Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly impossible; and if it is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach.Marcus Aurelius
The word “Career” is defined as an occupation taken up for a significant portion of someone’s life.
Yet the ironic situation is that our schools, colleges and our society promote instant gratification.
These institutions promote learning inside a classroom for a few years more than learning in the field.
A 3 month certificate course to become a successful superstar of your industry, a 5 hour business seminar to get you the life of your dreams by building the business of your dreams, now at a discounted price of $300 only, oh and by the way, only for today I will throw in a bonus module on getting your relationships soar high above the sky. All you will need to do is just this one thing for 2 minutes a week to get your relationships to the next level!
Even more so ironic about this whole deal is me writing this article. Marketers like me are the people responsible for this mess and instant gratification crap.
Human beings used to have a life expectancy of about 30-40 years in the 18th century. Now, that would have been the kind of life in which I would want to have something super fast. That would have been the time where I would not have wanted to put one third of my life into something that might not work.
Even during those times we had people like Mozart who went through their standard of at least 7 years of apprenticeship.
Now, I guess early homo sapiens probably got eaten by an animal within the first 10-20 years of their life. One day you might be out for a hunt, looking for food and you became dinner for a lion. Those guys had a right to ask for everything right NOW.
They really did not have much time.
In the 21st century, human beings live to an average age of 80+ years and have careers spanning multiple decades. We even have people who do one thing for 10 or so years then move to another then another.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this guy who made a payment portal, an electric car, planning to get you settled on another planet. Yes yes, you don’t like his tweets, who cares. He still manages to wait patiently for things to play out. He puts in years of time and effort into something that he knows might not get done during his lifetime. Yet Elon Musk keeps on pushing for the vision he has in his mind.
We have the time to patiently learn & gather the required skill set, apply it, make mistakes and start over again.
Patrick Bet David, the owner and founder of PHP agency, or as you might know him, the host of the YouTube channel “Valuetainment” swears by the fact that real leaders of the industry are the people who stay in the same industry for 15-20 years.
He has worked on his YouTube channel for 8 years and garnered an audience of over 2M people and 220M+ views. The key thing is he has a team, and has spent 8 years on this platform.
We are not even halfway through this article, and I can see that fear has started to creep in.
“There is a saying: ‘four years for perfecting the dough, four years for rolling and another two years for cutting’. But cutting should not be underestimated, I have been making soba every day for the past 33 years and I am still scared of cutting.”Yoshinori Shibazaki
Personally I don’t really like that 10,000 hour rule because we start using it as an excuse. But even that rule states that to be world class in your field you have to practice your craft for at least 10,000 hours.
So if you worked for 8 hours straight every single day, with no bathroom or food breaks and no weekends and no holidays, you would touch the 10,000 hour mark in about 3.5 years. And here we are, 20 something olds changing our jobs every 2 years because we feel that 2 years is enough to learn everything about a role, or make the most amount of change in a company and it’s customers.
I have seen a lot of people throw this 10,000 hour figure into the conversation just to make their point about either being very good at their craft, or being miserable at it. You require patience, hard work and a will to go through the dips that are going to come along as you progress to the higher echelons of work culture.
People my age are changing their jobs every 2 or so years.
- I think I have learnt enough from this role or I think this job isn’t going to provide me much more knowledge
- I don’t feel I am getting paid enough for the work I have been doing for the last gosh! 1 and a half years!
- Even I have dreams to fulfill, I don’t think I am going to be able to fulfill my dreams by working for someone else, I will open up my own business
Now, there might be some truth to the third point there but I don’t think many people realize how hard, long and arduous of a process it is to sustain a business.
In this day and age of internet and low barriers to entry, people forget that they need to still earn the trust of real human beings who now more than ever are trying to shut themselves off from all the advertising that is thrown at their face from the minute they wake up.
Just when you’re on the verge of a breakthrough in your job, your career, your art, your writing, your singing, your guitar playing…you quit.
It’s not your fault. You were given complex tasks, goals that weren’t clearly defined and you were expected to figure it out all on your own. The result is nothing happened, you felt unmotivated to work or to even think problems through. A classic situation where Hock Principle comes into play.
The simpler and clearer the goal, the more intelligent your behavior. Complex targets on the other hand result in stupid behavior.
You are expected to fit like a cog in a machine that is the company you work for.
You were conditioned to wait for orders, then follow them with all your might throughout your school and college life. So it is no surprise to me that you feel suffocated after doing it in the real world for a couple of years.
In the real world, as opposed to the schools the pressure is too high, we’ve got bills to pay, food to buy, a house to run.
When Henry Ford popularized the mass production of automobiles, people saw what working in a factory really meant. He raised the minimum wage to $5 creating a tidal wave by setting a new high for the whole industry.
He still needed cogs who would fit into the machinery that his company was.
The whole industrial revolution was built on the idea of getting as many cogs(workers) available working on the assembly line in turn boosting the production. The high level decisions and inventions and design revolutions came from one or two people at the top of a company.
You could make out who these people were by the way they dressed in their three piece suits, with slick hair and large hats on their heads.
They always had slick and shiny shoes, with an overcoat as opposed to the factory workers who mostly dressed in a shirt and a waistcoat with a newsboy cap on their heads. The real change makers walked with poise, with their chest out, back in a reverse bow and could be seen in the company of similar men.
However, the situation is different now. Most of the change in a corporation now comes from collaboration of various minds at the lower level, for which the credit is taken by the higher managements.
This constant pressure of coming up with new ideas, then credit being taken away adds up over time. Human beings love to create but they also love recognition for their work whenever they can get some.
Absence of the chance to produce meaningful work with responsibility creates unnecessary pressure. These pressures add up to one day blow up your proverbial pressure cooker, and you end up feeling unsatisfied, wanting to start something of your own.
There are hardships in starting and running corporations, but it is in 2020 that a 10 person team can manage a $500M company with thousands of customers. Small teams help generate ideas that are closer to the core and keep people creatively involved.
Even large corporations such as Amazon, Asian Paints, Google are moving towards empowering individuals within the organization to bring about real change.
Change can also be brought about in a large corporation if you stick with it, improve upon your skill set, keep proving yourself constantly. You might need to learn about office politics, because of the sheer size of the company and the race to the top. But it is worth it, especially if you are learning more about your craft and producing better work.
We are not going to talk about quitting and starting your own thing in this article though. We are going to have a conversation about building a career over years of work and improving upon your craft.
Career I will re-stress, is something that is built over a lifetime. True skills are built by nurturing your art over years by hard work done with a strategy behind it.
If you want to stay the course, trust the process, do what needs to be done, then you’re allowed to read on.
If not, I would like you to just go back to whatever it is that you were doing before you stumbled across this essay of mine. And anyways, it’s going to be a huge blow to your ego if you read further too.
I am going to share a few questions that you can answer for yourselves. These questions are going to help you come to intelligent and thought after conclusions that are going to get you thinking in the right direction.
Remember to take your time with these. Even if it takes you a whole week. What is a week in the grand scheme of decades of building a career?
Question 1: What do you hate doing the most? If you have 2-3 items, note them down.
I want you to think deeply and answer these questions. Imagine if I pay you $1 Million to do these things for 15 hours a day.
Would you still be doing these things 2 years from now?
Would you trade those hours to do these things instead of spending them with your wife, your husband or your kids and parents?
Question 2: What kind of impact would you like to make in the world?
This question might come off as cheesy but it is imperative to understand what makes you tick so you know what general direction your career should be headed towards.
For example, If I want to help 100,000 young people figure out how they can build their careers, careers that they are happy with, I have no use taking a corporate marketing job. Optimally I should look towards education, teaching, making videos or writing articles so I can reach the numbers I hope to reach and then interact with them personally with their queries.
Question 3: What are the 3 different professions you have always wanted to take up & haven’t been able to?
We will build our way into at least one of these by the end of this article series on career and success.
Make sure to answer these questions with some thought but no restraints as no one else but you is going to see your answers.
Once you’re done with the 3 questions above, I want you to start thinking.
Thinking, not doing is the way to progress. Let the answers and the comparison with your current state marinate in your mind for a week or two.
A lot of stuff will be made clear to you in due time. A lot more, you are going to figure out by yourself after letting these ideas and answers sit in your head for a few days.