November 11, 2010
You think to yourself: “You are no Chris Guillebeau; you should just go find a job.”
–Fear expressed from an actual reader email
If you've fallen into the trap of thinking you aren't interesting enough, not smart enough, not savvy enough, not fill-in-the-blank enough, you're, first, wrong, and second, ignorant of the way the world works.
This is no cheesy, self-help, have-faith-in-the-power-of-you! speech—as much as I love those—this is about cold, hard facts.
While it is absolutely true that you will not appeal to everyone (it's impossible), you DO have tremendous appeal—just to the RIGHT PEOPLE. This is key.
While Chris Guillebeau is great, he is only great because there was a group of like-minded people who supported him. There are many others in the world–the wrong people–who might not think so. Those people don't matter–only your right people.
How do you find your right people?
Here's where the internet comes in.
The internet is crucial in helping us do work that's meaningful to us—now we have the ability to stand in a crowd, exactly as we are, hold a sign up telling the world what we stand for, and have a like-minded audience flock to us—our RIGHT PEOPLE.
In the past, you had no sign—only big corporations did–and you were obligated to have to push through the crowd, toppling people over to get to the front, just so you could stand in line, waiting to be recognized by one of those corporations. In order to do so, you couldn't be exactly as you are—you had to be exactly as they wanted you to be.
A clone. A cog. A dispensible resource.
Why do you think they call it “human resources?”
It's a fundamental shift in power, my friends, and it's time to start using it to your advantage.–
“I've already invested so much of my time & money into this career; even though I'm miserable, I don't want to waste it all. I should just stick it out and be grateful for what I have.”
–Thought-process expressed from actual reader email
Being grateful & gracious is nice.
Especially when your grandmother gives you birthday money.
There's a fine line between being “grateful” and “settling”–and it's essential not to confuse the two.
The distinction is quite literally a matter of life or death; those who choose (note the deliberate use of the word “choose”) to exist on this earth as nothing more than a pawn in someone else's game are merely biding their time. You don't want to bide your time; you want to DO SOMETHING WITH IT.
Settling has NO BUSINESS in your heart, in your mind & in your LIFE.
Think of it this way: So you've dedicated the first 20 years of your professional life doing something you hate. If you continue on that path, an investment won't be recouped—an investment will be lost. That investment will be your life.
You cannot get that time back, no matter what you've done in the past; better to cut your losses and make sure you don't make the same mistake for the next twenty years.–
“I work for a nice company. I do what they ask. They pay me a fair wage. That's just life—you do work in exchange for money. I can't complain.”
–Perspective expressed from an actual reader email
Yes, you can complain, and you should.
I cannot stress how antiquated this approach to the work-life equation is.
You don't do work in exchange for money. You do work in exchange for a SMALL PERCENTAGE of the money that your role profits the company.
If it weren't profiting the company, your role wouldn't exist. And the only way it can profit the company, is by creating a gap in the value you provide, and what you're paid. The difference that's left over is theirs to keep. And then you go home with just enough to pay your bills and you wait, like a dog waiting to be pet by its owner, for your next bone—your next small percentage of money that is your paycheck.
This does not have to be “just life.”
Are you really willing to sell your life for a mere $100 a day or so?
That's essentially what you're doing.
On top of meager earnings (in comparison to the value you provide), there's also the opportunity cost—what you must give up in order to work at your job. In order to do one thing, you must forgo something else—unless you can be in more than one place at one time, in which case, contact me ASAP because I want in.
In order to make $100 a day, what must you forgo?
Maybe it's spending time with your children. Maybe it's being able to travel. Perhaps it's having the leisure to paint, cook or read when you need a break.
Or maybe what you forgo isn't tangible—maybe you forgo your energy, your vibrancy, and your zest for life.
Now THERE'S an opportunity cost to be considered.
On the other hand, if you can learn how to build a business around your life, by leveraging your passions and the power of the internet, the opportunity cost of doing so will be in forging the 8-10 hours a day you spend wishing you were doing something else. And that's a good thing.
AND you get to keep all of the profits.