Always Have a Side Project

Problem:

The work you do doesn’t seem interesting or lend itself to “making a difference.”

Solution:

That’s okay.  The trash still needs to be taken out, those TPS reports still need to be checked for accuracy, and someone needs to process those expense reports.  I know, there are whole groups or even large organizations created solely to do routine work that some people might not find too interesting. 

Sure, you should definitely follow your passion, do something you love and all that, but right now, at this moment, if you don’t see yourself jumping ship to start a blogging career as you travel the world, then try starting with something a little bit smaller.  Create a side project.

What this means is that you have a little idea or effort you’d like to move forward.  It could be an idea for a new product, or an improvement to your process, or a meeting of like minded individuals, or even organizing a pot luck or fun event for your group.  It could be anything.  It just needs to be something that gives you a little extra juice, something you look forward to, that would make you happy to see happen.

And you don’t even have to tell anybody about it until it’s ready.  I’m not suggesting you neglect your other work and responsibilities, I’m just saying use those small free times that are available.  Maybe it’s during lunch or a break, or maybe you’ll have to put in a little extra hours.  It’ll be worth it. 

If it’s really relevant to your work you’ll probably be allowed to spend some regular work hours on it.  That’s the goal.  First get it ready to present to your boss or whoever needs to hear about it.  Gather the data, create a compelling case, write the story.  Then toss it out there.  If it gets rejected, so what?  Try again with something else, or a approach it from a different angle.

The bottom line is, those who are able to go beyond the call of duty, to do more than expected, to step out and take a risk, usually create more opportunities for themselves.  So think about what would really get you jazzed, and just go out and do it.  Your boss really does want creative people who make things better.

You can make a difference by doing something small and different.  That’s all there is to it.  So do it.  Get through it.  Just move it.

And don’t use silly rhymes (unless that’s something small and different.  Hey, it is.  See how easy that was?)

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