I had coffee yesterday with a client about her new career as an artist. The content wasn’t particularly important; the points were.
“Look,” I told her, “even though you’re in the career of your dreams, there’s still about 30% of it that you won’t like doing. Every job has that, whether it’s administrative or marketing or the work you don’t like, those production pieces you churn out for the money. You have to decide what you’re willing to do.
“Then you also have to decide what boundaries you’ll put around your artistry. How many hours do you want to work at it a day? It’s the rare artist who’ll stay at the creative task for eight or twelve hours. If it’s four to five hours a day, put a fence around that time and defend it from incursion by your other responsibilities and the 30% that’s necessary to do.”
When I learned a friend was dying a couple of years ago, I called another friend, the soul of pragmatism. “What shall I do?” I wailed, “I hate being around death, but I feel like I should do something.” “Decide what you’re willing to do and not do. Visit the hospital, take food, drive her to treatments; and tell your friend these are the things you can do.” Willingness and boundaries.
Whether you’re out of a job or working at changing careers, your daily life is full and has its frustrations. You have to know how much you WILL do to move yourself forward, and what your boundaries are. . .what you WON’T do. You need to sit yourself down and have a heart to heart with the person you see in the mirror: “What am I willing to do and not do?” “What feels like the right thing for me to do?” (always an unerring pointer to one’s correct behavior.) The heart and mind and path ahead are always clearer after conversations like this.
Your family wants you to spend as much possible time on job hunting. Your soul needs time for yourself, and the family needs time with you. If you’re seeking your NEXT, you also have a day job, a family and a dream of your possibilities. You have to be deliberate about how you allocate your time: your future, your family, you. If you get real obsessive in one area or the other, bitterness often follows and it’s often because you’ve left yourself out of the equation.
Ask yourself willingness and boundary questions so you can feel at peace with your work and job seeking activities, to keep your hectic life in balance.