What does the Connecticut job market want from you?

I am an idealist.  I think people should do whatever they can to find happiness in their work.  And, I know it can happen.  Not only have I moved from unhappy work (about 15 years ago) to happy work, more or less ever since, but much of my work as a career counselor has been to move clients similarly. 

I was also a father when I made my transition.  I have been the sole or primarily breadwinner of a family of 5 for the entire time that I’ve had happy work.  I mention not to self-congratulate but rather to provide an advantage that I likely have over idealists who are not in this situation.  I had to figure out what the Connecticut job/work market wanted from me. 

I mention because I often work with creative types.  I admire creative types and have written about my love of mastery elsewhere.  (See Student Mastery). But, I have to tell some master musicians, artists, and craftsmen that they have to understand the impersonal nature of the market if they want to be successful. 

I hear:

“I am a really talented…”

“I have spent so much time learning…”

“I really enjoy…”

I sometimes provide an example that at first glance seems ridiculous.  My clients soon understand that the absurd metaphor is analogous to their struggling artist situation.  

When I started The Learning Consultants years ago, I was equally adept at teaching how to master the GRE and how to master basic juggling.  Regarding the latter, I remember teaching a group while in college and having one of my friends say with great intensity: “you have to be an educator.”   It was a moment that stayed with me as I transitioned from attorney to educator-counselor. 


I ask my career counseling clients – would you have advised me to offer teaching GRE prep or juggling?  They laugh.  Why are you laughing?  I ask.  


“Few, if any, would buy juggling teaching.”  they say.


I respond:  


“But…


I am a really good juggling teacher.


I spent a lot of time learning to teach juggling.


I really enjoy teaching juggling.”


My clients begin to understand the point.  The market doesn’t care.  Its impersonal.  


I take it further.  Let’s say I really did want to make a living teaching juggling.  Would it make sense for me to do so in suburban Connecticut?  


Probably not.  Not that there is likely much of a market for juggling teaching anywhere but I would probably have to go to a major city.  


Or, if I was going to stay in Connecticut, I would have to become really good at marketing my juggling teaching services and likely combine the services in a way that it was only part of what I did.


So, if you are a creative-idealist, this is not a post designed to squelch your dream but simply to help push you to focus on the market when making your way.