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Monthly Archives: July 2012

You work 9-5? You must be unhappy! – The Entrepreneurial bandwagon

Are you working in a 9 to 5 job? Are you happy?

I’m not sure what it’s like for people in the US, or for people in other parts of the world for that matter, but over here there’s no such thing as a 9 to 5 job.

It’s not that we don’t have the expression in Dutch. However considering we’re all suppose to take a half hour break which doesn’t count as work time, to make 8 hours a day, you can’t work from 9 to 5. It’s more like 9 to 5:30.

Furthermore there’s a movement of “new way of working” going on that says work whenever, wherever you want. Sure it’s not implemented everywhere, but my current client has it implemented (somewhat). My client being part of the government.

What I’m trying to say is, that “9to5” is not showing the full picture.

Today I read a really nice post titled: “Why you don’t have to quit your job to change the world“. I really recommend reading it!

It made me think about this subject and write this post. It does seem that often entrepreneurs are presenting an image of “working 9-5 = being unhappy”. You can’t be happy in your job, so here let me help you become an entrepreneur. Often they will add in the “you work in a cubicle” argument. Because all other jobs besides being an entrepreneur involve 9 to 5 cubicles. (think about the guy collecting the garbage, the guy fixing the street, the police, the fire department (by the way shouldn’t it be anti-fire?), the person working in the grocery store, a lawyer, a doctor, me. All of us don’t work 9 to 5 cubicles. And that were just the obvious examples.)

I understand that the people I listed may not be their target audience, but those people could be. Silently hungry to become entrepreneurs. There’s just one down side, being an entrepreneur doesn’t instantly solve all your problems.

Being an entrepreneur requires a certain character, as the job description is more than “doing what you love doing”. It’s also managing a business and finding a way to make money from “doing what you love”. It’s finding clients that will pay for doing what you love, so you can make that money.
(reality check: not the whole internet will come running to you, the moment you have something to sell)

What I often miss, is the back story. There’s a lot of “I took a chance and sold all my stuff and moved to “country X” and started living on my terms”. I really don’t buy that stuff. Money doesn’t appear out of thin air.

Either they saved a crazy amount of money and took a chance to hopefully make money after quitting their jobs. Or they already had a business going on before doing all that.

What I believe and what I hope to do is to find the work I want to do and then make that my job. The form or shape doesn’t matter yet if I don’t know what work I want to do. Here’s the steps I’ve set for myself.

1. Find out what I love to do, what I’m passionate about.
2. Practice doing what I love on a regular basis. (Can I do this as a job?)
3. List the possible ways to make money off doing what I love. (Is it a job that exist in this world? Do I make products to sell? Is it a service I offer for money?)
4. Work toward making money with doing what I love. (is that changing jobs, or freelancing on the side?)
5. If it’s starting for myself, make sure to have a market.
6. Quit my day job and go with doing what I love full-time.

That’s right, quitting my job is step 6. Step 5 is an if coming out of step 4. I believe to keep all options open until you found something to make a solid business out of. It’s also considering the best option fitting your personality (step 3).

Even more important is step 2. Is my passion something I can do as a job? Or would that undermine the passion? Would it make me feel alive, or would it make me a slave to something I loved to do in the past?

Life is not black and white. Ask yourself what you would be comfortable with. If you could do anything, what is the environment you want to do it in? What are your security needs? How social are you? How outgoing are you? Do you really love to travel, or would you rather stay close to what you know? Close to your parents, sons, daughters, other relatives? Before you decide that selling everything and traveling the world would be an awesome idea, consider the consequences. Consider what you would need to give up.

And then maybe, if you hate your job, going the entrepreneur route isn’t for you. Maybe a simple career change would solve your problem. Working in that other 9to5 cubicle actually does make you happy.

Instead of immediately wishing to throw your life around. Consider for a moment, if you’re not simply in the wrong cubicle, office, working for the wrong boss, with the wrong people. Maybe you only need to move to the next city to be happy, instead of the other side of the world.

Consider all options, don’t follow the herd. The herd doesn’t matter. What matters is, what makes you truly happy?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Trusting my gut

 

I should take off the “new post every Sunday” and replace it with Monday I guess.

I’ve started setting up a website for my organizing idea and giving it form. There’s just not yet anything constructive coming out of me.

Yesterday I spend most of my time on household chores and reading “Blink” by Malcom Gladwell. I had started reading Blink a long time ago. Still I just picked it up where I left off. It’s about making snap judgement and how our unconscious is smarter than we think. How from 30 min of conversation between a married couple you can predict with about 95% accuracy if the marriage will last or not.

It’s pretty cool stuff. It did have me thinking about the way we make decisions. The way I make decisions. I can ponder and ponder over something, while being unable to decide. Maybe, just maybe, I should let my unconscious speak more, trust my gut.

I should let my feelings go and follow them. There’s just an inner control freak holding me back.

This control freak dictates the smile on my face, the words I use, or don’t use, the actions I take. It makes sure that the impression other people have of me is this cheerful girl who’s ready to take on the world.

“You are always cheerful, aren’t you?” is a question I get often.

This comes with a price. That control freak has gained so much power that my emotions don’t get a fighting chance. It numbs them down. In protest my emotions grow stronger.

It’s at a point where I sometimes get really emotional over nothing, or I don’t get emotional when I’m suppose to. The metaphor with a bucket of water overflowing works well. I deal with my inner stress by crying, which is usually started by something silly and insignificant.

Over time I’ve received countless advice on how to deal with my emotions. So far this has been ineffective advice, especially in the long run.

Blink had me thinking. What if, instead of dealing with my emotions, I learn to trust my gut and make snap judgements. Maybe then my control freak will learn that it’s okay to let me feel my emotions. That I’m strong enough to handle them. That it’s better to keep them small, instead of letting that bucket overflow.

Do you numb down your emotions? Keep up a fake smile? Or otherwise trick yourself emotionally/internally? Or do you listen to your gut? And deal with your emotions right away?

 

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Pushing through

Last time I was talking about my Spark, the energy I felt.

Reading it back it sounds like I was about to change my life around.

So what has happened since that moment? Absolutely nothing.

The next morning I felt just the same as before the spark happened. There was nothing left of that energy, that inspiration and motivation. I tried to think about all the ideas I had, but the spark didn’t come back.

What happened?
It’s not that I quit, or that it wasn’t a good idea. Realism and rational thinking caught up to me.
Fear of failure, and the nagging thought that it’s not a workable idea. The thought I can’t pull it off.

I told myself that I could just start small and work from there. No dreams of overnight success.

Still the answer to the most important question isn’t there “HOW?”

How am I going to help organize lives?
How am I going to make a template. (of what should I make a template, for what purpose)?
How am I going to grow this, should I make a website already, a blog, a twitter, a Facebook?

How am I going to make this work?

My immediate thought is, “I’m not” and I’ve given up before starting.
My idea was too vague to motivate me for longer than a spark. The once so successful campfire has gone out.

My next step is the next exercise from the book I mentioned earlier: “I could do anything, if only I knew what it was”. This means I should seriously pursue this idea for at least an hour.
An hour of complete dedication, there are no other options.
That doesn’t help me, I don’t know what my first step would be.

The simplest thing to do is make a template for something that I know.

This is where my focus will be the coming time. I can’t say it’ll be done next week. Maybe not even next month. I will work on it, and I will persist and it will get done. Then and only then can I say if this is going to work or not.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Spark

Breaking News!

Like lightning on a clear day…

Okay maybe that’s not such a good metaphor after all.

Ahem. The fog slowly started to lift and suddenly the sun was brightly shining in my face.

That’s better. I’m talking about that “aha” moment, or “eureka” moment. An epiphany if you want to get dramatic.

I would like to call it, “The Spark”. That’s what it was to me. A moment where unexpectedly things clicked and as if two stones collided there was a spark. This spark lighted a fire. Then came firewood and the fire burned brighter-

That’s enough with being cryptic!

Last night I was on my way to bed. I had already closed off the living room for my kitten and was standing in the hallway. I had just read over my job offer and was typing out my thoughts about it in a message to my mom. While typing, my kitten mewed at me. For whatever reason I decided it was a good idea to just sit on the floor and pet him a little.
I send the message and then checked twitter.
Meanwhile something in the back of my mind started crawling out of the darkness. After it made sure it was safe, the thought launched itself into the light and clung on my conscience with determination.

In that moment I realized what my purpose was. What I needed to do in my life.
It gave me so much energy and motivation, it was slightly crazy! Not only that, the fire it started grew brighter and brighter. Two hours later I still couldn’t sleep thanks to all the energy and ideas.

My passion?!

Could it be that in that moment my passion revealed itself to me? It sure did make my heart sing! (and I felt like dancing along)

The idea is to combine my love for helping people, with my love for organizing stuff and making systems.

Before you start thinking, “oh great another productivity blog”, that’s not what I’m after.
My idea is two sized.

1) I want to help people with their routines. I want to observe their workflow and help them automate steps as well as help organize their lives. I want to do this according to their prefered way of working. I want to make it easier for them, so without putting down a whole complex new way of working.

2) I want to make simple, easy to understand, easy to implement templates. The idea is to give someone the template and they can work with it without (much) instruction. (Think about the Apple iPad.)

Now I want to work toward making this idea a reality!!

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Psychology

Whoops, I’m a day late. Of course I should’ve written this right after doing the research. I was busy, I’ll get back to that later. Sunday was just a crappy day. My state of mind was bad, so the day was bad.

Putting that all aside, here’s my conclusions.

Education

So far what I could find is going back to full-time school on a university level, or doing an online course. I didn’t look into this too much though.

Career

This is kind of why I didn’t look into education much. I got stumped. I couldn’t find a career path that honestly interested me. There’s research psychology, but from what I could gather even that wouldn’t really be just doing research.

I’m quite discouraged with my findings. I checked several websites, they all pretty much said the same.

Psychology will probably just stay some hobby I sometimes spend time on.

I think I’m held back by fear a lot.
Fear of failure.
Specifically fear that my new job won’t make me happy.
And fear for my financial situation.

It’s not like I can just switch jobs. I need to keep the education in perspective as well. I feel like just throwing in the towel and walking away from this.

However, that’s not what I’m going to do! Dream big! Dream gigantic. I’m going to aim for super hero!

I won’t give up on finding my passion. Apparently it’s not something “obvious” so I’ll have to look more closely inside.

My goal is at least to have another post out by Sunday!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The job from…

In the book I’m reading (“I Could Do Anything, If Only I Knew What It Was,” by Barbara Sher) is an exercise to write your job from heaven and/or hell. Then discuss this with someone close to you or yourself. Today I want to share the results of this with all of you. This is a step into finding my passion and it will highlight the exact problem for me.

My job from heaven

I want to work in a team where everyone is enthusiastic about their work. The kind you see in making off videos of movies. I want to work with animals all day. I want to have flexible work hours. The ability to take a nap when my mind is overloaded. Or work deep into the night.
I want my job to be a “safe” adventure every day. I want to explore, discover and experience every day. I would work with a team that respected and encouraged each other. Who won’t put anyone down for being less brilliant than them or for making a mistake.

And there you have it! It’s exactly what I wrote when I did the exercise a few weeks back. This is exactly my problem. This describes my job environment/circumstances, but not what I actually do!
I decided to ask my mom to discuss it with me. I let her read the exercise and hoped she’d be able to help me.
To clue you in, if you have an internal critic putting you down, my mom can probably do it even worse! She’s brilliant at talking me out of almost anything (except getting a kitten hehe). (she’s a really good mom, also for this quality!)

The discussion between me and my mom

The goal of this discussion was for my mom to ask questions to get me to be more specific.
It was a long hard discussion, but as always when discussing things with my mom it was an eye opener.

“You love your comfort zone, but still you want to go on an adventure?”

“Mom you don’t get it, I want to get out of it.”

“Okay, but you want something safe.”

Later on we started to discuss job options. After mom kept pointing out the contradictions in my job from heaven.

“Okay so you want to work with animals all day, but you also want flexible hours.”

Then the talk about whether it was realistic. “No mom, it’s not about that.”

It came down to, I should probably work part-time, something with animals, and something else. Two part-time jobs for the variation. Yeah. No…..

I don’t know haha.

So after thinking it over I wrote the following afterward…

I will be a traveler.
I would be traveling wherever I wanted.
I would be helping animals where I can.
I would be writing books.
And I would be having an adventure every day. From a simple scroll or writing out a spiced up version of it to traveling to a new location.

Current musings

I just don’t feel it. If that book’s sentence “what you’re really supposed to be doing is whatever makes your heart sing” is true, then I’m far off from the truth. To be honest I still don’t know what makes my heart sing, nothing seems to make it sing.

Let me write out a few things about jobs from hell. And with it focus on real “jobs” instead of circumstances.

My job from hell

Writing program documentation.
Writing program design documents.
Anything physically heavy (think people making streets and such).
The same boring thing every day.
Anything that’s above my pace. (think high pressure, very tight deadlines)
Something without a clearly defined goal, purpose, or something like that.

I can go on with vague things, but really there’s nothing specific coming out of me. And don’t get me started on the job from heaven.

Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

That header is my personality type. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
If you are curious about your type, I took this test here to find out. I just checked the result on this website (which has a comparison for each possible letter) and found the answer made sense. Except maybe the Perceiving one, I think it could be either!

To be really short, this is my type’s explanation:

“Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.”
Taken from this website

There is a ton of websites out there! Though I like PersonalityPage.com best for some reason, they have a lot of information. Including a list of possible jobs for my type!

  • Artist
    • (if I was a better one and could make money of it! This requires practice and patience.)
  • Musician / Composer
    • (I’m tone-deaf and no sense of rhythm, so that’s not really gonna work.)
  • Designer
    • (possible, as with artist)
  • Child Care / Early Childhood Development
    • (children and I don’t really hit it off at first, I really need to warm up to them first, but possible maybe)
  • Social Worker / Counselor
    • (I… I don’t really know what to say about that!)
  • Teacher
    • (oh please no haha, see above about kids, plus as they get older… no thanks!)
  • Psychologist
    • (very possible! I’m very interested in psychology. Not really sure what would be my career choice though)
  • Veterinarian
    • (this was my dream job for a big part of my childhood! But I don’t think I’m really fit for the emotional  burden of it)
  • Forest Ranger
    • (not sure about this one haha!)
  • Pediatrician
    • (I think this is the counter argument for teacher and vet combined….)

So there you have it! I think I should go looking in some of these options!
The second part of the exercise from the book is to take an hour and fully commit to a choice you make.

Let me give you a bit more overview here! I can look into:

  • Artist/Designer
  • Social Worker/Counselor
  • Psychologist
  • Forest Ranger

For the coming week I will be looking into Psychologist. It’s the one I feel most for and so a logical choice.
The goal is to present my findings next Sunday. I will be looking into topics like career choices and education.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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