By Jonathan Sarmenta
You have a superpower; the people you’re coworking with have one too. I don’t know what your superpower is, but we all have one. Would you believe me if I told you it all came from the same source?
It’s passion. Human beings have always had the potential for greatness. The key to unlocking that potential is buried somewhere deep within us, a gem hidden in plain sight.
I discovered that building a career is a lot like discovering and harnessing your superpower; it’s your origin story. Your passion is like Peter Parker’s “radioactive spider”. He wouldn’t be doing what he does without it. It fuels and shapes his purpose. And purpose is decided entirely by you. I’d mention something about great responsibility but I think you get the picture. If you go down this path you need to use it for the right reasons, because you have what someone needs, whether you know it or not.
I’m not telling you to quit your day job. I’m saying that working for yourself is a viable option if you want to turn what you do into something more fulfilling (if it isn’t already). I’m saying there’s things you can do right now to start building a lifestyle; one that you design yourself. Ultimately, you are the ambassador of your own life and only you can make that leap of faith into the wild, marvelous unknown. It’s not an easy path and it’s not a particularly fast one either, but it’s one I followed and I can tell you that there’s a lot of compelling reasons for building a career instead of finding it. And no, they don’t all involve superheroes.
The nature of work is changing drastically
We are facing a revolution. A quiet, seismic shift that could be happening in your workplace right now. New policies, administrations, and big leaps in innovation are changing the methods of production at a mind-boggling rate. Corporations, tired of the corporate-ladder bureaucracies of old, are shedding their top-down systems in favor of more flexible, “flatter” employee management structures. Collaboration is now the name of the game and having a strong company culture has become a priority. What’s even more telling is the astounding growth of mobile, independent workers. Freelancing is the fastest growing sector of the global labor force, with more and more people opting out of the “employee-employer” relationship entirely and choosing to work for themselves. There are tools and resources that are closing the distances between all of us. It’s become easier than ever to get connected, find solutions, and work from anywhere, all on your own terms.
So why should you join this move from the traditional job-seeker to a job-builder? Because I believe you can do it. Because we’re at a point in history unlike any other, where the tools and opportunities necessary to become the ideal “self-made man/woman” are literally at our fingertips. We carry microcomputers in our pockets with answers to every question imaginable; we can learn almost anything just by watching a video. We have coworking spaces and open offices, online meeting rooms and home desks that give you flexibility where people were once chained to cubicles. We have social media where a message can be shared across the globe. Anyone can build an audience and act as their own media company, broadcasting their personal brand to hundreds, if not millions of willing participants. If you’ve been waiting to pursue your big idea or start your own business, then consider this: there’s never been a better time than right now.
The demand for highly-skilled positions is outpacing the supply
I’m a millennial that just graduated college. To some, I’m a threat, someone who’s going to take their job or that coveted position they’ve always wanted. To others I’m an asset, a potential leader thirsty for success. Either way you look at it, I’m part of a generation of workers that’s set to be the biggest slice of the U.S. labor market by 2020, a slice that nobody seems to know what to do with. Everyone talks about the need for higher-education and talented, trained leaders, yet it’s getting increasingly difficult to afford college and even harder to compete in the job market after the fact. This and other factors are leading to a huge gap in the number of jobs available and the highly-skilled workers who qualify for them. What’s even more scary is the fact that nearly 45% of labor jobs such as in manufacturing will be completely replaced by automated systems and robotics over the next two decades, driving the demand for high-skill jobs even higher.
Building your own career offers an alternative path that not only allows for greater freedoms, but has the potential to grow out and create jobs. You’d be a part of the solution. And being “highly-skilled” doesn’t necessarily mean having a college degree anymore. Online classes, video mentoring, and webinars are becoming more and more accessible, allowing for the democratization of education and the ability to learn on your own terms. As the workplace looks less and less familiar and the labor market shifts in new directions, people are thinking of creative ways to market their skills to build the lifestyle they want to live.
You can follow your passion and get paid for it
Don’t follow your dreams, follow passions instead. When you have a passion for something, it’s like a fire’s been lit under you. You need to move, need to do something, need to take immediate action every day because your passion is driving you towards those dreams. Think of dreams as the destination with passion as the guide. The loftiest ambitions don’t mean a thing if you don’t have the drive and the perseverance to see it to completion. Follow passions, not dreams. Everyone has a passion; discovering and learning to harness it is the real challenge. Those who have a passion know that there’s nothing else like feeling inspired by what you love, and if you can persuade others to love what your passion creates, then people will pay you for it. Simple as that.
Passion is the real reason why people start their own things, build their own careers; it’s because they are creating the best job they’d want to be in, doing something that’s fulfilling and exciting to them. When you turn your passion into your work, whether it’s building cars, writing, cooking, or whatever, you find ways to use that experience to help others in a manner that’s unique and undeniably yours. That’s why it’s a lot like having a superpower. I’m not saying any of this is going to be easy. The Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, and every superhero out there has had to come to terms with the great responsibility that they wield. You may not be able to fly or have super strength, but you can make an impact on the world by helping out, one person at a time. The nature of that impact ultimately relies on what you value and how much legwork you’re willing to put in. But if you continue to stay authentic, put out good stuff, and inspire others to do the same, then people will gravitate to your ideas.
There’s a reason the corporate mindset has survived for so long. Seeking and finding a career is relatively easy compared to building one from scratch. There’s a lot of challenges and risk involved, and there certainly aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the things you need to do, let alone want to do. But if you take some time to think about it, is it really that much “riskier” than sending out dozens of resumes praying for a stranger to tell you how much money your time and effort is worth? What about the risk of falling into the same routine every day, feeling unmotivated and uninspired doing something you don’t love doing? Sure, there’s lots of great jobs out there, but if we’re talking about risk vs. reward, I’d put my money (and I have) on the path that lets me set my own schedule, earn a salary I deserve, and pursue what I love 100% of the time. The only thing that determines how much real “risk” is involved is all up to you. Fortunately, that’s one thing you can always improve.
Ready to start building?
A coworking space is the perfect place to start if you think you’re ready to begin planning your ideal lifestyle. Coworking spaces provides an open office/hot-desk environment where members can find the resources and network connections that they need to earn leads, gain feedback, and run their own businesses, all at an affordable rate. Even if you’re just starting out, places like Fusion@Midtown Premier Coworking in Midtown Reno, Nevada has full-time staff that can answer questions and give advice on how to get started on your personal brand right now. Book a tour if you are interested in getting a professional consultation about your next great idea, and how a space like Fusion@Midtown Premier Coworking can help turn it into a reality.