A job is that thing where you go to work in the morning, work in somebody’s office, report to a boss, leave by the end of the day, and get a regular paycheck. It’s that thing we’re supposed to get when we grow up, when we’re done with school.
It’s also becoming more and more irrelevant.
Some of you web workers are already getting along fine without a job: you work from home, or can work from anyone (you bedouin, you!). But for those of you who aren’t there yet, and are either looking for a job or have one, consider not having one.
There are so many other options out there right now, with the rise of the web worker, the entrepreneur, the telecommuter, the freelancer, the blogger, the consultant, and more.
Why should you avoid a traditional job? Well, just a few of the many reasons:
- Commuting to an office can be costly and wastes time.
- Office politics.
- Your boss looking over your shoulder.
- That monotonous co-worker.
- The difficulties in getting a raise.
- Having someone else determine your work schedule.
- Having someone else determine your priorities.
- Stifling your passion.
- Those annoying co-workers.
- Expensive lunches.
- You’re making money for someone else.
- Difficulty in taking naps.
I could go on and on, but you have limited time, so let’s cut to the chase: how do you avoid getting a job?
A few suggestions:
1. Know your talents. If you’re fresh out of college, you don’t have a lot of experience … but you probably have a lot of time and energy, and perhaps a lot of ideas. You might also have a lot of skills that you can market. If you’re not fresh out of college, you may have a lot of experience and skills you’ve learned on the job (and away from the job) that you can use. Remember that you don’t need to do what you’ve been doing — if you have other interests and passions, put those on your list too.
2. Cast a wide net. Whether you have a job or not, you can start looking. There are tons of job listings on the net — start with GigaOm Jobs. At least see what’s out there, and keep your mind open. You might find a job that you weren’t even looking for. And when I say “job”, I mean something with more options than an office.
3. Prepare marketing materials. I don’t just mean a resume. A business card (if you want to be self-employed), a blog or website are great ways, a brochure (on pdf that you can email), a work proposal. If you have these materials ready, you can take advantage of opportunities that come along.
4. Network. Without looking for anything specific, start meeting more people. Have your business card ready (at this point, it might only be your name, email, IM and blog url) and start spreading a buzz about yourself. Don’t oversell, but just put the word out that you’re new, you’re good, and you’re ready to hire yourself out. It’s also a good idea to just meet people, build relationships, get to know them, without selling. You might hear from them at a later point, but for now, you just want to build your network. The network will do the work for you.
5. Don’t settle for an office job. There’s a tendency to just find something, anything, for now. But once you settle for an office job, it will suck away all of your time and energy and it will be hard to find the time to get out of it. If possible, keep your eyes out for something with the flexibility you want.
6. Come up with a plan. What is it you really want? To telecommute? To be self-employed? To be able to travel while working, and live anywhere you want? Have a clear picture of your ideal life, and then make a plan to make it a reality.
7. Take action. Once you have a plan, take action today to start the ball rolling. If you plan to start your own business, take the first step today. Come up with a business plan, or a logo, or file the necessary papers. Find people to work with you, or start looking for clients. Don’t just dream — take action today!