What I Realized about Managing Your Own Career - Journal Entry

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Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Names, places and events are either the products of the author’s neurotic imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. That is, unless you find the main character to be wise, charming and likable. In that case, it's definitely me.

Journal entry: December 24

You know what I realized today? There is a huge difference between "getting a job" and "making money."

If you only know how to "make money" by "getting a job," you can feel like you are trapped in a box with very few other options.

Me, I always liked the security of a box. And if I'm honest with my self, given the chance...today, I would probably scramble right back into a box. It gives me borders. It gives me predictability. It serenades me,

"Don't worry . . . about a thing,

'Cause every little thing gonna be all right"

There I was, building a great life for myself. A life in part, made possible by the box. I had the family I always wanted, lived in a great neighborhood and could even afford some of the nicer things in life.

Until one day . . . I get inauspiciously chucked out of the box.

And to get a little meta for a moment, I'm escorted out of the box by Security with years of accumulated personal belongings stuffed into a box, with the rest to be shipped to me later. Free shipping, or course. They wouldn't be THAT cruel!

And guess what?

It's not that easy for me to get back into my box or any other box.

Why not?

O let me count the reasons!

1) My salary no longer fits reasonably inside the box

2) I’ve outgrown the box professionally and don’t really fix inside it anymore

3) I've never paid attention to what was outside the box so I am clueless about what other boxes really want

3) I've never had to fight, climb or sneak into another box so I'm terrible at it

4) Unbeknownst to me, my box was an endangered species and there just aren't that many other boxes like it out there

5) The process of getting accepted into a box is like preparing for the Olympics. Qualifier after qualifier and you can knocked out at any point. Gawd, I hope it doesn't take 4 years!

So what's the lesson for today?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-box. I'm pro-options. I'm pro-awareness. And starting today, I'm pro-active so I wrote the manifesto below as a reminder to myself.

Don't Get Boxed Manifesto

1. Starting today, I'll learn how to earn a living with or without a box.

2. If I ever go back into a box, I will make it a priority to pop my head out on a regular basis so I know what is going on.

3. I'll keep all my skills sharp, regardless.

4. If I start to outgrow the box, I will not allow myself to get trapped in the box by my own fears, inertia or lack of imagination. I’ll find a bigger box that can hold me.