July 8, 2011

Q: Who do you admire?

In the continuing saga of what-should-I-do-with-my-life, I have been posting (more than anyone wants to read) about my inner confusion. First angst-ridden installment was here.  Now, to continue my (hopefully illuminating) interview with myself.

Question 2:  Who do you admire, and what does that say about the person you want to be?

When I thought about this few weeks ago, everything became a lot clearer.  Thinking mainly from a career perspective, every single person I have ever admired - ever thought, "wow, good for them" or "that's the kind of person I want to be", has been a creative type who's left the corporate 9-5 world to make something new or different for themselves.  

You know the type - Oprah did entire episodes about these folks.  The high-powered lawyer who suddenly realized she was overworked and unfulfilled and started making pies.  A CEO who left her suits behind to start a horse farm. 

The people who found the balls to leave the norm for something shakier - something less defined, without benefits, without a standard hierarchy of promotion and merit increases.  But something they were passionate about that made them truly happy.

I feel like this is becoming a more common story for a lot of people nowadays, especially women.  Social media has afforded people opportunities that they never would have had otherwise.  Women who made sock puppets as a hobby are now bringing in a full-time salary by selling them on Etsy.  Blogging has given tons of women an outlet to sell their wares, services, or simply their words, and to profit from it in a big way.  Or at least big enough to live relatively comfortably, and to leave the cubicle behind.

Those. Those are the people I admire.

And I've been thinking a lot about how that plays into my current career decisions.  

Right now, I work full time in a corporate setting.  As far as corporate goes, it's excellent.
Flexible, friendly, laid back.
But.  It's still corporate.
Which means computer glaze.  Fluorescent sunlight. Standard hours. 

I've been thinking about how I have never even come close to saying anything along the lines of "Wow, I really admire that CEO."  
Not to say I don't respect people who run large organizations, or are excellent managers, or run team meetings. 
But it's not what I want.

Apparently, what I want is a lot of flexibility.  And the independence to work on a variety of projects.  And some control over the terms.  And the chance to create.

I've decided that asking yourself Who do you admire? is a pretty excellent way to figure out what you want in the long term. Because when you start noticing the patterns, and realize that every time you read a magazine that talks about a woman that left a high-paying, successful career in the corporate world to make natural perfumes and sell them on Etsy, you do a mental fist pump....well, it says something.

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