Punching the Clock

“I am an Intentional Learner. I affirm that my ability to breathe does not entitle me to an income. My ability to create something that changes a person’s life leads to payment proportional to the impact. I am not paid by the hour, I am paid by the outcome.”

One of the greatest inventions of all time is the assembly line. Prior to its invention, products were made by skilled craftsmen and artisans. Every product was custom. Every product was (relatively) expensive.

The industrial revolution brought about a new paradigm that trained people in one process, one step in producing a product. A person can do a repetitive task quickly, with much lower error rates. The result is that things became less expensive to produce. While people remain skilled, few know the entire process. The goal is replaceable parts in a system: no product relies on a single person showing up today.

You’ve worked in a factory

Ever have a job that involved clocking in and doing the same few tasks over and over? Ever have a job that, after a few weeks of training, you knew what to do in most situations? Maybe you worked as a bag boy in s grocery store, or a cashier in a book store, or changing oil at a service station, or in the kitchen of the dining hall, or in an actual factory (all jobs I’ve had). All jobs that, once you learn the basics, required no further instructions and no real decision making on your part.

Did they go out of business when you left?

Of course not. You were a cog. An easily trained and easily replaced part of a big machine that was rigorously designed to eliminate waste and produce a product as efficiently as possible.

The problem is the lesson you learned.

In a job like that, you learn to do as your told. Follow the standard work procedure. Stay in your lane. Clock in, check the list, clock out.

Our world is changing.

We’re finding ourselves in need of artisans again. There is room now for you to work without instructions, to create something that impacts.

But you can’t do it with the “clock-puncher” mindset. And so the cry of the Intentional Learner: “My goal is to learn to add value, to create impact, and to expect payment in response. I don’t get paid for showing up, I get paid for delivering.”

The Intentional Academy is here to help. We’re creating content that helps you rethink your approach to work. If it’s helping, let us know by leaving a comment and hitting those “like” and “share” buttons!

How to Decide the Rest of Your Life, Concluded

We’ve been talking about this for a couple days now. Picking majors, internships, and full-time jobs is scary work. First, take some pressure off. This isn’t the rest of your life, it’s just the next step. Second, get to know yourself. If you base your search on what you can find on the internet, you’ll be looking at about 1/3 of the actual options you have.

To clarify, I’m saying 1/3 of job postings are online. There are MANY discussion forums dedicated to exploring the entire field. Use them!

Ok, but how do you get started?

One of my all-time favorite books is “48 Days to the Work You Love,” by Dan Miller. (no, this isn’t a paid add). Put simply, he helped me reflect on three key areas when deciding my next step:

  1. Skills and Abilities: If you’ve always been talented at visual arts but struggled with math, then majoring in accounting may be a bad fit.
  2. Personality Traits: If you prefer working with people, then data processing may not be the best way to spend a summer internship.
  3. Values, Dreams, and Passions: If you don’t believe in weapons, you shouldn’t consider an engineering position with an arms manufacturer.

Switching these statements to the positive is more difficult, and personal.

What’s a good fit for a person with artistic talent who’s introverted and values animal rights? How about a mathematical genius who loves to work with people and can’t stand the thought of a cubicle?

Start shopping. You don’t know what’s out there. In “48 Days to the Work You Love,” Dan Miller shows that over 70% of current job openings are NOT listed on the Internet. That’s why they call it a “hunt.” It takes a long time to find a path that aligns with your Skills, Abilities, Personality Traits, Values, Dreams, and Passions. Expect to spend at least 6 month’s wrestling with this.

That’s not code for “put it off.” Actually wrestle.

It takes one month per $10,000 of annual salary to find a job. If you want to make the average for college grads ($50,000/year), expect to spend five months ACTIVELY looking. [1]

The worst place to go for advice: your loser friends who complain that they aren’t finding anything. Even your successful friends who do find something. They’re in the same boat you are. You need a guide not a partner.

Better places to turn:

  • career centers
  • alumni associations
  • discussion forums
  • faculty.

You have so many resources available! Put them to good use, give yourself the time to explore, and you’ll be the only one of your friends who feels confident in their decision.

Success? Struggle? Question? Leave a comment!

[1] https://www.thebalance.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-find-a-job-2064245

No, Really. This is How to Decide the Rest of Your Life.

Yesterday I shared some important statistics that should have helped reduce the pressure you’re putting on yourself over the big decisions: what major? Where to intern? Where to work after you graduate? If you’re in school right now, you were likely raised by the “company man” generation: go to work for the same company for your entire career.

Those days are gone.

Ok. Pressure off. But how do you decide!?

Most importantly, don’t start where everyone else does: by asking what’s available.

When you start a search for a field of study, an internship, or a job, it can be tempting to rush to the internet and start looking for options. This is a terrible idea!!

What percentage of retail sales took place via the internet last year? Less than ten. Are you shocked? We’re surrounded by the internet, but that immersion is creating a false sense of reality. Don’t let that lens blind you as you plan your life.

A recent study showed that over 70% of the open jobs in this country are NOT listed online.

This means that if you search for openings as a way to decide what you want to become, you’re focused on 30% of the options out there. Not great.Don’t believe me? Try this: I spent a decade dreaming of becoming a university professor. I took extra classes in grad school to earn the “Future Professor” certificate, which included a survey of academic jobs presented by the highest level administrator in the graduate school. I didn’t just study the business I wanted to be in; I studied how to study the business I wanted to be in.Yet, I didn’t know the type of position that I currently hold existed until the month I accepted the job offer. Ten years of hunting and I landed a dream job I’d never heard of. Do you think you know your industry better?

What to do instead? Know yourself.

As I searched, I spent a lot of time reflecting. Looking back, I KNEW that my current position was my dream, even though I didn’t know it existed. Which made it pretty easy to decide on when I finally found it.

Tomorrow I’ll give details on how you can do the same.

Did this add value to your life? Consider sharing with someone else who may need it. Questions? Thoughts? Disagree? Leave a comment!

Why I love my morning routine

Yesterday I shared about the value of taking time regularly to reflect and set up the systems that will cause you to succeed. I do this twice a year, before the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. These prep weeks are crucial: they give me a chance to think about HOW I do what I do, rather than just trying to GET IT DONE.

One of the systems that is key for me is my morning routine.

I set aside this two-hour block each day just for me. Jon Acuff says to be selfish at the right time of day. For me, that time is 5 am. I can wake up and spend a couple hours on myself before anyone else needs anything from me.

So what do I do each morning? I make a cup of coffee. I have a half hour quiet time of scripture reading and prayer. I read a nonfiction book for 30 minutes, because I am never done growing as a person. I eat a healthy breakfast and get dressed. Finally I create and share something new, such as a bit of writing, an image with an inspiring quote, or even a video.

Two things happen thanks to my morning routine:

First, I leave the house in a state of inspiration and anticipation of the day ahead. I can’t tell you the last time I rushed out, flustered and late. That’s not a thing that happens in my life because I have a two hour buffer. Second, I make small progress toward my spiritual, intellectual, and entrepreneurial goals every day. The rest of the world waits for the stars to align and circumstances to be just right to spend huge blocks of time on their goals. I just put one foot in front of the other, day in and day out.

I am creating the Intentional Academy to help people do the same thing: to help you pick a direction to walk in, and take a step every day. You can join for free by filling out the form above.