I had a therapist, once, who said that people only talk about “love and jobs.” Okay, she was quoting Freud when she said it, but still I credit her. I’m lucky enough to have the love thing sorted out. It took a long time and lots of work on myself, but thankfully my love box is check-marked, sealed, and secure.
Then there’s the job…
I feel like I’ve been working on the job part for most of my adult life. Well, better to say the career part. A person will have many jobs – sometimes windfalls, sometimes low paying, but the best you can attain – in my humble opinion – is when you can develop a career.
To me, the career is the thing that keeps on giving. It’s a personal brand in a way. A career can (though, not always) shelter one from the volatility of a bad job market and a down economy. A career to me says: you’re at the top of your game, not many other people can do what you do, and you are the MUST HAVE for a company or you sell/ provide something that is a must have for a consumer.
Jobs are easy to get. They can be mindless and yet satisfy your needs. But, a career – a career can help complete you as a person. It can fill you up psychologically, financially, physically, emotionally, and philosophically. At least, that’s my vision for what the dream career can do.
I went to brunch with a friend of mine on Sunday. He’s had a bigger impact on my career focus than he knows. He was the first person who said to me, “Stop focusing on the “scene” of the comedy business and try to re-focus on the creating of things.” Create content. Forget who is doing what show and when. Forget about so and so who says he’s doing this and that. The better thoughts are…What are YOU making? What are YOU building? That’s what’s important.
As we walked towards the restaurant, my friend added…
“I used to think, man, am I bad with money? Then I realized, no, I’m just in this ridiculous, comedy business. I’m trying to make ends meet in a glamour field where almost everyone is working for free. It’s hard to get a fair wage for yourself when the competition is willing to undercut your price to nothing.”
My friend had been working a data entry/ processing job. He worked it hard for about 3 years. Got himself out of debt and built up some savings. All the while, he worked his “career” on the side. He wrote and fought and built and created. The other day he quit his “job” for his “career.” I am proud of him. In fact, I’m awe-struck by it.
As I think about his path in the context of my own, I see that I won’t have that “job” that gets me out of debt in the same way. There will be no data entry/ processing job for me. I’ll have a “career” that does it. It may not take the form that I thought it would. In fact, it may be entirely different than what I had originally envisioned. However, I think it will get me to the same place as my friend. I think it will be my version of a “job,” in that sense. Even though others might see it as a “career.” I see myself getting closer to it everyday. I think the difficult part is in NOT allowing the job to be the end all, be all. The job must be the means to the career. In other words, you work to provide, but you must not stop dreaming AND building.
I know that I’m going to have to figure out a way to keep creating, building, and making. The creating, building, and making is what will help me tweak and finesse the “job” into the more PERFECT “career” – the one entirely of my making and by my rules.
It’s very clear to me now that this will take time, patience, strategy, and drive.
What will be most difficult, I believe, is the balance. Finding a way to nail the imperfect career, so that it can become the dream one. Building my own things on the side, while dedicating myself to the thing that will get me out of debt and on the right path. The prevailing thought is to be an indispensable asset, while building a private empire.
It’s not an easy juggling act, is it?
As always I’d love to hear about your own thoughts and experiences.
Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish on the quest to 365 consecutive posts. If you’d like to join me, add your email to the follow option at the top of the page.
You might also like: