I burst out of college, like most people do, full of dreams.
Here was the plan – I’d take a job just to fill the time while I built my million dollar business. Then I’d cash out, buy a second house on the lake, and wile the days away (probably playing mandolin.)
2 and a half years later, I’ve still got a “boss.” People tell me what to do and I do it like a good little worker.
And I can’t even plan mandolin.
But along the way, I’ve learned it doesn’t matter so much where you end up, but what you make of it.
If you’re finding yourself in someplace less than your dream job, try these 5 tips which made me worlds happier.
1. Learn from everyone
Every creative likes to believe he’s the lone wolf. Like everything he spits out is pure gold and if people don’t understand it, it’s their fault.
This isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, you’ll find fellow warriors. Folks who have been around the block a time or two and know about making things for money.
They’ll be able to tell you exactly why people don’t understand what you’re trying to do and better yet – how to fix it.
2. Take the money and give it back to yourself
The flip side of having folks tell you what to do all the time is the fact that they will then hand you dollar bills in exchange for your service. I’ve hit this nail over the head time and time again, but I do not want you to be a starving artist!
In this world, there is plenty of room to be both a Creator for yourself and a Creator for others.
Take your paycheck and use it for yourself. Buy business books. Buy new tools. Take classes.
Treat your full-time gig as a “fundraiser” for what you want to do.
3. Get better every single day.
Some folks get stalled in the corporate world because in addition to the big, fun tasks, they have to run around doing administrative stuff.
But the only way to get better at the things you really want to do is to do them every day.
That means if you’ve spent the first 7 hours and 30 minutes doing things you have to do, use the next 30 minutes to work on what you want to do.
Here’s the magic sauce – the more you work on things you want to do, the better you get at them. the better you get at those things, the more people will demand them. The more people demand them, the more work you’ll get in that area. Your boss will be happy because you are busy, and will probably hire someone else to take care of the details while you stay busy making your magic.
4. Craft the job you want
That’s the best part of being the best at what you do. You get to do more of it.
My first job was a Technical Writer. When I found out that was more dull and painful than scraping my tongue across 100 miles of sandpaper, I started looking for other opportunities. I saw a hole in the business for both my team and the team that worked closely with mine, created a prototype, and received a new job offer within 3 weeks. (That’s pretty much lightspeed for big, slow organizations).
Now, I don’t really have to worry about email that much, I do next to no administrative tasks, and I get to create ALL the time. I’m happy in my world.
5. Stay Flexible
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the world changes every day. What’s popular or in demand at this moment won’t necessarily be that way next year or next month or even next week. The true king of the corporate castle is ever-malleable.
Learn new things. Learn new things all the time and try to guess what’s coming. If you’re right, you’ll look like a genius. If you’re wrong, no worse off than the people who never look in the first place.
Here’s the truth: You will probably have a boss at some point. You might have to sell your soul. You will probably be locked in a castle.
Might as well rule over it before you decide to break out.