May 26th, 2003

self portrait

Becoming a master

My sweet, supportive Ericka picked up a book at the library for me. It's Whip your Career Into Submission by Karen Salmansohn. Therein, the author uses extended S&M references to entice you into taking on the process of examining your career goals and taking action to fulfill them.

One of the first steps of her 30-day plan is to keep a journal in which you write down the responses to her exercises and chart your progress. Well, having this journal, that's simple. Now will come the difficult part of keeping to the plan.

I am, however, 100% committed to the discipline necessary to whip my career into submission. I will always keep in mind that: my faith determines my destiny. So I will discipline myself to make sure that my faith will remain stronger than my fears, doubts, cynicism, anger—any/all of the career subjects I will no longer be subjected by in the 30 days ahead.

Today's Exercise

1. What do you fantasize about doing when/if you grow up? (List four fantasy careers in your journal.)

I've always wanted to be a writer. I started (and never finished) my first fantasy novel at age 8.
Drummer in a rock band.
Motion picture director.
I want to work in space; the International Space Station excites me to no end.
(bonus 5th fantasy:)President of the United States

2. What kind of character are you? (What qualities and traits do you value?)

My highest value is joy; I believe to the core of my being that we are here because the universe wants us to be happy. I think truth is one of the most powerful forces in the world. I value my friends and being a friend to others. I value the kind of peace that exudes from highly spiritual places like temples and gardens.

3. What do you have to offer this world skill-wise?

I'm good at listening to problems and breaking them into solvable chunks. I'm good at translating user requirements into technical tasks. (I speak both English and Geek.) I'm creative. I'm well-read and have a broad understanding of many academic topics. I'm organized and good at making plans. I'm good at examining plans and finding flaws that will slow down or side-track progress to the goal.

4. When you've lost track of time doing something, what is that something?

I've lost myself in reading and in gaming. In both cases, there's a "there" there that is like a trance state in which time dilates and compresses all at once. A timeless time that is filled with wonder.

I've also spent long hours listening to and playing music with my friends without knowing how much time has passed.

I've spent hours and days with someone I love, lost in the glow, unaware of the passage of time.

5. What is a fantasy day like?

I would keep irregular hours, working more in the summer months and less in the winter. I would eat simple meals created from fresh ingredients, occasionally indulging in new techniques or recipes as a creative outlet. I would wear comfortable, casual clothing to do my work and would often work in my home. Part of my daily routine would be maintaining connection with a far-flung collection of friends through net and phone connections; many of these people would be involved in my work to their own benefit. After a period of work, I would gather with friends to socialize (probably not every day, but frequently).

6. How do the fantasy careers in question 1 compare to the answers to questions 2 through 5?

Of all of them, writing seems to fit most closely with the other answers. The rigid time constraints or limited locations of the others don't fit with my desire for an irregular schedule and a combination of solitary work and frequent socialization.

So I'll proceed through the next few days with writer as a long-terms goal. This will be, it is promised, re-visited and re-evaluated through the process so it might change as we go along.
  • Current Music
    Talent Show--The Replacements--Don't Tell A Soul
self portrait

Mastery day 2

Today's exercise is about whipping fear into submission.

The question of the exercise is: What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

The way I'm feeling lately, I would likely choose to energize the political party that shared my progressive views. There is so much apathy and acceptance of the status quo these days. Any dissent is characterized as unsupportive at best and treasonous at worst. The current administration is systematically dismantling any advances made during the previous eight years under a cloak of "National Security" and squashing any public discourse of their obviously short-sighted aims.

In terms of my career goal, however, I would quit my job and write full time. What keeps me from doing that is my need for a consistent income to take care of the responsibilities I have. I have a mortgage. I help care for Ericka. These responsibilities and others cannot be easily laid aside. There must be care taken to insure a good flow of income so that Ericka and I are not endangered.

So what that means, I suppose, is "Don't quit your day job." I can still pursue my goal while maintaining my current position. What it will take, however, is a lot more work. I'll have to, basically, work two jobs until I can become established as a writer.

The good thing about this, though, is that it gives me a concrete goal. I must make $X per month to have succeeded at becoming a full time writer. Also, it allows me to take steady steps towards that goal. As I make more as a writer, I can cut back my hours at my second job, giving me more time to write.

I like that idea because it also is a reward for writing. Each dollar made writing is, essentially, that many minutes less I have to spend in drudgery each day.
  • Current Music
    Memphis In The Meantime--John Hiatt--The Best Of John Hiatt