’t “have to” do anything–you GET to do this. Chances are good that if you are reading this, you are living in one of the lucky countries where changes such as, say, improving communication skills in the workplace or having a more balanced schedule are “luxury problems.” I don’t say that to guilt you; I say it to encourage you to take advantage of how fortunate you are. Use your power.

Get started.

Tomorrow we’ll address: “I’m going along with all of this, but I still don’t want to be in this line of work. Now what?”