I'll be the first to admit that I'm not exactly ultra-qualified to speak on the various aspects of different job industry's, functions, and finding work. I've had a total of three "real" jobs my entire life, along with whatever you would call what I do now.
Monday, June 6, 2011
But I will say this.
There's a common theme for most people who enjoy what they do, and it's probably the most important thing for me when it comes to enjoying what I do.
It's a huge reason I left Engineering.
It's the reason that I have the entrepreneurial bug (in addition to the fact that I want to be disgustingly rich).
And a lot of people who have it (in combination with success) are happy.
There's nothing better than feeling no personal obligation to have to be somewhere everyday. It's why most people with office jobs dislike what they do.
The minute you are granted freedom (providing you also bring success) things turn the corner.
One of the things I've been studying recently is the science of creativity and motivation. Studies upon studies have shown that intrinsic motivation and creativity are notably higher in a person when he has a high degree of autonomy.
Take Google for example. A lot of there employees work long hours. BUT guess what? None of them are constrained by the "8-5" model of working. Come in and perform quality work, hours be damned.
In fact, Google asks each employee to spend 20% of their work time working on "pet projects" of their own. Essentially, Google is giving their employees free reign to be mini-entrepreneurs within Google. In return, Google has earned billions of dollars from some of these ideas (and I'm sure the idea generators were appropriately rewarded as well).
Why every company doesn't attempt to operate at the highest level of personal autonomy possible, I'm not sure. Given, not every company can have their employees working from home everyday (ie, I'm not sure how the barista at Cafe 976 where I am right now would be able to provide me service from home), but they should try to maximize autonomy and creative freedom as much as possible.
Both the employees and the company benefit.
So a lot of people think they are doomed because they chose the wrong industry. But I actually think a lot of that "doom" could be turned around if they were able to find a job in the same industry, but with a high degree of personal freedom.
Lets look at me. I'll admit, I really don't have any substantial interest in engineering - hence the career change. BUT, looking back, I imagine that if I had worked at a company in which I felt a high degree of intrinsic motivation and enjoyed autonomy close to what I have now, I would have been far less motivated to change careers.
But I learned my lesson.
I don't think I'll ever be happy working an office job. That's simply no longer an option for me. I suppose it might be OK if it was MY office, but that I would mean I'm the CEO and thus have the ultimate authority on me and my work.
And I'll admit that there are a lot of people who go to an office and love what they do. But guess what? I bet they have a lot of control and responsibility when it comes to making decisions. They have a high degree of autonomy hence they love going to work.
Now I'm not trying to associate job autonomy with working less. It just means that you can work when and where you want. In fact, I work practically every day. I have deadlines that I need to meet, and meetings to "attend" (usually teleconferences) and I schedule accordingly. I frequently even work on Saturdays.
BUT, I also know that I can work whenever and where ever I want. Today, I'm at a coffee shop near the beach. If I don't want to work tomorrow, then maybe I'll hunker down for a couple of hours tonight, and do some more work.
Flexibility = Happy Arun.
The job market is tough right now, but do yourself a favor. If you don't have a job and are looking, then sure take whatever you can get. But just because you have a job, doesn't mean you should stop looking. Unless your really, REALLY happy, look for an opportunity where they trust you to be responsible for your work and your productivity, and where you don't need to put in the 8-5 office "face time."
And think about starting a business. Not every idea is capitally intensive to start. If you're risk averse, or simply don't have the means to invest heavily, there are still tons of ideas out there for the taking.
How much did Facebook take to start?
I was working as an Engineer when I developed and launched my ebook. Now, at this point, its nearly enough income to sustain me, but it's something, and it brought me a lot of opportunities.
More importantly, if you do have an amazing idea and are too scared or do not want to be bothered with bringing it to market, send it to me. I'll use it on my way to World Domination ;)