Why DON’T more people have geeky jobs?

So why don't more people have geeky jobs?  Why aren't more people don't what they love for a living?  I encounter many people disappointed in their careers and themselves, and I realized that I should actually sit down and make a list of what I see.

So, let's see what my imagination produces

The list:

  • Lack of self-knowledge
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Lack of effort
  • Lack of industry knowledge
  • Lack of a career plan/self development
  • Location issues
  • Not exploring options
  • The Wall of Fandom

Lack of self-knowledge:
This may sound all touchy-feely, but honestly, to succeed you need to know yourself – really know yourself.  You need to know your skills, your defecits, your habits, your interests.  If you don't know yourself, how can you find a career? 

Now this is a journey not a destination, but getting to know yourself is needed if you're going to get to where you want to be (since you may not know where you want to be).

Lack of self-confidence:
"I want to, but . ." is something I hear over and over again.  People simply lack confidence in themselves – and often don't know themselves very well to boot.  Some geeky jobs are very challenging, and a lack of confidence can be devestating to the job search.

Lack of Effort:
Frankly, this kills most job searches right there – people simply don't put in enough time and effort (and proper effort) to get a job.  This is a universal problem – a good rule is that if you're unemployed, you should put in 30-50 hours on a job search, and 5-15 if you are employed.

Lack of Industry Knowledge:
People are often stymied in their quest for a geeky job by not knowing enough about the industry or industries they'd like to work in – this both hurts the search and hurts interviews.  In addition, a lak of industry knowledge affects your ability to figure out what training, education, and experience you need.

Lack of a Career Plan/Self Development:
You need a vision for your career and where you want to go – and then how you'll get there.  THis is especially important when you have specific geeky career goals.  No plan, no measurable goals – no ability to get where you want to go.

Location Issues:
Either not knowing the available career options in your area, or not being willing to move if you have to.  Location is important to careers, and not knowing yours can lead to failure.

Not Exploring Options:
I meet many failed artists, failed writers, failed many-things where people just didn't explore the broader options available to them.  You have to explore as many options as possible to see where your interests, skills, and goals fit in.  Never assume you have all of the picture about what you can do – over fifteen years into my professional career and I'm still learning.  So you want to be a writer – but you could also be an editor, a copywriter, or more . .

The Wall of Fandom:
Some people keep their fannish life, hobbies, etc. totally separate from the rest of their lives.  That's fine, and in some cases necessary (if only for sanity), but one also needs to consider the opportunities fandom provides – networking, support, skill building, learning about industries, etc.  Before you decide to keep it as one isolated part of your life, ask if the isolation is needed.

So how many of these do you suffer from?  Don't think I avoid all of these, even though I wrote this list . . .

– Steven Savage