As millennials today we have plenty of options in terms of the career we choose. It's easy to get caught up in the routine of graduating from college, applying to a high-paying job or a big company, and then working crazy hours just to enhance your CV or chase the corporate dream. But does this truly bring happiness? For some people the answer is yes, but many others are simply in it for the money.
Often, millennials opt for these type of jobs due to herd mentality, and certain preconceived notions about success. Understanding how and why we make these career decisions is useful in gauging what we truly want, in terms of job satisfaction. As someone with what would be considered a non-traditional career, I can attest to the fact that having an alternative job gives me much more satisfaction than a traditional one.
To be more specific, I work a remote online job (my laptop is my handy companion) and also travel to various diving destinations, working as a part-time Divemaster. Scuba diving is my passion, and I am able to work in this industry (that is usually not a high-paying one) due to my remote job that provides me with a sufficient amount of income to sustain my lifestyle. So, if you’ve ever been tempted to give up the corporate dream, here are some motivating reasons to do just that, and how to go about it.
Doing Something you love
Making a career from your passion ensures that you will be doing something you love, everyday. A lot of millennials believe that non-corporate careers don't pay much, and so shouldn’t be pursued. While this is true in some fields, it is not written in stone. Consider this example of my current employer – initially he started by taking a few people out diving everyday. This wouldn't make him a lot of money, but he was so enthusiastic about it that he soon built up a reputation. Today, his operation has grown to a much larger scale. He owns his own dive shop with divemasters like me working for him, and a steady flow of income through which he can amply support his family.
This isn't a unique example. Starting through small steps, like maintaining your regular job while spending some time working in your field of passion is a great way to get your foot in the door in your field of choice. Ultimately, you may find that you are succeeding enough to give up your regular job and survive happily while doing what you love. Of course, there are certain external things anyone should consider when changing jobs, but I can speak from experience when I say, the fulfillment you'll feel from following your passion, and working for a purpose you feel strongly about is irreplaceable.
Flexibility and Freedom
In the age of freelancers, consultants, and remote workers, an alternative career allows you to work from virtually anywhere. Yes, you'll have to invest in a high speed internet connection and make sure you are able to be online whenever your need to be – but the price to pay for this connectivity is low compared to the freedom it yields. And really, with today’s low priced phone plans that offer unlimited data, even internationally (I use T-Mobile), the decision is a no-brainer. Instead of sitting at an office from 9 to 5, coming home tired and then lazing about the rest of the day only to relive the same cycle, imagine working from a beach, or a quaint little cafe. Less rigidly structured jobs allow you to do this! This sort of freedom yields a higher job satisfaction, and in turn boosts your own productivity overall.
Meeting Diverse People
One of the benefits of pursuing an alternative career is the people you'll meet along the way. Oftentimes, in large corporate environments, you are surrounded by people from similar backgrounds, education status and qualifications. While some companies do try and promote diversity, most of your coworkers inevitably end up being all sorts of similar.
With an alternative career, this isn't the case. Whether it's through traveling due to being able to work remotely, teaching your trade of proficient, or just working in an alternative environment, you are sure to meet a diverse array of people, who maybe share in common with the you the one interest that brought you'll together.
Learning Responsibility and Accountability
One of the things I've learned from working remote and managing two jobs is personally responsibility. Since I'm not in an office setting, I don't have my bosses continuously breathing down my neck to get tasks done. I have to plan my time and be responsible enough to not slack off. Admittedly, this was hard at first, but once I got the hang of it, I felt a greater sense of job satisfaction from completing the tasks I was assigned in a timely manner. Because I had to manage things relatively independently, I utilized my free time in enhancing my organizational skills, from becoming a pro at maintaining a perfectly sorted inbox, to mastering Excel and Access through free online learning. It's easy to take things for granted when someone is continuously monitoring you – the hard part, and a very useful life skill I might add, is when you have to learn to monitor and be accountable to yourself.
Working in an alternative sphere in an alternative way has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I know, this sort of lifestyle might not suit everyone and can be a little unpredictable at times. But if the thought or doing something different has ever crossed your mind, or if you’ve lost sight of why you’re in a current job in the first place, then take the plunge while you’re still young and try something new – you might just love it!