The question we all want the answer to.

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The question we all want the answer to.

Postby jcjm » Tue May 27, 2003 8:52 am

If you take all the post on this board over the past six months, about 90% of them can be summarized by the following statement: I am working the job from hell that sucks the life from me because it makes up the majority of my income and I am only making a couple of hundred dollars a month from my true love. How can I make enough to live on from what I love to do? Collectively we have read several thousand books and articles, looking for the answer. For those of you who have broken the barrier, what was your answer?
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Postby SaraCate » Tue May 27, 2003 12:30 pm

I can't say I've "broken the barrier"... ...............(long pause) ...then again, maybe I can. I can't think of a job I've held that's truly sucked my soul. Sure, I've done some work just for the income, but those've always been short-term. But can't say I've broken the barrier of producing a full-time income (even a small full-time income) from my work(s). Enough of that, though and to the point; the most major things I take from conversation/books/etc. are: 1)Identify fears/excuses surrounding whatever it is you're not doing and want to. 2)"Just do...SOMETHING." i.e. Don't procrastinate. No, not necessarily quit your job - but take some baby step toward getting what you want. Some sort of art? Make a sketch/cut a piece of fabric/get supplies in one place. Making business cards? Find a software program/look at templates/ browse clipart/look at other people's cards. 3)Learn. Whatever you need to, however you can/want you. Borrow books/videos/audiotapes, talk to people, find a class...Sometimes, you have to figure out what youneed to learn first! (Or you figure out along the way more things to learn about.) That's what comes to mind first. What do others think??? Sara
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Postby jcjm » Tue May 27, 2003 1:56 pm

Some of the things I’ve heard suggested(although I’m not sure they were all serious) were 1) Just do it and live in poverty until you are discovered. (the starving artist) 2) Work 7 days a week. Do what you love Monday through Friday and get a part time job on the weekend to supplement your income. (at least you’re only miserable 2 days a week) 3) Get a cash advance on you credit cards to cover the shortage each month until you are at the max, then file bankruptcy. 4) Marry someone rich. At least they're creative, which is what brainstorming is all about. The simple answer usually comes at the end of a list of 100 things that are absurd.
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Postby BarbaraSher » Tue May 27, 2003 4:08 pm

You know, in my books and my workshops and my TV shows and my radio shows, and in the long lines after most of my workshops where I talk to hundreds of people whenever I'm able, this is the question that comes up almost 90% of the time, and this is the question I've answered more than any other. And it still remains the top question, so much so that I'm dedicating my next TV special and my next book to absolutely nothing else. There's a myth that keeps blinding everyone to what looks like a rather simple solution. Well, there are a lot of myths. But the major one is that doing what you love should be a full-time, full-paying job. And if your job is a soul-sucking one, there's no point in leaving for anything but that one thing you love. It's a dreadful logjam and a major dreamkiller. So let me state the answer to that initial question one more time, and if there's something you see that doesn't work for you, tell me. RULE NUMBER 1) If your job is toxic, move quickly to a non-toxic department or job, even if it's not what you want. It's called "Getting out of a burning building any way you can before you become unconscious." (It implies that you do not search for the ideal alternative, you make a survival decision.) RULE NUMBER 2) If your job is merely boring or irrelevant (or you've left a toxic job for a boring, irrelevant job), that may well be "the good-enough job" Use it to finance your dream, and call it "a subsidy to the arts". (This implies that you do not define yourself by your job.) RULE NUMBER 3) As soon as you are no longer being poisoned, begin at once to do what you love. On your own time. Start Small. Start Now. Today. That's the theme of every workshop and every tv special I've ever done. That's the title of my next book! RULE NUMBER 4) Quit thinking that what you love must invariably be a career. Don't subject everything you love to the marketplace. Maybe one day it will pay its way. Maybe not. You have to do it anyway. ALTERNATE TO #2) Consider income streams instead of JOBS and CAREERS. (see that forum on this bbs.) Now tell me if that works and if not, why not. [This message has been edited by BarbaraSher (edited May 28, 2003).]
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Postby katchal » Tue May 27, 2003 8:48 pm

I get paid to do what I love to do anyway. I love marketing in the same way a painter loves painting and when there isn't enough work, I do it pro bono just for fun. Since the early 1990’s I’ve had a blast surfing the leading edge of the technology wave. Some of my jobs were great; some sucked. But throughout the run I have pursued my touchstones: marketing and cool technology. While some board members would dismiss this as simply having the good luck to enjoy "putz work," that is not the case. Yes, I have special gifts and talents that give me a natural advantage as a marketer, but over the past 15 years I've also worked VERY hard at developing those natural talents by: 1) learning nearly every skill in my profession, 2) earning respected educational credentials, 3) learning the business structure and earning models of my industry. That gives me enormous earning flexibility. When the cellular market matured, I switched to the emerging Internet industry. When the market for public relations tanks, I can build Web sites and write collateral. When there are no good jobs, I can become a consultant and earn money for any of 25 different types of marketing projects. My advice: evaluate your entire basket of skills and credentials then cross reference those with the touchstones of what you love. Then, work like hell to become the best *whatever* that you can possibly be. That is how you find good paying work that fulfills what you love. Also, do the work to find out how people are making a living doing what you want to do and how companies make a profit offering it. The USA has an appalling record in exposing people to vocational opportunities. You have to be willing to research the industry, learn the business side of the profession you want to pursue, and seek out the jobs that are available within your skill set. If you don't have all the skills you need, take a related job and start building them. Don’t forget to look at the industries that support the thing you love - there are lots of good jobs there. I once met a guy who loved art but worked for a moving company and didn’t have the educational degrees to get a job at a museum or auction house. He found a job working for a moving company that specialized in providing the high-security, high quality moving services required for transporting art exhibits from city to city. He loved it, learned the business, and became a well-paid manager in a very profitable company while working in the "art world" he so wanted to be a part of.
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Postby BarbaraSher » Wed May 28, 2003 12:26 am

"I love marketing in the same way a painter loves painting and when there isn't enough work, I do it pro bono just for fun." If you love something that has value in the business world, if you're willing to do it whether you're paid or not, if you start doing it as soon as you can, then your chances of getting a paying job doing it can be good. Like I said, sometimes doing what you love will pay and sometimes it won't. If you love it, you have to do it anyway. I like the story Katchal mentioned about the man who wanted and got a job working around art by working in a specialized moving company and made a good living at it. He wanted a job "working around art" and there are such jobs. He was resourceful enough to figure that out. However, if he had wanted to be a painter, he'd have had a harder time finding related paying work that would satisfy him. Teaching art, shipping art, or painting something that wasn't art, none of that would have worked. In fact, those jobs would have been worse than an unrelated job. I know musicians who worked a short while for big record companies, and poets who wrote copy at ad agencies, and they simply hated it. Sometimes, you can do as the moving man who loved being around art did. Other times, depending on what you love to do -- be a creative artist of some kind, or a passionate scholar or translator of great literature or an archaelogist digging for history or inspired practitioner of haiku, kung fu, or yoga and all those other fields whose companies never wind up on the stock exchange -- it's better to work at a nondescript, non-toxic job and develop what you love on your own time, with your paycheck safe in your pocket and your only boss being your own integrity and your innate gifts.
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Postby Mark Charles Porter » Wed May 28, 2003 2:08 am

Dear Ms. Sher, (I hope you don't mind my addressing you that way. It seems presumptuous of me to address you by your first way.) I just wanted to thank you for this very entertaining, thought-provoking, and idea- packed bulletin board. It's just great, and all I can say is thank you! And when you "make an appearance" on this board, it's always exciting, and I can't wait to see what you've got to say! I've yet to read anything by you that doesn't make the best sense. Thanks again! I couldn't agree more about the importance of having a paying job that is non-toxic. You at least has to have peace of mind at work, so that when you get home after work, you still have some energy left to devote to your true interests. As we all know, jobs can be so toxic that it's all you can do just to survive the job from one day to the next, much less do anything else at home after work! (But so many people feel that, deep down, their the ones at fault and somehow lacking, that the working conditions of their jobs are not to blame, rather, just some character weakness on their own part.) Best wishes and many thanks to you always, Mark Porter
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Postby Mark Charles Porter » Wed May 28, 2003 2:16 am

Sorry! Not "...their the ones...." Should read, "...they're the ones...." Sorry!
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Postby Mark Charles Porter » Wed May 28, 2003 2:24 am

Dear JCJM, I'm sorry for the messages to Ms. Sher above--I just wanted to thank her for what she wrote, and for the Board, so I thought I should write here. By the way, if you don't mind sharing what it is you do that you love, maybe some of the folks on this board could give you some good ideas. Mark Porter
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Postby jcjm » Wed May 28, 2003 7:39 am

Thanks, for all your comments, I am trying to implement Barbara’s suggestions and am very glad to hear she is going to be doing more with this topic. I just wanted to put the topic out there, since it seems to be at the core of many posts and brainstorming the idea seems like it would help many people who visit this site. I think the job itself is not what makes a job a soul sucking job. It may be a great job...for someone else. Its just not what you love or even like and this depletes you. As far as my interests, I just turned 50 this month, so I am in the process of evaluating a lot of things and getting rid of a lot of stuff that is no longer useful. Many of the things that had been a passion in my past are becoming less interesting and I am looking for new things to do. Some of the things I did in the past that were great experiences were: working at a hospitial and a radio station when I was going to college, being the Marketing Director of 2 small companies and being an advertising account executive. Some things I have been interested in doing but haven’t done professionally are being a fund raiser for a non profit, being a financial advisor, and being the General Manager of a small company.
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Postby BarbaraSher » Wed May 28, 2003 9:20 am

You know what you'd be interested in investigating, so..what's the obstacle? Thanks, Mark, for your kind note. You call me Barbara. Formality isn't my thing. (Incidentally, I had to go back and change "their" to "there" too, in my first note above. Image Click on the little icon above the message that looks like a piece of paper with a pencil and it will allow you to edit what you wrote.) [This message has been edited by BarbaraSher (edited May 28, 2003).]
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Postby Vict » Wed May 28, 2003 9:22 am

There is an entire thread devoted to people who are building a LIFE they love, but NOT by making their passion their job! http://www.barbarasher.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001069.html Barbara~ I believe this "all-or-nothing" thinking has nothing to do with you not communicating your ideas. (Let's face it - your ideas are very straight-forward, and nowhere do you insist on making a living from your passion. Only discovering it/them and incorporating it/them into your life.) Something this widespread smells a lot like one more manifestation of Resistance, yes? [This message has been edited by Vict (edited May 28, 2003).]
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Postby BarbaraSher » Wed May 28, 2003 9:27 am

Gotta be, Vict. At least in many cases. There are lots of people who light up when they realize their main obstacle just melted away when I say things like, "Who said you had to make money with everything you love? You don't rent out your children, do you?" But in most cases I think you're right on target. This blind spot is harder to stomp out with logic than anything I've ever encountered. I'm starting to think I should nod respectfully when hearing things like the first post on this topic and then say, "Right. How are you planning to fix that?"
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Postby suzieq34 » Wed May 28, 2003 6:25 pm

I think many people are unable to live their dream due to blocks from their experience of society and how they were brought up. In my neck of the woods -- if one isn't hired at their dream job right after graduating from college, they settle in any job and forget their dreams. How can we teach people that they can live their dream at any age ? This stuff should be taught in school. I once thought I needed a mentor to do this. but I know not one person who lives their dream outside of their "day job". This has to change! I guess we all have to be our own mentors. I'm doing preliminary research for a documentary and I work at my "day job" 50 hours a week. How did I finally break thru my resistance ? I made myself write 1 1/2 pages of complaining every day how I "couldn't have my dream". One day it just clicked. I got so sick of hearing myself whine that I made myself to commit an hour a day working on my dream. So now I just do it. I don't judge my work, I don't even really tell many people about it because some tend to "wet blanket" my dream. I just plug away each day. Because even if I end up with a not so great documentary -- it's better than not having created one at all ! Suzieq [This message has been edited by suzieq34 (edited May 28, 2003).]
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Postby BarbaraSher » Wed May 28, 2003 7:47 pm

*Great* solution, suzieq! Your description had me laughing out loud. Maybe we should bring back Hard Times! (To find it, go to www.wishcraft.com and I think it's Chapter 5? I'll take a look.) I can't find the damn thing, but it's probably in Part Four: Moving and Shaking, chapter 9 - Winning by Timidation [This message has been edited by BarbaraSher (edited May 28, 2003).]
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