Cobbling a Life Together
By Jennifer Snyder
Thats a marvelous
idea, dear, but you already have a job. Just be grateful that
you can pay your bills and have your fun on the weekend.
Nobody really expects to
have the perfect job. If you dont like what you do, just
give your boss the least you can get by with, and take extra-long
Do comments like these sound
Professional women are beginning
to understand that there is more to their professional life than
what they once considered possible, breaking free from old stereotypes
and limiting beliefs. They have read books about achieving dreams
or doing what you love so the money will follow. They usually
mull over their ideas alone before apprehensively mentioning
them to a trusted individual. Unfortunately, negative responses
like the ones above from well-intentioned friends and relatives
can send our tentative planner back to her cubicle; never to
reach out from behind her 9-to-5 prison walls again.
Following a peer coaching session,
I was speaking with my friend and colleague, Coach Maureen Killoran.
We were talking about many Americans viewpoints about work,
where adult men and women work one real career at a time, and
with luck are able to pay their bills and feel professionally
satisfied. Maureen leads exciting retreats to inspirational places
around the world and was kind enough to share an experience with
While spending time in the Irish
countryside last year, Maureen had the opportunity to observe
several individuals in one small community. A man painted houses
(a job for which he was skilled and allowed him to be outside),
tended bar (where he was surrounded by friends), and sang in
coffee houses. Music was this mans real passion and he
had found a way to incorporate it into his daily routine. The
income from making music wasnt enough to pay his bills
but he was able to make ends meet by relying on other passions
and interests. He didnt dread reporting to any of his jobs
because each one offered him an opportunity to do something he
A woman in town took pleasure
in a comparable work schedule. She cared for children in her
home (a position that honored her love for babies), worked in
a bakery (utilizing her creativity and culinary skills), and
wrote chapters for her first novel each night. She, too, had
found a way to earn money by doing things she enjoyed while making
time for her dream career.
But Maureen, I asked,
Arent people in our country wary of individuals who
earn a living doing odd jobs?
Yes, they are, she
answered, And theyre often the same people longing
for a perfect job from 9-to-5. The people I saw in Ireland have
what the others are looking for - they have been successful at
cobbling a life together.
The power of Maureens story
has stayed with me for months. Not a week goes by that I dont
reflect upon cobbling a life together. Is it really
possible to craft a workday doing things you love? I believe
so, but it takes time, introspection, and determination.
Before we can go any further,
we should agree that you have control over your life and you
can make powerful decisions about your own future.
The first question to ask yourself
is how happy you are in your job, and if you can afford not to
make a change. The next question you ask yourself should determine
if you have a financial safety net should one of the jobs end
Next, get comfortable in a quiet
place and respond to the following questions. Dont judge
your answers; simply write down anything that comes to mind.
You will evaluate your list later.
What previous jobs have you enjoyed?
What do people tell you youre good at?
What aspects of your current job do you enjoy?
What interests do you have that could earn money?
What activities do you become so engaged in that you lose all
track of time?
What would be your ideal job?
What do you like talking about, thinking about, and reading about?
What kind of work would you do even if you werent getting
What career would you try if money werent an issue?
Now, look over your list for
similar types of work. Could you make a living doing any one,
or a combination of the jobs? Let your list serve as a map for
where you want to go professionally.
Whether you choose a professional
life with several responsibilities like our friends in Ireland,
or you decide upon one satisfying career, youre now on
your way to building a livelihood that acknowledges your own
Cobbling a life together
the future of your dreams
it brings about a joyful, limitless
feeling doesnt it?