Are You Wrongly-Employed?

In today’s economy and recession, a lot of people are unemployed. There are probably a lot of people that are under-employed as well, we just do not hear about them as much. Then there are people that have a very good job at a stable company, may even like the work that they are doing, but for some reason just need to start something new. These people are what I call the wrongly-employed. I am not talking about people that are mis-employed, people that have a job that does not really fit their skills. I am talking about people that need to work on a new idea or business venture. The best way to describe this concept is to look at what some other people are saying about the same idea.

First, Mark Dykeman talked about something we all need to hear on ThoughtWrestling:

That it’s OK to want to do more and have more than you do right now.

That it’s OK to not be satisfied with the status quo

If that was not direct enough, there is another post you should read. Seth Godin talked about the same idea in his very direct style:

The people who successfully start independent businesses (franchises, I think are a different thing) do it because we have no real choice in the matter. The voice in our heads won’t shut up until we discover if we’re right, if we can do it, if we can make something happen.

Sometimes people wonder why they are not happy working for a large company. Some people wonder why they can not work for other people. Other people that do not feel the same way just label them as ego-centric. What if there is a voice in your head that keeps telling you to do something else?

That voice is what tells people that there is a better way to do something. That voice is what tells people that there should be a solution to some problem. That voice will nag you until you do something about it. It will gnaw at your mind until you give in. Many of the stories you hear about entrepreneurs talk about something like this. You hear quotes like, “I just knew there had to be a better way” or “I knew I would not be happy until I tried”.

In this economy, people that listen to that voice will probably be questioned about their decision to do their own thing. The real question is whether they are doing everyone a disservice by staying employed at a larger company. By staying, they may not achieve their potential. Or they may even be less productive than they could be. By not listening to that voice telling you what you should be doing, you are also creating more stress in your life. Obviously, any stress can affect your home life as well as your work. You may have even worked with people like this. You will notice some days that something is wrong, but their work is going well. Even if you ask them about it, they may not be able to put the feeling into words. They just know that working at this type of company is not going to make that voice be quiet.

Sometimes, people need another person to tell them that this is OK. Seth Godin makes a living saying these kind of things. It is OK to start a new business in a recession. Some people say that a recession is the best time to start your own business. Am I saying that you should go quit your job now? No. I am saying that you should start listening to that voice. Figure out what you want to do. Craft a plan to get there. List the steps needed to get where you want to be.

It is easy to talk about what you would do or say “I wish I could”. If that voice is still nagging you, then wishing is not enough.

Are you wrongly-employed? What problem is gnawing at your mind? Don’t just talk about it, take the steps to do something about it. Make that voice shut up.

5 thoughts on “Are You Wrongly-Employed?

  1. Thanks for linking out, Rob.

    I love these two sentences, particularly the second one:

    “Sometimes, people need another person to tell them that this is OK. Seth Godin makes a living saying these kind of things.”


    1. Mark

      As I always say, I am happy to link to good content. I really wanted to incorporate more of Seth’s post too. He always has an interesting way of saying things and really gets to the point. He finishes his post with a real money quote too, “How can you not do it?”


  2. Good points..

    I often have to remind myself that not everyone ever gets this feeling of no longer being at the right spot. They might leave a job for various reasons, but leaving because of some sort of entrepreneurial drive (even if it does not actually drive you to create your own business) seems rarer than leaving due to things like general grumpiness.

    An important point about being an entrepreneur, I think: To me (and this is something I’ve really only grokked recently), it’s best to become entrepreneurial in any job, even if you are just a random cubicle worker. By thinking of the services you provide to specific “customers” within your organization, you can tweak those to make yourself more “marketable” within the cubicle farm, and keep a good demand for your work product and innovation. Anyone can make an effort to turn their current job into something which makes them less “wrongly employed”.

    I really enjoy your posts – it’s good to hear from a tech guy who is not just writing about code and can appeal to a wider audience!


    1. Shannon

      You have an interesting point, about being entrepreneurial even in a cubicle job. Sometimes you just need to make the most of your opportunities.

      Also, thanks for the kind words. It is always good to hear that people like what you are writing.


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