Even those lucky enough to have a corporate career know that it can end if the cards get reshuffled. Often the stress of wondering if and when a long held job is going to disappear can be almost as bad as the loss of the job itself.
The chances of a career of decades at one company are slim today and maybe not even worth it. Only a handful of people have the option of ignoring the workplace completely. Yet many of us know that there is something better than hanging onto life in a corporation.
There is actually only one solution that offers a real path to independence. You have to create your own career. Sometimes even multiple careers are needed to carve out the income that you need.
Trying to find your way in the business world on your own is little like standing on a dock and looking at unfamiliar waters. You have to figure out not only where you are going but how you are going to get there.
You might take a kayak from the dock or you might need a skiff. It is a challenge figuring out what will work if you have never been in the waters.
You also have to know if you are a good enough paddler to get there or how to learn the skills you need very quickly.
The answers to many of the questions that you want to ask before sliding away from the dock are elusive. Much of what needs to be done relies on faith in yourself and your ability to adapt to situations that are often beyond your control.
All of this takes time and effort and enough money to survive. You also have to be able to understand when you are headed in the right direction and when you need to turn around and start over. You might even need to find some new skills or equipment.
Several years ago I wrote about "Dip Thinking" and knowing when to keep trying and when to try something new.
Perhaps a few years later, my thoughts are a little different. Few of us can be the greatest at what we do, but many of us can be very good at what we choose to pursue. My thoughts on creating your own career are fairly simple.
- Believe in yourself.
- Turn your passion into your career.
- Be willing to do what it takes to be very good at what you do. If you are not the best, be certain to learn from the best.
- Welcome criticism and suggestions on how to get better at what you are doing.
- Promote yourself and your enterprise. No one else is going to do it for you.
- Be patient. It will take time to find the path to success. The best that you can hope is that you have enough time left to achieve your goals.
- Add value and solve some needs without harming others.
- Help others be successful. The Steve Jobs model does not work for most of us.
- The journey never ends once you get on the right road.
- None of this ever gets easy, but eventually it might not be as hard as when you first started.
My true journey perhaps began in the fall of 2011 when I started writing what would turn out to be my second book, The Pomme Company. It was at that time that I made the decision to completely take the rudder of my own ship.
Much of what I learned since leaving the corporate workd ended up on the pages of the first book that we published in the spring of 2012, A Week at the Beach, An Emerald Isle Travel Guide.
However, it took me until my third book, A Taste for the Wild, Canada's Maritimes, before I really hit my stride.
I am currently working on a 2013 update to our "A Week at the Beach, An Emerald Isle Travel Guide. I have some great plans for this edition. I have listened to a lot of requests and incorporated many new ideas to make it a travel guide that fits our connected world in ways that can make the book very different from others on the market.
I am hoping this next book is a big step in my journey, but I already know that there will be many others.