Sometimes the next step of things might be moving to management and being in charge, but you suck at being in charge. You were a designer, and now you’re in a corporate job scheduling vacations and fucking around with admin.
What happened is, we were taught that climbing up the ladder is the best way, but what about when it isn’t?
We were born into a generation in which you can make a living online selling hoodie for cats. So why do many still listen to their parents telling them to stick in a job for life, waiting for the next promotion? Sure, it’s consistent. Sure, it’s stable. However, every time you go online, you see videos of 19-year-olds with Lamborghinis from selling iPhone cases. You wonder how and why they’ve got there.
It’s a case of passion winning out over progress.
An artist who spends time working on art rather than explaining how artists should work will likely create better pieces of art.
A Muay Thai fighter who drills his clinch work daily will undoubtedly become a better martial artist than the person who moves into managing fighters as an agent while trying to continue to fight.
These are examples of following passion and chasing dreams, rather than what seems “safe”. Our parents came from an era rooted in safety and settling for that stability. But that stability comes with an intrinsic motivator to always be seeking that next rung on the ladder. Supervisor. Manager. Assistant General Mana… fuck all that. Sometimes the next level isn’t what you want. It’s to progress into your passion, further develop what you love and want to be doing.
If you’ve ever wondered how people motivate themselves to be progressing on their projects and making endlessly. It is because they’ve discovered the path to what they want. They’ve found that passion and as a result they can know where to tread and take their advice, rather than stagnating waiting for a direction that they have heard will “work best”.
This isn’t a cry to quit your job and cast aside all you’ve learned quite the opposite. You should use your current skills and leverage them to serve your passion better and take steps in the right direction.
To give some context, let’s run through a few quick examples:
As a designer, you could leverage your creative skills to move to become a tattooist. A friend of mine who previously worked as a successful graphic designer in fashion moved to become one of the most successful tattooists in the UK.
Many developers use their technical prowess to evolve from building the company of someone else, to partnering up with someone and kicking off their own trailblazing startup.
Marketers can leverage their understanding of people and conversions to move into e-commerce and find the products people really want, and then promote them perfectly.
It’s all up to you. What you’ve learned and the path you’ve trodden so far are just data. They can be your road for as long as you choose, or you can use that information to find the cheat codes to get to the level you actually want to be on, rather than the one that automatically loaded next.
It’s all about how you use the shortcuts you learn in tandem with your passion and drive. You’re only allocated a set amount of time on earth; Mozart, a fairly famous musician, achieved all he did in just 35 years on earth. He shared over 600 pieces of music, but only a few are still remembered now. However, the 500+ that didn’t hit gave him the data and the familiarity that comes from being consistent, to allow for the pieces that truly resonated.
Why everyone chooses not to leverage the time they’ve been given and use it as effectively as possible is absolutely beyond me.
Go do what you actually want to be doing, rather than blindly moving into “what’s next”.