Did you ever stop to think about this much?
I think a lot of people assume they are professionals, but in fact, they are a hobbyist. Let’s start with Seth Godin’s post: Worlds Worst Boss
The world’s worst boss
That would be you.
Even if you’re not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.
Odds are, you’re doing it poorly.
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much of your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
I’m amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.
We are surprised when someone self-directed arrives on the scene. Someone who figures out a way to work from home and then turns that into a two-year journey, laptop in hand, as they explore the world while doing their job. We are shocked that someone uses evenings and weekends to get a second education or start a useful new side business. And we’re envious when we encounter someone who has managed to bootstrap themselves into happiness, as if that’s rare or even uncalled for.
There are few good books on being a good manager. Fewer still on managing yourself. It’s hard to think of a more essential thing to learn.
If you fit the description as the worlds worst boss, then you are a hobbyist.
Do you close your laptop saying, “I’m tired”?
Have you decided to wait because “I don’t feel good” seems like a good enough reason?
Do you find yourself thinking, “I’m not in the right frame of mind”; and then walk away from what you know has to get done?
Sure we all do these things at different times. Sometimes we get so fed up that we have to take a break. But it is the consistent slow action that produces the result. If you do any of these things on a semi-consistent basis, then you have already lost. You are a hobbyist.
It’s not your fault. Your teacher told you that you were wasting your talent. Or your parents never really got why you wanted to do ‘your thing.’ But here you are now with nobody holding you back. And nothing.
Because a hobbyist only shows up when it is convenient. A hobbyist wants applauses and credibility. They need someone to cheer them on because they are lost and insecure about that thing they so desperately want to do.
They got tricked, and they don’t even know it because it is easier to not do the thing. It is easier to point a finger and talk about how they felt or what held them back. It is easier to just give in and not be generous.
A professional on the other hand shows up when they are tired, hungry, or in pain. When they are sick or not in the right frame of mind they work through knowing that the work has to be done.
It doesn’t matter if you are writing sonnets, painting pictures, or just trying to make a difference in your little corner. The work you do that is generous is what we all need. The work that you get done when things aren’t going well and you know that you have to push through is what we all need.
The guy working on the roof in the building next to mine didn’t wake up this morning and have self-talk that started with, “I just don’t feel like doing the roofing today so I’m going to do something else” [Lord knows he might have said that very thing, but he also got over it and showed up hammer in hand]. None of them arrived at work to talk to their supervisor and say, “man I am not as good at this as I should be, so I don’t think I’m in the mood to be a roofer today”.
So why do we feel like we can do that?
It starts with putting too much emphasis on the wrong things. It ends with the paralysis of just not making progress. There is a huge chasm that exists between those that do and those that don’t.
Just take a look at writers. Stephen King wakes and writes 2000 words a day, every day–holidays and all. RR Martin is left scratching his head and takes months to write a paragraph. But you know there are plenty more writers in the world that have lived a lifetime to write nothing–and they are lost to time forever.
If work operated this way [and it does to some degree]. People would wake up to head into their job and call off around 80% of them. Sure when I said it does operate like this in some ways it does, plenty of people show up half-cocked and ready for nothing. They are hobbyist at their own jobs.
Price said it best: Prices Law states
50% of the work is done by the square root of the total number of people who participate in the work.Derek Price
As an organization grows, this becomes more and more evident. The base of people might change. It shifts all the time. When Aunt Sally dies and ol’ Betty ends up with a slew of kids she didn’t have before someone picks up the slack they always do. That is part of what makes organizations work.
But there is a dark side of this whole business. It comes down to that Worst Boss post and the concept of being a professional vs. a hobbyist. No matter your work and your chosen endeavor. Strive to show up and be the professional.
Because the dark side has nothing to do with falling profits or you being a downright ass. Instead, it has to do with what you take from yourself. How you hold yourself back and deny the world the gift you were supposed to share with it.