Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Market the business or find a real job?

I have only known one kind of working life. However, the further I get from the 9-5 mode of gainful employment, the more I realize that this model never really worked for me. Even as I grew my career and had greater flexibility in how I structured my days, I still had a boss. And therein lays the primary reason why I do not fare well in the traditional structure of the workplace.

It turns out that I am not so much for authority. “Question Authority” stands among my favorite quotes listed on the syllabus for the history course I teach at a local community college. I’ve had this quote on my syllabus for as long as I have been teaching. This should have clued me in a long time ago about my relationship to the workplace. During my 3 years at my last job, I questioned authority on regular basis to the great annoyance of my supervisor.

My job layoff happened at an auspicious time in my life. Since June 2007 I have cleared a path away from a relationship that did not satisfy my heart, I moved for the first time in 15 years, my sweet dogs have all passed from old age, and I lost my job. It’s been a whirlwind of emotion, of change, of reflection. I feel very lucky for this opportunity.

My musings on authority are part of this reflection. I am coming to understand more about myself in relationship to the traditional workplace. Since August, when I deposited my final paycheck, I started my business and began looking for jobs in earnest. I was (and still am) willing to move to Dubai for the right opportunity. I applied for positions that made sense in light of previous jobs. Willing to a make a career change, I networked with professional fundraisers and development officers, and applied to those fields, too. I have been on the occasional interview; and there are no job offers in sight.

In between looking for and applying for traditional jobs, I build and market my business. And the more I build and market A Clear Path, the more I enjoy the process of building something from nothing, and the freedom that self-employment brings.

Pretty soon – heck I may even be there now – I believe that I will unsubscribe from the many employment list-serves that filter job notices to my in-box.

Doing that, will free me to continue to build and market my business. I can devote my energies to gainful self-employment, rather than going after a paycheck and health insurance. The beauty of self-employment is that I can tap into my own creative process and move A Clear Path into any direction that feels right and good.

I hesitate though. What if… the business doesn’t do well? What if… people think I’m a loser because I cannot seem to find a job in an academic environment?

What if…I became really successful as a sole business owner? It’s definitely a goal worth exploring!

Next time… ideas to market by.

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