Did you know that the word 'career' can be used to describe both your vocation and a lack of control?
When you google the definition of career it describes it first as 'an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress' and second as 'move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way.'
Funny, since we often jump from role to role, and company to company in pursuit of title, status, and money because very few of us really plan our career growth to align with our core values and beliefs.
And so we find ourselves careering out of control, running around like our pants are on fire, stuck in routines that bore us to tears, following other people's rules and doing what we're told.
The very opposite of what we consider 'freedom'.
We have an uncanny -- and very human -- tendency to get stuck in a rut.
Despite the soul-deep impulse to be free, we incarcerate ourselves. Voluntarily.
Yet our career is an opportunity for growth, self expression and creativity, and can be filled with purpose and meaning.
Work -- our life's work -- can be life affirming.
This doesn't mean working for non-profits or social enterprises, it means working in alignment with your strengths, your values & beliefs, and what you want to be, do and have.
When you know these things, there are 5 ways to plan more freedom into your career:
1. Work for a company that aligns with your values & beliefs
You don't have to quit your job and start a business to have a lifetime of career satisfaction. When you know your values and beliefs you can scavenge the world for companies who align with them.
You might find a company in the same city, or even a new country. Don't limit yourself by geographic location. You'll show up differently and enjoy a radical new way of living and working.
2. Join a startup whose vision aligns closely with your own
There are dozens of people with game-changing ideas who need your skills & expertise to bring their vision to life. There are growing tribes of fledgling entrepreneurs who want to leave the world a little better than they found it and they need your help!
When your own personal passion, purpose and vision aligns closely with someone else's, what you can achieve together surpasses what you can create alone.
3. Begin freelancing or consulting so you can work on your own terms
Whatever your skill set, and with fragile economies forcing companies to downsize, more and more companies are down-sizing and hiring freelancers and consultants to replace permanent staff.
Depending on your age and level of experience you can impact day to day objectives or the bottom line, whether you choose to work on a project by project basis and take months off in-between, or work a certain number of days a week while you charge a premium and work on your passion projects on the side. And since you charge by the hour, overtime is optional!
4. Start your own business on the side
There's nothing quite like working on your own ideas to effect a perspective shift that empowers you to show up 120% in all areas of your life. Schedule non-negotiable freedom business sessions into your calendar every week to brainstorm and explore ideas.
Over time you'll shift into different activities during these sessions as your ideas go from conceptual to pre-sales and sold. Never underestimate what you can do in 1 hour a day, or even 3 hours a week.
5. Sit down with your existing boss and have a chat
Surprisingly few people have the guts to talk to decision makers for fear of rocking the boat. I'm giving you permission -- right now! -- to rock the boat. If you sit dissatisfied in silence you will never show up 120%. You won't do your best work and there will always be something niggling at you.
Do you want to take an hour for lunch? Do you want to start an hour earlier and finish an hour earlier? Do you want to work from home one day a week? Is overtime killing you? Figure out what you need to help you work smarter, and pitch a solution to your boss that demonstrates the benefits to them. It's hard to say no to a win-win.
Which of these ideas resonates with you? What other things would you add to the list to plan more freedom into your career?
Stephanie Holland is the creator of The Freedom Philosophy, a guide that helps corporate misfits escape the 9-5 and be their own boss. If this post strikes a cord, sign up to get 'The Ultimate Roadmap: Escape the 9-5 and Be Your Own Boss' now.