“Sure! Let me get back to you on that.” As I hung up the phone, I wondered at how my work life had changed over the years. At the time, I was working full-time as the HR manager for a startup company, but the phone call was from another company in town looking for a few hours of HR project support. Related: Find Out How Much You're Worth To Employers All of my life, I have wanted to “do my own thing.” While my wife has known that since we first met, she has told all along that she never wants me to own my own business. Funny enough, I often have to remind her that I’m already doing it, just not in the traditional sense. If you have the interest and the availability, you could do the very same thing. Here’s how I made it work for me:
You finally got your dream job. Everything is coming up roses. You couldn't be happier! Well, at least at first. Then, like almost everyone else, you start to realize the job wasn't everything you'd hoped for. Maybe the culture wasn't what you expected. Maybe your boss is hard to get along with. Maybe you've just lost sight of the reason you took the job in the first place. Related: 4 Things That Can Affect Your Career Choices Just like in any major life decision, you eventually start second guessing your career choice. So, how can you, as the song so aptly puts it, "bring back that lovin' feeling?"
My friend and I were talking recently about how to research company culture before you start working there. In the past, we’ve both been burned by companies that looked good on the surface but eventually turned out to have a terrible culture of one sort or another. Related: 4 Reasons The Best Working Environments Are Multi-Generational Honestly, if it was fool-proof, people wouldn’t be suckered into it as often as they do. And since my friend and I (and others) actually work in HR/recruiting, we should know better than anyone how to unearth this stuff, right?
Your legs wobble as you wipe a stream of sweat from your eyes. The fatigue is getting to you, and you're almost ready to fall over before you ever reach the car. No, you didn't complete a marathon, but you did just finish an interview. I might be exaggerating a bit, but for many of you out there, this is a feeling you're all too familiar with. I'm in HR. I've seen plenty of interviews from "this" side of the table. But it is so radically different to be an interviewee. I've started using the following tips to prepare for an interview just like I would a ten mile race, and I encourage you to give them a shot.
Why You Should Create Your Own JobEntrepreneurs have been around forever, but the mindset has dramatically shifted in recent years. It’s no longer focused on business plans, marketing budgets, and stacks of promotional materials. It’s about finding a customer problem and solving it better, faster, or cheaper than anyone else. With a laptop and a wireless connection, you can start a business in just a few minutes online. The key here is having the three components of a business in place: a customer, a solution, and a way to get paid. Like me, many others in the workforce are developing side businesses to allow them to focus on their passions and still keep one foot in the workplace earning a steady paycheck. Here’s a great example: a good friend of mine was laid off back in 2008. While he searched for work over the course of 10 months, he decided to make his time worthwhile and taught himself the coding language for an iPhone app. He developed his application and it is now in the iPhone store for sale. It will never generate enough to help him leave his day job, but every penny you earn from a source outside your main employer is a step toward freedom. Think working for yourself is risky? Feel free to play it safe like the 130,000 newly unemployed workers laid off last month. In other words, there could be more risk in depending on one organization for your income than in spreading your skills around. If the labels of “business owner,” “entrepreneur,” or “consultant” don’t fit, just think of yourself as a free agent. You can work for two companies at twenty hours a week or one company for forty hours a week. You get to make that call. I’ll freely admit that working as an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, but in a world of shifting work responsibilities, greater technological freedom, and unstable “permanent” jobs, it’s something we should all consider on some level. Again, this isn’t the entrepreneurship of 20 years ago. In my case, I started because my day job wasn’t providing the satisfaction of using my talents (writing, mainly). On the nights and weekends I run a web-based business, and it’s been an amazing experience. It’s also helped to make me a better employee, believe it or not. When I’m recruiting for job openings, I look for people with an entrepreneurial mentality. Those characteristics make for amazing employees and team members. They don’t have the “it’s not my job” mentality that seems to pervade the workplace. Entrepreneurs serve customers well if they want to stay in business. Who out there wouldn’t want to hire an employee with that mindset? "It’s easier to get a job when you have a job." Ever heard that phrase? The gist of it is this: when you have a job and you’re job searching, you are not as desperate. You are willing to walk away from poor opportunities. You know your worth and will not devalue that without good reason. That’s another piece of this self-employment puzzle. Knowing you have something to fall back on as a short term backup plan will radically change your thought process. You’ll be more confident in your abilities. You’ll learn new skills and grow your knowledge base. This may or may not have hit you like it hit me, but I’ll leave you with a closing thought: doing work that you love and getting paid for it will change your life. We’re all familiar with doing work that we don’t enjoy and receiving a paycheck. Been there. Done that. So let’s try something new. When you seize the opportunity to live out your passion in a meaningful way, it will change your perspective on yourself and your career forever.
The P.E.P. TalkThis article is part of our P.E.P. Talk Series. Over the next month, some of the brightest and best authors, business professionals, and coaches are coming together to share their valuable advice for breaking free of "The Golden Handcuff Effect" so you can take full ownership of your careers and experience Professional Emancipation. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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