How Choosing a "Project" Over a "Job" Opens Up a World of Possibility

image: Stocksy

image: Stocksy

I've held jobs of various kinds since I was about 12.

Babysitting. Worked in a toy store. Made lattes and served cake in a bakery. Sold gift cards. Nanny during college. And then after college graduation a steady stream of marketing/advertising roles, along with a steady stream of stress-clients-meetings-bosses.

I had a few creative projects along the way. In high school I was lucky enough to take graphic design classes at the renowned Art Center College of Design. I taught a class during college and worked on a friends' student film. I sewed my daughter's Halloween costumes age 5-9. Tried my hand at gardening, pizza making, blogging of various kinds.

But until the last few years my projects were something I squeezed in, versus something I really made a choice to create time for. 

About three years ago I decided I wanted to get trained as a life coach and build a coaching practice. That felt really different. It was a really meaty project, and I was doing it for no other reason than it seemed to be calling my name. 

And when I found that building my coaching practice on the side of my full-time job actually made me appreciate and enjoy my job a whole lot more - that was extra amazing!

In this teeny little gem of an article, Seth Godin sums up exactly what I've experienced, and one of the reasons why I've created The Side Passion Project in the first place... that you need MORE than just a job, you need projects that you care about. And, if you turn those projects you care about into too much of job, that's trouble too. 

Somehow we've come to believe that life needs to be really black and white, like the only way to do "it right" is for your job to also be your passion and if it's not, they end up either:

Some people don’t have a project, only a job. That’s a choice, and it’s a shame. Some people work to turn their project into a job, getting them the worst of both.
— Seth Godin
  • Feeling out of luck because their job isn't their passion
  • Finding the thing they most love to do,  yet end feeling totally disappointed because here's no practical way they can do it full-time
  • Pursuing their passion full-time and then end up totally stressed out trying to make it work, and feeling a whole lot less passion about it...

I like to think this is where the option to hang onto your day job - thank it for supporting you financially and letting you put some of your strengths and gifts to work - while you pursue your interests and passions on the side is one to worth taking a really good look at.  

Looking for some ideas and inspiration to help you make sense of how you might re-imagine a life with both "a job" and "a project", take a listen to some stories from real everyday people who are doing it now on Doing It On the Side podcast.