Dear career seekers: In life, I know 2 things to be true
First – crunchy peanut butter is better than creamy.
Second – I will be bored of what I’m doing now in six months.
I meet many people who say “I don’t like to work,” or (worse) “I’m not good at anything.”
Many of the Internet gurus seem to assume there is one consuming passion out there, that you need only reach out your hand and find what you were meant to do for the rest of your life. At that point, all feelings of insufficiency will fade. The butterflies descend from above as you embrace your one true purpose for the next 30 years of your life.
Consider this: you may not have an ideal job. So where do you begin your search?
~~1) PICK ONE OF YOUR HOBBIES AND DO IT FOR 31 DAYS
Here is one of the more stupid things you can say:
“I have a passion for ______”
If you haven’t being doing ______ for several years, through thick and thin, you do NOT have a passion for ______. At best, you have an interest in ______.
The hierarchy goes like this:
Interest > Activity > Passion
You don’t just get to have a passion for something. You earn it. When I thoughtI wanted to be a writer, I went through NaNoWriMo, a program which requires you to write an entire novel in a month.
It was demanding.
It was brutal.
It turned me into a recluse for the entire month of November.
And I loved every second of it.
Odds are, if you can do something for 31 days, you have a pretty decent career indicator.
~~2) GO META ON YOUR ABILITIES
That will look something like this:
“I want a career in marketing.”
“Well, marketers are cool.”
“Um, because they get to make stuff and put it in front of people. I want to do that.”
“Because I love recognition”
“In order to find something that fulfills me, I need to work in a job where lots of people see what I’m doing.”
Do you see how your career has widened? You went from “marketer” to “anything which gets recognized.”
It’s easy to get stuck on a job. When you focus on your abilities, and (more importantly), why those abilities matter to you, you open up infinite career options.
~~3) DON’T GET A JOB
I’ve noticed this about AT&T, my Internet provider:
They do not care where I get money to pay them.
In the new world, you have the ability to act as a mad scientist, tying your work as a crochet expert to your penchant for numbers. Does it really matter if you pay the rent from buying, re-upholstering, and selling a couch online, butpay your phone bill through freelance graphic design work?
The Web is not a magical faucet of money. It does, however, provide the connections necessary to build a life for yourself.
Become a Mad Scientist. Test to see what works for you, and then go all in on your favorite (or the most profitable).
~~4) ABSORB WHAT OTHER PEOPLE KNOW
Right now I’m sinking a lot of time into someone else’s book at a HUGE pay cut. He wants the book done in a very short time. He has a very specific vision which is tough to translate to written word at times.
What am I forgetting?
Oh, right, and he started and IPO’d a business for over a billion dollars.
Honestly, I don’t know specifically what he could give me. And I don’t really care. I’ve learned more about business in 10 hours of Skype calls than I have in 3 years of working at an actual company.
The longer I live, the more I realize: I know nothing. Every single person I’ve met is an expert at something. My job is to ask them what they love, watch their face light up, and then drink up whatever information I can.
A great resource for doing this online is the Post-Grad Survival Guide. They’ve got an incredible community and knowledgable content.
~~5) BECOME A CAREER PADAWAN LEARNER
With the price of college skyrocketing, we’re going to start seeing the return ofmakeshift apprenticeships in the world.
Here’s a framework that’s worked well for me:
► Find someone who does what you want to do
► Offer up your abilities to them for free
► Ask specific* questions about their industry
*Specific is a huge point here. Experts don’t want to talk about “how to build a good website.” They want to talk about “what SEO trends are on the rise this year?”
But what if you want more than just “a career?”
I was in a soul-crushing technical writing job, reformatting 120-page manuals day after day after day. I knew there had to be an escape. I knew there had to be an answer.
It’s so simple you’ll want to kick yourself.
It’s this: NEW IDEAS.
When I made ideas the priority, I got out of the terrible job. I started executing my artistic vision. I get to do more of what I love than what I hated by a LONG shot every single day.
Finally, I captured my idea process in a book, which I’m giving away for free. The Ultimate Guide to Infinite Ideas.