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Why Your Day Job is no Longer Enough

| March 24, 2010 | 17 Comments

young professionalA few weeks back I wrote a post here at Under30CEO about why networking doesn’t end just because your job search does. As you can imagine I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at networking events over the last month. At each event I have only a few goals in mind:

1. Make a new friend or two

2. Learn something new

3. Have fun

I’ve even once said the best way to work a room is to not work the room. Don’t be the douchebag who is always looking for somebody more important to talk to. You never know who people know and who they’ll connect you to. Let’s move on to what this post is really about. For years, when people pursued artistic ventures such as writing, singing, etc, we jokingly used the phrase “don’t quit your day job.” Times have changed quite a bit over the last 2 years.

In fact at this point, we should be telling “Don’t count on your day job.” I’ve noticed almost every single person I’ve met at any event I’ve gone to seems to have two careers. They have their day job, which puts a roof over their head, pays the bills, and provides some semblance of a stable life. Then they have their passion project. Seeing how common this is becoming has made me realize that a day job is no longer enough.

Why You Need a Passion Project

Self Actualization: At the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is self-actualization. In fact those who are most evolved as human being seem to have an inherent understanding of this. A passion project whether it is for profit or not is likely to help us evolve into self-actualized human beings. Now that I’m done with the esoteric psycho-babble let’s go on to what a passion or entrepreneurial project does for you.

Insurance: When I interviewed Nicole Crimaldi at MsCareergirl, the most valuable thing she told me was that she saw her blog as a great career insurance policy. Does that mean a blog is your only possible career insurance policy? Absolutely not. You can start any kind of side business or passion project which will serve as a great insurance policy. Many of the entrepreneurs profiled here at Under30CEO have started their businesses on the side and eventually left their day jobs to pursue their passions. Imagine the difference between those who work on something on the side and those who do nothing when a company they work at announces lay-offs. Who do you think is going to be more prepared for that transition?

Personal/Professional Growth: Passion projects/entrepreneurial ventures provide us with a ridiculous amount of personal and professional growth. When I look at the network of entrepreneurs that the guys here at Under30CEO have built, I have no doubt that they’ll be connected to some of the movers and shakers of the next generation. I believe a passion project helps you evolve into the Linchpins that Seth Godin talks about. A passion project allows you to test the limits of what you are capable of. In fact, if anything a passion project will make you realize that all your limits are self-imposed and that you can do almost anything if you are willing to sweat a little.

Opportunity: In my recent interview with Matt Wilson, one of the co-founders here at Under30CEO he gave me a run down of all the opportunities that have opened up to him because of the things he’s done at MattWilsonTV and at Under30CEO. He’s ended up on the front page of Businessweek.com and he even gets flown out to go and speak to college students. This is less than a year into this project. Think about how much your life will change after spending a few year’s on a passion project.

I’m not saying you should quit your day job, throw caution to the wind, and join this impulsive group of 20-somethings. Hell I’m 31 and writing articles for a blog called Under30CEO. I don’t think everybody needs a blog. But, I do think you need a passion project of some sort. A blog is just a platform to get you started. What I am saying is that your day job is no longer enough. There’s never been a better time in history than today for you to pursue a passion. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it won’t hurt to get a head start.

Srinivas Rao is an avid surfer and personal development blogger at The Skool of Life. He is also the host and co-founder of BlogcastFM, a podcast for bloggers where profiles bloggers and picks their brains for advice on successful blogging and entrepreneurship.

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  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    @Ryan: I agree completely. The passion factor in the world is actually a great thing. I for one think that the economy was the blessing in disguise that has really propelled me forward.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    Srinivas,

    Passion is the key to success. If you are not passionate about what you are doing you are not going to reach the highest levels of success. The reason I consistently visit Under30CEO is the passion that fills the words of its Authors and the Answers in the Entrepreneurs interviewed.

    One of the few good things that has come out of this horrible economy is more and more people moving towards their passion in life. That pushing paper in a dead end job is not the answer and can't be relied upon.

    Thanks for the great article.

    Ryan H., http://www.ryanhanley.com

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    @Mike: Regarding the case of your wife, I Think the online world and social media could actually lead to many opportunities for her. Digital education is going to be a big thing of the future. In fact, one of the things that’s going to happen soon is holographic technology and then your wife could literally be in the home of somebody in another part of the world teaching lessons.

  • http://www.pursuitofchange.com/ Mike Tiojanco

    The insurance of being able to “do your own thing” is huge. In this economic climate, people just can't rely on their employers anymore.

    Case in point, my wife is a music teacher here in Illinois. The Illinois state budgets is billions in the hole, therefore, they haven't been making payments to the school systems.

    So even though she's a great teacher, her principals love her, and the students love her, and she's tenured, there's a good chance she (and 15 other “specials” teachers) could lose her job today, because the district just doesn't have the money to pay for arts education anymore. Totally out of her control.

    Luckily she has other options she can pursue. Not necessarily a passion project (she leaves that to me..) but she can start picking up private music lessons to help make ends meet.

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  • nicolecrimaldi

    Srini,

    Another great post by you! Thanks for the shout out as this mantra is truly something I live by. You just never know what's going to happen.

    Also, I find a lot more satisfaction in my day job now that I have a “passion project,” as you call it. The goal here is not for me to make money (I have not yet sold anything on my site to date), the goal is to meet new people, help people and continuously network while doing something I love. It's a fun hobby that opens up lots of doors.

    Nicole

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    @Ryan: Definitely agree on the passion part. 8 months of not having a job allowed me to find and work on things that I have a true passion for. I think you’ll see more and more of that as people desire independence. Without passion it’s extremely hard to succeed at anything.

  • http://GetYourBizSavvy.com/ GetYourBizSavvy

    Dude, this is some powerful stuff. A great read! I cannot think of getting a bigger rush than working on what I am passionate about. All the opportunities, people to meet, personal growth. You hit all the points man. I will definitely be checking out your blog.

  • uptin

    Great post….I like how he relates it to Maslow

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    Hey Ryan,

    Thanks so much for you support and comments. I didn't get around to replying becaus the internet connection at my hotel sucked. But to your point,I've found that since I”m passionate about what I do, I'm way more successful at it.

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    @Mike: I think your wife could make an online business out of teaching music lessons on Skype or through video. She can do a combo of pre-recorded stuff or even live lessons. I've recently interview a blogger Amber @EpicSelf who talked me about some pretty mind blowing ideas for digital education and how holographic technology will completely shift the way we learn.

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    @Nicole: I'm tremendously more satisifed in my day job because of all the stuff I do on the side. I'm even more fortunate that it all completely overlaps since I work in social media.

  • http://smarterspend.com/ SmarterSpend

    When someone does something with passion as opposed to doing work, you can see a difference in quality.

    You put your heart into it and it pays off.

  • http://www.pursuitofchange.com/ Mike Tiojanco

    Strangely I just got the disqus notification of this reply. Crazy!

    Yeah I've been thinking about that since I heard that interview. May implement in the future. Luckily, her job is safe for at least the next year – and by this time next year, I'll be in a totally different place as far as the business/blog! Just don't have to rush it now.

    Thanks as always Srini!

  • http://www.pursuitofchange.com/ Mike Tiojanco

    Strangely I just got the disqus notification of this reply. Crazy!

    Yeah I've been thinking about that since I heard that interview. May implement in the future. Luckily, her job is safe for at least the next year – and by this time next year, I'll be in a totally different place as far as the business/blog! Just don't have to rush it now.

    Thanks as always Srini!

  • http://thenewcareersblog.com career ideas

    id Ryan I will go with you