Ask Josh: The Grind of Our Lives

by / 0 Comments / 83 View / July 2, 2015

How do you successfully switch careers in adulthood without losing your mind? :p That’s been plaguing me for quite some time. I currently you have a full time job that I can’t see myself doing for the next 20 or so years. 😡 I like to draw and do artistic things. I also have issues with focusing on things :s
Roseanna, Sanford

Hi Sanna! You’re in a newspaper! 😀 The bad news is that you need to be kind of lucky. Grinding out job openings for positions you want has always been perilous at best. (~_~) The key to any successful career transition is networking, and networking doesn’t have to be as cynical or soul crushing as it’s made out to be. The most natural way to network is to simply befriend likeminded people who are either professionals in the industry of your choosing or have an interest in the industry of your choosing. Fortunately, you have an interest in art, which is something I know a little bit about! :p Even with a full time job imposing on your leisure, you need to set aside even a small amount of time every week to drawing stuff.

Art can be time consuming, but the trick here is to reduce the time you actually spend. As you gain more experience you commit to muscle memory the rules of anatomy, perspective, light and shadow. Clean line art, which is what I know you’re fond of, will always take a while to draw. Have you considered going digital and adopting a more painterly, concept art style? You can get beautiful results in a short amount of time, due to simple paint strokes giving the impression of detail rather than actually rendering a lot of detail. Once you become accustomed to this though, I wouldn’t be surprised if you started pouring more actual detail into your work, just because it will become second nature and relaxing. ^_^

Anyway, just focus on what you’re passionate about on your free time. Talk to, and hang out with other people who are into that same thing. Eventually, someone will know someone who’s interested in paying you to do something you like doing. This is an extremely simplified career path, but in a creative field it makes more sense than going into poverty-inducing debt to study what you love doing. XD

OK, so I have had this happen to me a couple of times. I will be in a conversation with a group of people at work. I am telling a story or sharing an experience and someone not only interrupts me, but continues to talk over me as I finish my thought or conversation out loud but no one is listening any longer. Then I somehow end up being nudged out of the conversation, unable to get back in. Both times it was the same co-worker who talked over me. What should I do when this happens?

The responsible thing for me to tell you is to politely ask the intruding co-worker that they can have their turn right after you finish your story. However, that’s tantamount to negotiating with terrorists. The workplace is a battlefield, and even a conversation between co-workers can be an exercise in psychological warfare. I’m going to tell you how to win.

First, when your co-worker interrupts you, immediately begin staring into their eyes with a furrowed brow. Say nothing and remain frozen in time, to give off the impression that the co-worker has said something so stupid, you are paralyzed with incredulity. It will also demonstrate that you are not one to waste words. This kind of deadpan response often draws attention from a group, so it’s a good way to maintain social control while seeding embarrassment in the interloper.

If your co-worker actually has charisma and is the kind of frustrating extrovert that draws people toward them, then you must fight head on. Bone up on your comedy, be it humorous essays, stand-up routines, or binge watching 30 Rock. You must build a mental library of sarcastic one-liners and witty comebacks so you can fire them at your opponent with ease. In their story, did they leave an opening for a double entendre? Forget about your values or your dignity; it’s dog eats dog in the workplace social hierarchy. Go for the easy jokes. Demean your opponent, belittle them in front of their peers, and they will never make the mistake of interrupting your stories ever again.

This will make you an awful human being, but at least you’ll be a winner in your own eyes.

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