This is difficult because unless you are independently wealthy, you must answer to somebody else. Namely, you need a job, you need food on the table, you need shelter over your head and so, one way or another, you have to play by other people's rules.
Unfortunately, employers' goals are not your own. Their goals are for their shareholders and owners (as it should be). Therefore they WILL compensate you for your time, but you will not be working towards something you want in life. You are merely entering into this agreement to sustain yourself, not advance yourself.
What angers me though is when employers, or others, then think what you do in your free time is somehow their business and under their jurisdiction. You write a blog, you are politically active, you moonlight or consult on the side, you pursue a hobby or second career. And with the internet (especially for young people whose personal lives on pretty much ON the internet), it's pretty easy for employers to snoop into your personal lives. What enrages me, however, is where they have the audacity to start claiming rights and control over your free time, holding your daytime job hostage so that you don't engage in behavior they disapprove of (even though it is your free life and your free time).
I wanted to get a law passed in the legislature that would ban companies from disciplining or firing people for any activity outside of work that didn't directly threaten or undermine their employer. But with the most recent elections I doubt anything that sensible would get passed at the state or national level. Regardless, until such a law is passed, if you want to pursue true excellence in life, you need to risk it. YOu need to put yourself and your dreams first, put your employer and their threats second, otherwise you will be the cubicle slave for the rest of your days.
Fortunately, most of what you need is already there. A lousy economy and lousy future employment prospects. Stagnant economic growth and ensuing layoffs (most likely triggered by BOcare). A stale and entrenched managerial class who have to continue to work because they so piss-poorly managed their retirements, thereby resulting in no advancement opportunities. And a sclerotic and corrupt corporate sector, more focused on rent seeking and ass-kissing than they are efficiency, production, and profit. All of which results in a poor proposition from modern day employers. There's just one ingredient left.
You need to have nothing left to lose.
Most of you have jobs. Most of you have some assets. Most of you have some money. All of which would be threatened if you lost your job or irked the wrong person. The problem is, unless you've succeeded and achieved whatever it is you wanted to, those meager possessions are just that - meager. They are not worth sacrificing your life and your dreams over. Yes you may go hungry. Yes you may lose your job. Yes you may excommunicate yourself from any future job prospects, but what was the other choice?
- Continue slaving away at a low-level job you could have done in the 6th grade?
- Wake up everyday at 6AM to suffer a 2 hour round trip commute working on projects that numb and atrophy you mind and burn away your youth?
- Suffer the inanities of office politics and the leadership of the Norman Dykes of Gen X and the Baby Boomers?
- Become just another ordinary nobody that will never amount to anything unique or significant?
Congratulations, you and another 300 million other Americans will go in the dust bin of history along with the rest of the 50 billion humans that have lived in the past, the majority of which also will be forever forgotten. All because you couldn't risk losing your $40,000/year job with crappy benefits and overpriced health insurance.
I know you all have to make money. I know you all have to make ends meet. Heck, I know you have social and professional circles you can't alienate by speaking bluntly and being politically incorrect. And I know the prospect of being willing to forfeit all you have gained is intimidating. But you have no idea of the freedom and just how much more opportunity presents itself when you truly have nothing left to lose. There are no risks. There are no consequences. You can't lose anything and you're mind is finally free to do what it wants, say what it wants and think what it wants. And a truly free mind will come up with a lot more profitable ideas than slaving away, conforming to the safe, but highly abusive and low-paying status quo.
Sorry for my rant, just sat in a corporate cafeteria watching a bunch of cogs sit there with defeated looks on their faces. The conversation I was eavesdropping on was some middle management putz questioning his subordinates on the most anal retentive details. You could see it in his face he was a dictator and got his jollies off of having control. His staff were scared and confused by his (purposely) confusing questions. These people had at least 10 years on me and their lives are miserable, or at least 8 hours a day it is. Just reminded me of how dysfunctional corporate America has become. This, also contrasted against coming up on month 6 of surviving off of blog money without having to dip into reserves, makes the whole corporate cog life all that much more revolting.