We’re all looking for that perfect career, which, hopefully we all know by now, absolutely does not exist. It’s taken me longer than most to figure this out. After two years of business school, I assumed that my work would be intellectually interesting and 100% satisfying, but this is not the case.
Instead, work really is just that…work! It’s a grind, a series of tasks, activities and processes to complete throughout the day. Every once in awhile you may come across that one job or project that stretches you, one where you learn, one where you get to develop an idea and then put it into action. Most days, though, it’s just work.
I’ve also learned that I actually don’t even aspire to the types of careers business school students typically idealize. A little too stiff, a little too conservative, a little too inside-the-box.
Instead, I’ve been drawn to people who have done it their own way, whether that means starting their own company, working a couple different jobs or finding that dream job but in an industry I never could have envisioned.
Create your own career so that work isn’t quite so much “work,” and, as Seth Godin would say, “take your turn.”
Here are a couple of ways I’ve been thinking about designing the life that will suit me, and maybe one of these ideas will inspire you.
I’ve been reading a lot about this concept of slash careers, which is all about building a more satisfying professional life around a couple of different activities rather than just one. You can have an “anchor job”–the one that pays the bills and provides the benefits–as well as one or more “orbital jobs” that may not be as lucrative but fill other needs. Envision a lawyer by day, artist by night. News reporter by day, actress by night. Personal trainer most days, photographer on the others. Any combination is possible as long as you can manage to make it work for you.
What I love about this concept is that just because a job is your anchor doesn’t mean it’s the one you identify with the most. When you introduce yourself, you could use that secondary job title as opposed to the income-producing one. Slash careers give you options not only in terms of income and job satisfaction but also in terms of how you present yourself to the world.
The Side Hustle
This one in particular is really working for me right now, probably because of my side hustle Avantūr. Job-on-the-side, side project, whatever you want to call it, the concept is similar to a slash career, but perhaps the side hustle isn’t necessarily earning you any money just yet. It’s a passion, a project that fulfills you in ways your day job does not.
I started my side hustle, a fashion business, to satisfy my desire to actually make something. Not only does it satisfy my need to express myself creatively in terms of the design of the clothing, but I also enjoy the creativity of building a business.
Income, happiness, resilience…these are all reasons you may want to consider breaking the mold and developing your own combination of activities to build the career that suits you.
Featured Image: Day Jobs of the Poets by Grant Snider | incidentalcomics.com