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 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 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.