Recently, I’ve been bombarded with this question by several different sources. I’m not the type to believe in signs, but I’m starting to wonder if someone is trying to tell me something. Each time the question has come about in the context of what do you want your career to be? It’s not about morals, family values, charity, hobbies or any of the other things that make up our lives, but what do you want to do to earn a living. Here’s the context in which the questions have come up:
- Interview with Career Brazenist, Penelope Trunk (Warning: Adult Language) – I’m going to break one of my rules here and link to something that isn’t exactly family-friendly. The blogger at Ending the Grind was interviewing Penelope Trunk who is a famous and successful writer – at least in the online world. She mostly writes articles about attaining career goals. At around the 11 minute mark the interview takes a weird twist where she asks the blogger what he wants his life to be like. She berates him about his lack of goals and his unwillingness to open up to his audience. It’s almost like Judge Judy when she knows someone is guilty. It’s extremely entertaining, but also educational. I don’t agree with everything Penelope Trunk says, but in general she makes some good points. One of the best went something like this, “I don’t know anyone who works less than 8 hours a day and provides for their family. So what do you want to do with your 8 hours?” Straight to the point and hard-hitting. (Tip of the hat to Brip Blap for pointing that out.)
- The Millionaire Fastlane – This was a book included in the swag bag at the personal finance conference I went to a couple of months ago. I almost tossed it aside, but Jeremy from Generation X Finance said it would be worth a read. I’m still in the very beginning of the book, but so far it is very much in the Rich Dad, Poor Dad mold of providing motivation and getting someone to not think about a 9-5 job. I think it’s going to be just as controversial as the author doesn’t recommend the Get Rich Slowly method of growing wealth.
- Multi-level Marketing (MLM) Zealots – This isn’t really a recent thing, but since I have some very popular articles about MLM, I get a lot of comments from these people pushing it as a way to get out of the 9-5 grind. Of course, they do this because they are trying to recruit other people into the program like your basic pyramid scheme.
Did you catch the common thread on all three? It’s “I want out of my 9-5 job.” I don’t blame people for having those feelings. I’ve had them myself. That’s why I started this blog. I’m at the point now, after 5 years, where I am replacing about half of my income from when I had a full-time job. However, I’m there… I am out of the 9-5 job.
I’ve replaced it with a 24-7 job.
It’s not like I work all the time, but I have difficulty stepping away from it. Getting out of the 9-5 job isn’t necessarily the fix that you might expect. There are pluses like not having to deal with that manager you hate or waking up to that alarm clock. There are downsides too. I’m always wondering if a big ad deal is in my inbox or worried about what kind of nonsense those MLM distributors are spreading in the comments of my posts. My interaction with other people consists of “Do I slide my card now and press the green button?” a few times a week.
It’s hard to ignore these signs and not reflect on Penelope Trunk’s line of “What do you want to do with your 8 hours?” Currently far too many of them are spent debating those MLM distributors. While I love to debate, I’ve found that for the most part those commenting fall into one of three categories, “not the sharpest knives in the drawer”, “brainwashed into supporting the company despite what evidence exists against it”, and/or “those trying to rip people off because it puts another dollar in their pocket.” There’s a need for someone to educate others about these MLM scams, but I’m fairly sure that’s not what I want to do with my life. Debating with all three types of people is pretty much a losing battle.
The more I think about what I want to do with my life, the more I realize that I’m looking for an answer that isn’t there. I’ve found that if I do anything long enough it’ll get boring.
Anyone else out there feel the same way? Sound off in the comments.