When I was younger, working my way through college, I hated filling out resumes for crappy manual labor jobs that even a chimp could perform. They seemed to be the only type of jobs I could get since I was young and had no experience.
In hindsight, the biggest detriment to finding a well paying job was that I was timid and soft spoken. The hiring system rewards those that are good at networking, and have an outgoing personality. It’s almost as if work ethics and skill are secondary.
It wasn’t until I got my job as a sales representative at Dell Computer that I felt I was finally on a level playing field despite my timidity and lack of networking skills. (Yeah, how did I go from being a sales representative to being an artist/art director/online persona? It was a long winding road I might write about in the future.)
The reason I believe the playing field is level in sales is that sales companies have little risk involved in hiring since those types of positions pay based on productivity and performance. They pretty much hire anyone, and treat you like spaghetti noodles. They throw you up on the wall and see if you stick.
I did okay there. I earned several awards for being a top percentile performer. Still, although I enjoyed the thrill of sales, it wasn’t a perfect fit for my life. It was apparent that art was my passion. I would come in every day with a drawing to share with my colleagues.
It wasn’t until I attempted to transfer laterally out of the soul sucking sales position that I encountered the brick wall of cronyism and started to remember that I was powerless to the gatekeepers.
I was denied several times for lateral promotions that would have gotten me off the phone. It wasn’t that I wasn’t qualified, I just didn’t know the right people. I was always so concerned with the work of my job, that I neglected the fact that in a corporate culture, it’s also how people perceive you that’s also important. This means posturing and being visible to people who can help you.
I was young and proud. I didn’t want to play that game. I believed that hard work was all that should be required to move up in the world.
It was probably best that they cock blocked me.
I got angry.
It was the most awesome decision I have ever made. (Except getting kittens.)
Although, after a few days of unemployment, I had no concrete plan except to create art and seek ways to monetize my passion even if it meant that I might use up my savings in the process. I decided resumes were a waste of my time. Resumes are for people who want regular jobs. I wanted something larger, something undefined.
For three months, I banged out 40-50 hours of practice sketches, paintings, and other art every week as if I still had a job, posting my work on various portfolio websites at that time.
Shortly thereafter, I got a call that there was an artist position opening at a local screen printing shop. I didn’t even need a resume. I didn’t need to kiss anyone’s ass. They knew of my work from my online postings, and they hired me on the spot.
I’ve taken several leaps of faith after that first seemingly bold exit from Dell Computer. I say “seemingly” because it may have seemed bold and rash to leave a solid 50-65K yearly salary/commission position, but it would have been stupid of me NOT to have quit. Otherwise, I might have become indoctrinated to the must-be-employee mindset instead of the solo entrepreneur/freelancer mindset, and sacrificed my passion for art in exchange for security and the status quo.
Ever since, resumes have become a minor formality.
Every income earning opportunity since I quit Dell have come to me.
They wouldn’t have come to me without my proactive decision and action to change the rules of the game, or the actual game itself.
I decided the game should be Authenticity:
Kick so much ass that people coming knocking at your door to offer you money for your talent.
When you don’t like the rules of a game, you don’t have to play the game. You can make the game you don’t like irrelevant.
Just a FYI. I’m not done changing the game and creating new rules for myself. I am always seeking ways to break the glass ceiling. Just as the journey of an artist should never end, nor should the journey to strive for improvement and personal happiness.
I want to leave you with this. I’m not a religious man, but I’ve always enjoyed Proverbs in the Bible.
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
…meaning hard work. It’s a requirement for attaining greatness.
Til next time. Be Good. Do Good. Spread Good.