Sh*t My Dad Says: On Joining The Creative Economy

I’ve started a new gig, writing a column/blog for Smarter Business Ideas, a magazine and website for small businesses who use Telstra services. Here’s an excerpt from my first post:

When I was at high school, the adults in my life told me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. By “anything”, they meant a doctor, a lawyer, a professor or a business tycoon.

Instead, I chose to go down a creative path and studied journalism. For this I blame Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman and their representations of crusading journos Woodward and Bernstein bringing down President Nixon.

After graduating from uni I spent months looking for a job, and ended up taking one as a technical writer for a management consulting firm – not at all what I had imagined to start my career, but at least I was using my writing skills.

Since then, I’ve had a series of creative and not-so-creative jobs, in a variety of industries, always related in some way to writing, and now I run my own consultancy. I’ve never regretted my career choice, but I sometimes reflect that life would have been easier if I’d just become a more traditional desk jockey in a more lucrative field.

Fast forward to 2012, and the sins of the father have been revisited upon the children. Both of my kids have just finished uni, with creative-type degrees, and they’re now trying to find a role that fits with their passion and what they’ve studied.

So from the perspective of someone who has worked in the creative space for a generation, what advice do I have for my Gen Y kids as they start their careers? In the spirit of “Sh*t My Dad Says” (but with less profanity), here are my words of wisdom:

• Regardless of what you read about successful people, a creative, stimulating job that starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m. is probably non-existent – at least I haven’t discovered it yet.

• Chances are you will feel caged in by a ‘normal’ job and will want do your own thing. But though you may hate working for The Man, it pays the bills….

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