Taking lessons from these diverse career paths, I want to write a book for people who feel stuck or who look a their job and think of how to get from one day to the next without being yelled at… this is a lot of people, I think.
I was reading a book that was written for such people and it was talking about how their attitude in these shitty jobs could really turn them around into something that was passable. First, the book was written like crap (and I'm not going to tell you which one it was), but also, this seemed like the absolutely wrong message to give to people stuck in shitty jobs.
I had what Oprah calls an "ah-ha" moment: I could write a book better than this one, even though this one had a high Amazon ranking and had lots of five star reviews.
So I started making notes about potential chapters to cover and things that all the self-help career books that I had previously read had in common (a several step plan to executing their core strategy, a catchy name, and some case studies or interviews). I decided that I should start out with a blog so that I could amass a pretty sufficient base of information (kind of book-writing lite) and also potentially get some readers to give their thoughts on the methods and plans that I am proposing.
My dad and I have been exchanging Zen calendars for years and I have, over the course of these years, become aware that using Zen practices in work helps me achieve peace, focus, and most importantly, an interesting career. I no longer get angry at work (or if I do, it passes in moments and without much trauma) and I approach my work days happily.
"Things arise and she lets them come;I have described my career as "a puppy in a field: generally charging around and stopping and rolling in anything that smells interesting." It only seemed like a career to me when I realized I had been building on one skillet after another over the course of my life, which is essentially the definition of "a career."
Things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever." - The Tao Te Ching
There are a lot of things I don't know and haven't experienced: I've never been laid off; I've only been fired once and that was from a greeting card store when I was 19 (in retrospect, one of the best things that could have ever happened to me); I've never been sexually harassed at work (at least, not that I noticed). But I have had all types of bosses from micro-managers to non-managers. I've been a freelancer, worked for a start-up, and worked within huge corporations. I have taught myself Photoshop and HTML, and I still believe in continuing education (which is why I bought the book mentioned earlier).
I guess I came to the realization that I have to start from where I am. No one in the world has had every type of job and worked in every type of work environment. The people who write corporate self-help books are probably no more equipped to do it than I am, and certainly I've had a diversity of experience in my career.
People have had mixed responses to my mentioning that I was starting a blog. One friend was wild with excitement. One friend was skeptical that I'd be able to stick with it long enough to make an impact. One friend urged me to try it out and see if I liked doing it… if I didn't, just stop. That seems like very good advice.
So, I'm going to try it… in a few weeks, you'll see the start of https://www.thezencareer.com Wish me luck.