Ok Confucius, we get it. Find what we love, and we’ll never have to work again. The only problem is most of us have not found what we love because we are definitely still working! Even many of the people who have found what they love wouldn’t do it everyday if money was no object.
However, lack of certain discovery should not lead to despair. For example, my parents had jobs they didn’t necessarily love all through life, but they made it work in pursuit of an end goal they now love – retirement. Essentially, they used their jobs as a tool to help them get to where they wanted to go.
Why use your job as a tool?
What I really wanted to write there was “How to use your job to BREAK FREE in pursuit of your passion”, but I didn’t want to fall into the Confucius trap. Some of us will always have a full time job we don’t love, but it’s still important to use your job as a tool in this scenario.
Here’s how I see it: you should always use your job as a tool to further yourself in life – even if you’ll always have this job. Here are some valid reasons to use your job as a tool in this scenario:
- Provide for your family
- Enable you to retire
- Fund your hobbies
- Allow you to give to charity and help others
What if you want to use your job as a tool to BREAK FREE in pursuit of what you love? Some reason would then be:
- Set yourself up financially to take the risk
- Build relevant skills to help you succeed in your next thing
- Build your network
How to use your job as a tool
I confess, I have ulterior motives for work besides wanting to do my best for the company. Don’t get wrong, I’m very respectful of the companies and people I’ve worked for, and I’ve always completed the job right. However, these are the steps I’ve taken:
Build a skill set
You generally get paid based on the amount of value you bring to a company. In “How to be a Consultant“, I discuss how to build a skill set and keep it sharp.
Build a network
There’s probably nothing more powerful for your career than a strong network. It will allow you to take more risks because you’ll have a support network to fall back onto. You can use your network to further your current career, propel your next “thing”, or simply for advice.
Maximized my income
This one’s important, especially if your BREAK FREE story will require some excess capital. Once I built my skillset and my network, I was able to switch to another job with a nice raise. Even when I was at my previous employer Accenture, I was always look for ways to switch to new groups or areas and make more money.
You’ll never be able to BREAK FREE if you don’t have control of your money. I know people who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year but can’t save any of it because their bills are too high. Take control of your money, start investing, and build up a cushion to allow you to pursue your passions.
One guy who did this beautifully is Chris Fagan, you can catch his full video interview here. He has built a thriving business and his doing quite well. However, he worked his butt off to get there and used his previous full time job as a tool while he built his side business. He built a network, learned a skill and technology, and worked during his “off time” so he still had a full income while he built his business.
One thing to keep in mind is it’s important to find something you like and align with ethically or you won’t be happy. You still need to gain some fulfillment and respect out of your job or it won’t cover your psychological needs. In Thou Shall Prosper, Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote, “It is a reliable fact that you tend to start enjoying anything at which you become competent and from which you derive a sense of happiness.” Most people can find that in a day job.
Do you use your job as a tool?