UP IN THE AIR Feeling Unsettled From the Ups and Downs of Work?
By Jessica Sitomer
George Clooney, plays Ryan Bingham, who is flying around the US over 320 days a year. His job is firing people, and on the side he gives “motivational speeches” about how to rid yourself of life’s baggage. As being “up in the air” starts to take its toll on him, he begins to see the downfalls of his way of life.
Different jobs present different lifestyles. While some people in the entertainment industry are literally “up in the air” quite often, this article is geared to the majority of people who feel “up in the air” about where the next job is coming from, or how long will the job last, or is this career going to give lifelong stability?
“Up in the air” is not a feeling that many people are comfortable in, especially if they have to support a family, or feel emotionally unstable when they’re not expressing their creativity and doing what they are passionate about.
The ideal, of course, would be to know what the future holds. But we all know that’s not possible. It can be a challenge to look at this subject in a positive light, after all, I can’t make you any promises, and I can’t give you any guarantees. However I can give you some advice that should make you feel better if you choose to follow it. Here it is:
1. Make a list of pros and cons about working in the entertainment industry. In other words, what’s great about it, and what’s not great about it.
2. Make a list of pros and cons about 4 other industries. I usually suggest Investment Banking, Teaching, Farming, and Retail. Feel free to choose your own.
3. Write down other careers that you’re interested in pursuing.
Here’s what tends to happen when I do this exercise in a seminar setting. 1. The attendees don’t have an answer for #3, they love what they do they just wish they could do it all of the time and have stability. 2. The attendees recognize that there are other unstable jobs out there. Farmers tend to be passionate about what they do, they work from home and in many cases with their family, however, there are so many factors which are out of the farmer’s control which will determine if the crop is profitable each year. Retail has proven to be extremely unstable in recent years. Investment bankers have the potential to make a lot of money with pretty decent stability, however, the stress is off the charts, and they don’t have time to spend all of the money they are making or even spend much time with their families. Teaching is a very stable job if you have tenure, especially if you’re in the teacher’s union. However, the pay is average, and with all of the forced curriculums, most of the creativity that drew people to teaching, is now being taken from them, causing massive job dissatisfaction.
In other words, there are pros and cons to ALL jobs. When you take the time to look at the “grass,” it isn’t greener on the other side. Some years, you grow beautiful gardens, other years you get nothing but weeds.
The question you must answer for yourself, is what to focus on: The Pros or The Cons? Because if you choose to focus on the cons, you’re going to have a very difficult journey. If you choose to focus on the pros, you will discover that there can be a very beautiful view from “Up in the air” and when you look down, you may see solutions you never noticed before.
1. Take the time to do the exercise in this article.
2. Once you determine your ‘cons’ look for other solutions to eliminate them. For example: if being out of work puts a financial burden on you, how can you create supplemental or parallel income so you can continue to pursue your dream while maintaining financial stability?
In Up In The Air, Ryan wanted to protect his way of life. You want to protect yours, and you can, when you know what solutions need to be found.