This first appeared on The Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose in 2011.
Some edits have been made to this version.
I never realized, until reading the Fan to Pro blog, how complicated getting a job really is: it’s not a case of just turning in applications and resumes, no, not when you’re chasing a dream. If you want to make a career out of what you really, truly love, instead of settling for the 9 to 5 kind of job that everyone else has, you have to really work at your research. You have to know, for example, whether Microsoft is angling to buy a company you want to work for, or whether a Japanese producer is about to unleash a wave of awesome anime movies that will knock the U.S. market off its tracks. Understanding the stock markets at home and overseas, at least to the level of how they impact our economy, isn’t a bad idea, either, if you’re looking for a startup loan for your dream business.
For all this and more, Fan to Pro is a damn good place to start. Steven Savage writes about turning the things you really love to do into a paying–even the holy grail of self-sustainable–job. They do this two ways: one, they provide links and notes about valuable news, everything from which big tech companies are looking good for hiring in the near future to whether we’ll be looking at a population boom. This section usually includes a nod to job seekers from the aspect of “this company’s going down the tubes, probably not worth applying there right now” or “this is an up and coming market and a good place to be if you can get in on it early”. But the second bit is what I read most of the time: the bit where Savage, or his guest bloggers, offer some hard, cold, and smart advice with their inspiration.
For example, one recent blog post was titled: “Social Media Points of Failure“, and talked about the danger of relying overmuch on Facebook, Twitter, or any other “single point” for your online socializing (especially if you’re cultivating business contacts this way!). What would happen if Facebook crashed–I mean COMPLETELY–for 24 hours? What if it shot itself down catastrophically, for a week? How many people would you have no notion how to contact without that interface? (Things that make you go “hmmmm…”)
In a following blog post, Savage directs our attention to the balance of skills versus compensation, and shoots a hole in the all too common, sour grousing of “That guy over there is getting paid how much to do what? Man, I wish I could get that kind of job!” He points out, very clearly, just why the big bucks go where they go, and gives readers, again, something to think about. And in today’s blog post, the one which had me head straight over here to tell you (once again) about Fan To Pro, he says:
“Many years ago, when I was a Senior Programmer with a consulting company, one of my clients commented that I never said anything was impossible–I never said ‘No, it cannot be done.’ Now of course there are times in my career I have said no. . . . However the fact is that in your career, ‘it cannot be done’ is not something you want to say to anyone–including yourself. Saying ‘can’t be done’ is a bad habit, because in many cases, it’s not true.”
The rest of the blog post is even better; Savage has a way of at once prodding the reader along gently even as he smashes big holes in the wall of excuses we all build around ourselves. I strongly suggest subscribing to this blog, for anyone with even a marginal interest in taking their hobbies into a career. Waking up to these posts in my inbox are a great way to get me motivated in the morning. Even though I largely skim the news headlines and focus on the posts themselves, still Fan to Pro is keeping me at least vaguely aware of what’s going on with the outside, “real” world, which is important when I spend five plus hours a day immersed in a fictional world.
If I sound like I’m bubbling with enthusiasm over this blog, well, I am . . . and I have been for months now, another sign that this is worth checking out. Fan to Pro continually exceeds my expectations and delights me with surprises.
And… oh. Yes. The Scribbling Lion is carrying one of Steven Savage’s books. Total surprise there, right? It’s called Fan to Pro: Leveling Up Your Career Through Your Hobbies. Go ahead and take a look. It’s an expanded second edition of one of his earlier books. And it’s good stuff.