In the middle of 2006 I graduated college from a well known and well respected University – before any economic fear, before the collapse of the middle-class, before unemployment was at the highest in generations. I had big dreams, and followed them all the way to law school before I smelled something. I dropped out of law school only weeks later and settled into a 9-5 as a legal assistant.
I hated it.
When I came home every night, I blogged. I had been blogging since the mid 1990′s, but never wanted to be a cam-girl, and never caught on to monetizing the blog, either. A year later I dabbled in Izea and made a few hundred dropping keywords here and there. But, like the rest of America, I believed the 9-5 was the only key to stability and wealth.
After some bad luck and otherwise bad timing, I found myself waitressing for most of 2009. Then, after one particular bad night at work, I answered a Craiglist add looking for a “blogging rockstar” to work with a blogging network that developed blogs for law firms. I was in. Fascinated by the social media scene in Seattle that I was quickly thrown into, I learned that while I worked a 9-5, “social media” was an industry of its own; and those that ran this scene made their own way.
I was intrigued. This was my dream. I didn’t dread going to work – usually – but I loved the idea of writing, using these new mediums, to makea direct impact on other readers – on consumers. And doing it without any kind of corporate red tape in my way. Of doing it on my own terms. Of doing it in my pajamas.
Isn’t that the American dream?
I recently stumbled across a blog, The Middle Finger Project, written by this amazing girl, Ashley, that epitomizes my beliefs. You don’t need a job. You don’t need the 9-5 bullshit. Maybe you do need some semblance of a partnership, of a team. But doing what you love doesn’t have to mean sitting in a cubicle. Finding that opportunity could take months, years. You may find it, you may have to make it.
Luckily, I was given a huge opportunity to do just this – leave the traditional job and do what I love. I now work with a small team at Lockergnome, a content publishing network owned by Chris Pirillo. The position is still evolving, but I primarily get to do what I love – blog about social media news and trends. Persistence in following my dreams was 90% of it, spread out over the course of much of my life. You have to know what you love, and keep on at it. (If you already know your passion, Guide to Career Education can help you find schools that can give you good training and education in your chosen field.)
And the other 10%? Just being myself. Whether I was naive, starstruck or blunt, I didn’t fake any moment, any conversation. Not only can I live with myself – and with consistency – the last thing anyone can ever call me out on is being fake.
After years of shitty commutes, horrible bosses, inane projects, unreasonable deadlines, catty coworkers, pointless team-building exercises, budget restrictions, microwaved lunches, and clients from hell, I am finally doing what I love. But the real questions is – are you doing what you love? And if not – what is stopping you?