Maybe you aren’t a lawyer like I was, but unless you are one of the lucky few people who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up — and became it — your current job is probably not going to be what you do for the rest of your life.
About a decade into my law career I woke up and said, “Miserable, miserable, no end in sight!” before collapsing again deep into sleep. I don’t remember the incident (my wife will never forget it), but it signaled to me that I needed to escape from the law. Soon thereafter, I started my business SCOTTeVEST to create clothing that incorporates hidden pockets for electronics, and I’ve been successful and happier ever since.
Latest incarnation of the invention that let me escape from the law: the SCOTTeVEST Featherweight Vest. We now have about 50 styles of pocket-filled clothing.
Whatever you are escaping from — or escaping to, for that matter — these are a few ideas from my book Pocket Man to get you started once you say, “I quit!”
Passion is the foundation
It’s a cliche to say “follow your passion,” but it’s a cliche that rings true. Passion is the foundation for knowing which direction to pursue. Many smart people find themselves “stuck” because, hell, when you can do anything how do you decide what to actually do? Passion is your first clue.
If you’re passionate about something at the start, it’ll fuel you through the ups and downs, and give you the fire to keep going through the boring parts as you pursue what it is you are supposed to be doing with your life. Don’t ignore what you are passionate about.
Patience is not a virtue…
and it’s certainly not my virtue. Most of the time when people wait for the precisely correct moment to send that email, place that call or take a leap. It has nothing to do with timing… it’s fear.
A quicker, less complete reply to an email in the next two minutes is better than a perfectly crafted one in two days. Be bold, don’t apologize. The same holds true with your career. If I had one piece of advice for my younger self, it would be not to wait as long to make my leap into my new career.
Paint yourself into a corner aka burn some bridges
Along with not waiting for the perfect moment to act, sometimes you need to stack the deck to force yourself to move forward. Book a non-refundable plane ticket (or in my case, a book tour). Turn in your two-week notice. Start moving, not pondering.
What seems like a desperate act from this end can look like a minor bump in hindsight. Create situations in which you must act to move yourself toward a career you are passionate about. Don’t give yourself a chance to chicken out.
If you accept mediocrity in any form for long enough, you become mediocre. Period.
There is a danger to not pursuing your passion and to getting stuck doing something you hate… it changes you, and not for the better. Remember the mom line: “If you keep making that face, it’ll freeze that way.”
I escaped from my law job when I realized I would rather play Solitaire than do my work. What did that say about me as a person and as an employee? I deserved better and so did my employer. When you’re unhappy, you’re not doing your best work. Don’t get stuck that way.
Have you ever had to “escape” from a job, career or career path?
For even more stories about my approach to business, check out my top-rated book, Pocket Man.
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ABOUT SCOTT JORDAN and SCOTTeVEST
Scott Jordan is the CEO and Founder of SCOTTeVEST, which creates multi-pocket clothing designed to carry electronics. He is the author of Pocket Man: The Unauthorized Autobiography of a Passionate, Personal Promoter.
Read a sample of Scott’s book for more about his experience on Shark Tank and the pocket empire he has built.