What I want in a job and what I will actually find in a job may be very disparate things. But what I have realized about myself is that I simply haven’t been aiming high enough. I need to set ambitious goals. If I don’t, I tend to just drift back and forth between things that sound good but never really amount to much. I got away for years sort of just writing what I could for a little income. It was enough to pay the bills, actually. But recently, it hasn’t been, and I know why.
When it comes to job hunting, people seem to be content with settling with whomever gives them a fair shot. Some people are fine with just taking whatever job they can get. I want to clarify that I don’t see anything wrong with that at all. Sometimes it’s good to just get out and do something, especially if you’re finding yourself stuck in neutral.
The trouble is I’m not stuck in neutral when it comes to doing things - just stuck in neutral for the things that actually pay me money. Turns out that people are just being really cheap these days when it comes to content. I don’t really know why, because on the whole, companies are spending more on online content than ever. But the competition is so incredibly fierce that unless you’re a hot-shot college grad with an impossibly polished resume, it’s hard to get a foot in the door.
I’ve seen far too many talented people fall through the cracks, and it’s far from just the writing industry. It’s not that I don’t want to step out of my comfort zone to do what I have to do. It’s about not just settling. I set some pretty reasonable goals for as far as I’m concerned, but I’m basically forced into feeling that I have to settle for 20 or 30 percent less than I feel I deserve to make.
You’re probably aware of that old saying, aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars. There is definitely truth to that. It doesn’t matter what industry that you’re in. You have to aim high. From what I said about what I want in a job, I may come across as feeling entitled. That’s not my intention at all. It’s about being honest with myself. If you can’t be honest with yourself, there’s really no way you’ll ever really be happy.
I’m also not opposed at joining a company at entry-level and working my way up. You know that interviewers don’t ask the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years” just for the hell of it. Believe it or not, companies want people with a vision of where they want to be.
You may not think that being a supermarket courtesy clerk is a glorious job, but you know what? It’s necessary and honestly it’s a decent job. Fast food cashier? Also necessary. I just want everyone to be able to make a fair wage, not just me. People are so miserable because they get mired in this feeling that they simply are stuck where they are. This is simply not true. If you set a vision and you stick to it, taking all of the steps to perform your job above and beyond what’s expected, you will get somewhere. Even if that somewhere is with another company.
People need to stop looking at a job as simply a paycheck and more as an opportunity to prove abilities, knowledge and skills, and improve upon them. Yeah, every bit of work experience is important. So why am I so stuck on setting a minimum wage that is notably higher than what’s being offered for the jobs that I have been finding available? If you settle, that’s all you’ll ever do - that’s what I’ve learned from experience.
If you’re in a situation where earning true minimum wage is perfectly acceptable, that’s fine. But I am not in such a situation. I need to earn that much money to support my family, to gain true financial independence. It’s not selfish at all. I’m setting the bar high because I want to succeed, not simply stay put. Yes, I want to do that and be my own boss. But I’m pretty sure now that I need to grow more as a person before I can truly apply myself in a way that will make that a viable option. I have had to really cross-examine my strengths and weaknesses to see where I have gone wrong. I just need to stick to a single vision.
I’m aiming high so that I can learn what I know I need to rise above what I have been lately. My vision is to help others achieve this same level of self-understanding. This isn’t a new goal of mine, but I’ve learned that I have to set my own example. It’s not just about learning to accept yourself as who you are, but also learning to accept that we’re all just human and we all need one another’s strengths to complement one another. We also need each other to cover our weaknesses.
So, the next time someone tells you you’re aiming too high, just say. If I fail, at least I did all I could to reach the stars. Yeah, it might sound corny, but sometimes it’s really the best you can do. Learn from your failures, find ways to maximize your strengths and improve on your weaknesses. You’ll be a better human being for it, no matter what you find your vocation ends up being. From the small business owner to the part-time shelf stocker, I salute you. Aim high, and know what your vision for your future is. If you don’t have that vision, you will never know what you’re missing.
My best advice is to not see yourself as just another potential employee for hire. You need to see yourself and market yourself as a problem solver for hire. That’s what I’m doing from now on.