WHAT IS A CAREER?

You’re doing what Shakespeare and Picasso did, right?

No, your work is nothing like theirs. And, it shouldn’t be.

But you are doing what they do in that they believe in their worthiness enough, at least enough, to pursue an art form and create something an inherent message that art itself – beyond just my own – is important and valuable and not solely defined by others and brilliant by itself. Who is society to judge your own individual struggle? (Not your business, as you are not, personally, their business, either). Are the critics always right? (No).

You can’t have a career in ‘making money’ or ‘being successful’. However much you try. Your career is your pursuit of becoming better at something. A process, a service, creating products. The only thing under your control is the work itself, your intelligence and your energy and time management – and how you promote and project yourself to others who want to see your work. You put things out there? Wow. Celebrate your bravery. Don’t get even, get better, anyway.

The rest? It’s out of our control.

Creator-critic dog-fight. With added unemployment!

SCENE: ABOUT TO WRITE A POST

Tug of war. By pippalou

Tug of war. By pippalou.

VOICES PIPE UP IN MY HEAD.

Critic:                     Oh, hey dawg. What you up to?

Creator:               Writing.

Critic:                     You’re what? Writing what, exactly?

Creator:               Some things for my blog. Not sure yet, my thoughts and that.

Critic:                     So, let me get this straight. You’re unemployed – well, okay, ‘freelance’, but who knows what that means – and you’re choosing to sit in your room and write instead of get out there and get a job? Have I forgotten to remind you of your unemployment today – when blogging seems particularly ludicrous!

Creator:               Career wisdom says otherwise. Blogging during unemployment helped Brian John Spencer and blogging helped Krishnan Nair stand out and land a writing role. Also, blogging on a niche topic protects against unemployment, and this blog, featured in magazines, is about how to be jobless, as a journalist.

Critic:                     Oh, yes, and that’s worked out wonderfully for you. Anyway, have you actually tried anything to get a job?

Creator:               I’ve applied to a couple of hundred jobs online so far…

Critic:                     Online! You’re only applying online?

Creator:               That is actually how I secured several first, and second, job interviews, and tests, and as a result I was almost offered perfect match, professional, graduate jobs as a journalist, online community manager, bid writer, copywriter, researcher, marketing assistant…

Critic:                     But you didn’t get the job offers, did you?

Creator:               Meanwhile, I network in the arts and journalism at events, and I’m also starting to do things in the London poetry scene…

Critic:                     Unpaid work, blogging, and now you want to do poetry? So, I expect it would be stupid to ask you when you plan on getting a mortgage, plan for a wedding, or even think about a car?

Creator:               I have proofreading and transcription work to keep me afloat and I’ve applied for temping, retail and cafe work. I’ve been unlucky, but I’m trying.

Critic:                    And you’re still wasting time on that blog of yours.

Creator:               I like writing about the area I’d ideally, eventually, like to work in, or know about, or freelance for. I’m building an expertise, exploring what I like, and learning about people and art. I’m really interested in creative and artistic industries and the online world, and if I have a bit of time, I could really write good quality content and improve my writing and, while that takes a lot of time, I think businesses might like to employ me because I would be able to do it quicker or better than they can without me. Aside from that, I like doing it and seeing the results. If we don’t spend time on the things we love, what’s the point of life?

Critic:                     But look at you! You’re all serious – you call that doing something you love? When are you going to be happy? There’s no guarantee any of this is worth it, is there? I don’t think it’s worth it.

Creator:               I think it is. But does the burden of proof lie with me? Is it my job to ponder the worth of what I do, or just do it?

I’ve just finished a post.

Action wins.