A Cautionary Tale

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

Moderators: BarbaraSher, Tituba

A Cautionary Tale

Postby smitty » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:59 am

This is my first post on this board. I want to share my "Scanning" my experiences over the last 15 years in the hope that it might help others. Like many of you, I first came across the idea of a scanner in Barbar's book If I Could Do Anything. She describes a gentlemen(can't recall his name) who spent an eternity in college racking up credits in every conceivable subject, finding that he lost interest in these subjects once he moved beyond the introductory level. When I read that, a light bulb went off in my head and I said "oh my god, that is me. I want to do everything". To her absolute credit, Barbara, in discussing Divers in the same chapter, made it perfectly clear that you needed to be sure that you weren't avoiding the hard work and committment necessary in dilling down deep in one profession or career. I'm going to keep the details to a minimum in recounting my experiences. At the time I decided to to become a scanner, I was a young attorney trying to come to grips with the enormous work involved in mastering the profession and had some concerns as to whether the law was 'right for me." So I started to scan. I moved from one thing to another for about ten years, making a complete hash of my finances and adversely effecting my relationship with my wife and kids. I finally decided to go back to the law and really buckle down and put out the necessary effort. Is it heaven on earth? No. But I find it enjoyable and fill my other needs outside the job. Is any job or series of jobs going to be perfectly fulfilling? I don't know. And, this isn't the most important point at all, but my finances have improved dramatically. (On my scanning journey, I came across many like individuals, and almost without exception, they were struggling financially. Again, this isn't my main point, but it's worth mentioning.) To use the college setting, what happens when we move beyond introductory courses? They become harder. Much harder. I am not for a second saying that you should abandon your quest to be a scanner. For many, most? of you out there taking this path, I'm sure it's the right one for you. However, I can't help but think that there may be a few of you other there that are about to embark on the scanning journey or already on the path who need to do some serious soul searching as to why you are doing what you're doing and whether, in the long run, it's the right thing for you. Best to all of you, Smitty
smitty
New User
New User
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:10 am

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Andreya » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:14 am

WOW, great post! It is really impressive and interesting to read about you. I had a hunch in many cases 'just scanning' can turn out like that too. Barbara does suggest to get a 'great enough job' (and I think that's what happened in your case) or an 'umbrella career' that allows scanning within the job. There are questions within the fields of 'great enough job' and 'umbrella careers' too - eg, ethics, morality, environmental friendliness of certain jobs or careers, whether you're a right fit, etc. for those who may be very idealistic or very environmentally aware etc. Or just a question of effective time management, organization and inspiration. How did you manage to get back to law? Did you find a specific area of law you enjoyed better? Or just firmly decided to go do it? Do you now also enjoy the differences of each case or just the free-time interests and activities? Just curious... (Also wondering what you did in those 10-15 years :))
'Everything is possible. They make rockets and put them on the moon, you know!' (neighbour, on closing up a balcony)
Andreya
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 414
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Slovenia, Europe

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby DJCNOR » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:01 pm

Hi, I was wondering how you got back to law, too. I'm old enough to get asked from time to time how someone should choose what to major in at college or what career to go for, usually by someone who wants to go for one thing but thinks its not practical or someone who has no idea of which direction to go. One thing I always say is that they should follow their interests all out. Success in practically anything is going to require a lot of willingness to do the work required to develop advanced skills or knowledge in the field, and you're not going to have that willingness unless you have a pretty strong interest in it. So I don't think there's anything wrong with doing quite a bit of scanning trying to figure out just what type of thing it is that will attract that kind of willingness from you. Even Barbara's descriptions of people who found careers that let them continue scanning involve what it is that the different aspects of that career have in common that attracts them. I suppose that there are scanners who never find such a common organizing principle for all the things they scan, but it would certainly be a shame to settle prematurely for something unsatisfying. Maybe temporarily to regain a good financial position. But maybe even not for that, if regaining a good financial position would bankrupt you in other things that matter just as much. Donna
DJCNOR
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 676
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:10 pm

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Scenario Thinker » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:07 pm

smitty wrote:I moved from one thing to another for about ten years, making a complete hash of my finances and adversely effecting my relationship with my wife and kids. I finally decided to go back to the law and really buckle down and put out the necessary effort. Is it heaven on earth? No. But I find it enjoyable and fill my other needs outside the job. Is any job or series of jobs going to be perfectly fulfilling? I don't know. And, this isn't the most important point at all, but my finances have improved dramatically. (On my scanning journey, I came across many like individuals, and almost without exception, they were struggling financially. Again, this isn't my main point, but it's worth mentioning.)
Our society rewards divers more, and it shows up in people's finances, I guess. I agree about filling your needs outside the job, unless it takes so much out of you, you have no energy left to do anything else. If you come back to post more, you might find this post interesting from a career counselor who only really buys scanning (or dabbling), if you're really smart (and many scanners are): http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/01/ ... iller.html He followed up with this post after thinking more on it and based upon his responses: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/02/ ... alist.html
S.Thinker
....o
^/v
/>
User avatar
Scenario Thinker
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 7331
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: near Chicago

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Maruti » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:39 pm

This is a really interesting point and one that has made me re-evaluate my tendancies as a scanner. When I first discovered Barbara's books and her insight into scanning and diving I felt immediately relieved as she described something that I was unable to label and explain myself. I have always had an insatiable desire to learn and experience a mulitude of tasks and topics and so have been in contstant study, research and production since I was 14yrs old. I have taken the time to develope myself in different fields whether they be physical, academic, artistic or social and stumbled upon the idea of the modern renaissance man/woman which I happily adopted as my new identity . This was always a pleasurable pursuit and it never caused me any concern until I hit my thirties and realised that I have spent 15 years approaching my passions with a tendancy to hit and run. I am now 33 years of age and have had over 25 different jobs and countless qualifications to my name but no career, so to speak of, and absolutely no financial grounding. I studied Zoology and graduated with an honours but quickly moved onto teaching culture, environment and science in schools, educational management, being a fitness instrutor, professional make-up artist, singer, bellydance performer and teacher, administrator , (and these are just a few!). All of which cost huge amounts to both train in and set up, hence the lack of financial stability. I have also studied, acting, vocal technique, pottery, costuming, taekwondo, self developement and have travelled extensively. As I approached each new pursuit I convinced myself that it was my calling and wholeheartedly committed myself to achieving a level of expertise that made parting with money all the easier. However, time and again I would reach the exact same point wherein I would decide I was bored, get itchy feet and start thinking about what I was missing by not pursuing something else. And so I would walk away. The point in question would always come just after I had reasearched, studied, qualified and put my skills to the test-teaching my first few classes, performing a dozen times, shooting several film reels or photos. And most recently just after finishing my first semester of teaching dance. And so I would reach the point where I had gained the skill enough to demonstrate it and would then be ready to move on. This has been a recurring pattern that i still struggle with today. However after reading 'Refude to choose' I am determined to find my 'best work' and stick with it long enough to actually push through the self created boundaries. My main excuse for wanting to cut and run these days would be that as I have tried to conform (to get a handle on my finances)I have spent the last 3 years in a job that is, ever increasingly, failing to meet the standards of being 'good enough'. So although I have a stable income, pension and savings I am often too demoralised or drained after a days work to pursue my passions with the fervour they deserve in my free time. The conflict on my time and resources has become so strained that I am now resentful of any bookings or responsibilities that I have pertaining to my passions. In short, I find it extremely hard to balance a full time day job that fills my pockets, with a full time pursuit that fills my heart and soul. Whats worse is that the more successful i beIome in realising my dreams the more often I am faced with having to make compromises and partake in matters that are of no interest to me or in fact downright tiresome. Such as doing self promotion, marketing, and the business side of things. I find that I tend to idealise my pursuit when I am still trying to achieve it and then quickly turn my focus to the negative aspects once I have arrived. Thus creating an easy (but not always guilt free) access to the exit door. And so I find myself wanting to walk away again for one of two reasons (or quite possibly excuses)- 1. I don't have the time and energy to balance a day job with the responsibilities of my passions. 2. I don't have the drive to push through the parts of the passion that come less naturally to me. And so, I have to ask myself the question-am I being true to myself in walking away or just being lazy.
Maruti
New User
New User
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:39 pm

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby jj74 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:06 pm

Wow, burning hot topic. Thanks for these posts. I think the main issue in all this is focus and choice. You can overshoot with anything, making a lot of money, never having enough money, scattering your energy or focussing it so narrowly that you feel unhappy. So we have to make our choices. The art I'm trying to perfect is to make the choices that are right for me. Not always easy, but I think this is the (only) way to getting a life that suits me. I share some of Marty Nemko's doubts about Barbara's scanner concepts. I also agree with Scenario Thinker that our society rewards specialists. But I don't believe that we all should then blindly become specialists at anything at all for the sake of being a specialist at anything - if this is not our choice. Because this means precisely losing our own focus. I know that making this theory fit into the real world is difficult, but in this (very scannery...) field I want to become an expert.
jj74
Regular Poster
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 11:24 am

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Andreya » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:38 pm

Well, someone like Maruti could be a huge asset to an environmental NGO - presenting eco concepts to schools or wider audiences in a FUN way! Possibly doing eco videos etc...? Maybe you just need to hook up with the right people, perhaps ideally some who are already doing the promotion/marketing aspect or at least 'have it covered' by fans or other people who help? Join forces with other artists/organisations/causes/sponsors and co-promote? I was heavily surprised that advertising agencies also look for 'multitalents' (!) And even eco PR or advertising agencies exist! :) I think you're possibly also an expert on those jobs and can be of help to other people who want to pursue those? I don't think our society only rewards specialists, some find cool ways of earning $$$$ while being scanners too, think Sir Richard Branson! Or Oprah, or Cher! Some people can be specialists while being scanners too (eg PR people or writers...) Again, possibly there are aspects of these careers too that not everyone will like! It may be that people with a certain kind of personality or 'drive' may suceed more easily, or even certain types of scanners...
'Everything is possible. They make rockets and put them on the moon, you know!' (neighbour, on closing up a balcony)
Andreya
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 414
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Slovenia, Europe

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Ilah » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:01 pm

Random questions I had after reading all this. Do scanners shy away from good enough jobs? There are a few people here who have them (including me) but it does not seem to be popular option. Is a good enough job a compromise? Am I accepting a reduced amount of time to pursue my interests in exchange for being fancially stable. Possibly also in exchange for something more socially acceptable. Does it ever reach a point where a good enough job isn't enough? I am not talking about job conditions getting worse. It is a change of mindset. I make decent money, live in a home I like, and have time to pursue my interests. Yet I spend 40 hours a week doing something I don't find fullfilling. Is that acceptable? Maybe this is just me. Maybe I am going through mid-life crisis number two. Does anyone else feel this way? :?: :?: :?: Why this big emphasis on college ? Why not be self taught? Is is because college is more acceptable? People might look down on a perpetual student, but it is still more acceptable than taking 10 years off work to study independantly. But self study is a lot cheaper than college. And it is easier to fit in with doing another job. If your goal is just to learn things, not to get a degree, why not choose self study.
Ilah
Experienced Poster
Experienced Poster
 
Posts: 244
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:13 pm

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Ilah » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:26 pm

Scenario Thinker wrote:
smitty wrote:I moved from one thing to another for about ten years, making a complete hash of my finances and adversely effecting my relationship with my wife and kids. I finally decided to go back to the law and really buckle down and put out the necessary effort. Is it heaven on earth? No. But I find it enjoyable and fill my other needs outside the job. Is any job or series of jobs going to be perfectly fulfilling? I don't know. And, this isn't the most important point at all, but my finances have improved dramatically. (On my scanning journey, I came across many like individuals, and almost without exception, they were struggling financially. Again, this isn't my main point, but it's worth mentioning.)
Our society rewards divers more, and it shows up in people's finances, I guess. I agree about filling your needs outside the job, unless it takes so much out of you, you have no energy left to do anything else. If you come back to post more, you might find this post interesting from a career counselor who only really buys scanning (or dabbling), if you're really smart (and many scanners are): http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/01/ ... iller.html He followed up with this post after thinking more on it and based upon his responses: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/02/ ... alist.html
I just read this and decided I really don't like Marty at all. Okay to be fair I don't like his ideas. I don't know him personally, maybe he is a really nice person. A couple of things I didn't care for: Values: Is an impressive career the most important thing in our lives? More important than being happy and fullfilled? If I had to choose between being happy and fullfilled and having an impressive career and lots of money, I would choose to be happy and fullfilled. He seems to suggest that being a scanner is something that can be turned off with enough will power. I think it is something I am. I can choose how much I let it shape my choices, but that doesn't change who I am. The choice is not whether to be a scanner or not. The choice is whether to deny/repress that you are a scanner. Hedonistic? I am hedonistic because I am a scanner? That seems like a rather strong word. I suppose making my own clothes, promoting recycling through art and adapting recipes to be more healthy are pretty hedonistic. :roll: I suppose he is using it in the original sense of the word - the highest value is persuit of pleasure. In this case even doing charity work can be hedonist - if it gives your great pleasure. It seems unlikely he is unfamiliar with the more common connotations of the word.
Ilah
Experienced Poster
Experienced Poster
 
Posts: 244
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:13 pm

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Unique Journalist » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:47 pm

Recently, I've found that what works for me (at this time) is a day job that allows adequate free time afterwards, and pays enough to leave breathing room in the budget. Some people can handle financial instability with ease. I cannot. I feel much better when the gas tank is full, the kitchen and bathroom are stocked, bills are paid up, my AAA coverage on the car is current, and I have a decent amount of money in the bank. THEN I can breathe. :) I've found ways, even while I was working overnights in my twenties, to try new things. I had to REALLY want to do it, too, because when you work all night you want to crash when you get home. But the exploring bug just wouldn't leave me alone even back then, and I let myself run off and explore a bit here and there (even if I was broke most of the time).
Unique Journalist
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Scenario Thinker » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:32 pm

Ilah wrote:Hedonistic? I am hedonistic because I am a scanner? That seems like a rather strong word.
I didn't necessarily agree with what he said there either. I think left to their own devices and without restriction, most people would want to do "good work" in the work and feel productive in some way. Then again money changes things, if a bunch of people won 150 million dollars each, say, would they all just go about in productive lives, or would some make a nose dive after awhile with their "hedonism".
S.Thinker
....o
^/v
/>
User avatar
Scenario Thinker
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 7331
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: near Chicago

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Andreya » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:20 am

Great thread! This is what a bored internet guru (or a few) with a lot of money came up with! (He was one of the people who invented Skype) 5-minute film here - very inspiring! http://www.teeme2008.ee/?setlang=eng They set up massive effort to clean Estonia (small ex-Russian country) of all the garbage in Nature! (Or at least as much as possible!) It is to be repeated in Slovenia this year in April! More about the internet gurus and their 'thing': http://www.teeme2008.ee/?op=body&id=48&art=262 A lot of people who get a lot of money still pursue other interesting things: again, Sir Richard Branson, Oprah, etc etc. Trying to bring interesting and important (okay, sometimes silly too!) things to other people as well! There is also a slightly in/famous judge here in Slovenia who is a perfect scanner: also a writer (notorious for some of his sex scenes), actor (in movies made by another scanner who is a happy school teacher otherwise), singer (with a smaller choir of non-pros), says recently also a PR person for them... There are a lot of people who have jobs and eg music on the side (Slovenia is a small market, so almost everyone has jobs or own businesses, even the famous rock stars or pop or hip hop stars, I think I may have written about this before). As for 'not wanting' a good enough job - Oh how I wish I could simply have one!! I tried a few and none was a good fit, so it seems maybe self-biz/enterpreneurship/freelancing or NGO might be a better way to go (still not sure). I think you guyz are VERY lucky to have found a 'good enough' job!! (That doesn't clash with your values or personality!) PS I didn't think I would like that Marty guy either, or his opinions, so I didn't even go read them. They seem like something my parents would say anyway! Some sort of middle-class ex-socialistic/communistic/capitalistic mentality?? Possibly religious-inspired? (That not working hard or having a 'regular' job where one is at least slightly miserable is a sin etc etc?) Of course in Slovenia with a small market, this sort of mentality makes some sense. When it comes to artists etc, there probably needs to be some 'hard work' involved, marketing etc. Just 'partying' and 'rockin' it' may not be enough... Maybe that's what he meant? (By 'hedonistic'?)
'Everything is possible. They make rockets and put them on the moon, you know!' (neighbour, on closing up a balcony)
Andreya
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 414
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Slovenia, Europe


Return to Refuse to Choose: The Forum for Scanners

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests