The Security Myth

Someone asked me the other day if I still liked being a writer.

"I never thought of it that way," I replied.

"Well, isn't is hard not having the security of a real job?"

"Hmm. You probably don't know what an oxymoron is, do you?" I asked with a smile.

We may hate this thought, but security is one of the great illusions in life. Whether it comes to our not so benevolent employer, the government, or nature, nothing is guaranteed. This fact of the matter is, it's just more in your face when you work for yourself.

I know that one of the business mantras is to work smart. You don't want to waste your time with nonproductive tasks. The thing about that is, we can't always distinguish between fruitful endeavors and dead ends. Who would have ever thought that my dinking around with film cameras would lead to a successful online store?

So my business mantra is to do what it takes to stay busy. Pack your lunchbox every morning, go to work, and try your best. Even if you're only right half the time, you'll still make a go of it.

In order to stay busy, however, we have to come up with new ideas. Everything has a life cycle, including that secure FTE job that many count on. If we're not working toward what comes next, we're being short-sighted.

(Dammit, honey, he's talking about the future again.)

When I had the best job in the world for O'Reilly Media, I also ran a freelance photo business, launched The Digital Story, and wrote articles for Macworld Magazine. This meant that I got up a little earlier than most, and some nights, I would finish-off a task after everyone else went to bed.

Those side jobs launched my encore career. And had I not built some momentum with them, I would certainly not be as happy at work today as I am (most of the time).

Now I'm looking down the sites of 2017. And I'm thinking, in addition to what I already have going, what am I going to add to the list? I have some ideas. I'm hoping that a few of them work out.

What are you looking at for 2017? How can you use your talents in a productive way beyond the existing tasks you have? If you're reading this, you're talented. Slackers don't read The Nimble Photographer.

You might be sitting there, phone in hand, wearing your weekend jeans and sipping coffee. (God, I love weekends!) Perfect. You mind is ready to be creative. Do it.

This is going to be a challenging year for all of us. Let's be ready.