The industrial age had passed. Gone are the glory days of factories, T.V. advertising (and mass marketing in general), and the assembly line.
Suffice for me to say, gone are the glory days of the cubicle job as well. More and more people are struggling to find meaning in their day jobs.
The problem is not with the people leaving their day jobs (as your parents, bosses, and those in authority love to tell you). The problem is that the people have been too far removed from how the business is actually making a difference in the lives of others.
For example, people working in finance are comfortably sitting behind their desks. However, they do not regularly meet face to face with their end-consumers. Immersions help for a while until they don't. Then, they struggle to find meaning.
We're now in the connection economy (credit to Seth Godin for the term). The only way for work to be meaningful is when it connects with other people.
To make your work connect with other people, it has to make a difference in their lives. It has to help them in some ways, no matter how little. It has to be useful and valuable.
Just as important is that you cannot be too far removed from the people you are helping. You cannot be too far removed from making genuine connections.
That's why most people who left their jobs have started small businesses and small projects. Very few of them built empires. More than money, they want meaning. They want real connections.
The good news is that you don't have to make it big in order to make it in this new economy. You just need enough. (It's another trend that might help against the materialism and greed we are facing today.)
In the industrial age, businesses can survive only with millions of customers to make up for the huge investments. Now, micro-businesses, thought leaders, bloggers, and artists are thriving with a thousand genuinely connected fans and followers.
Another good news is that you can start now. With the internet and the rise of social media, it's easier now, more than ever, to make connections. You just have to make better use of those tools. You have all the tools you need at your disposal.
Connecting is much more than networking as well. It goes beyond networking and requires more effort and follow through. It’s not so much about whom you know, but how well you know whom. That requires commitment in the relationship.
Right now, what's stopping you from creating your art? What's holding you back from making a connection with your work?
Conquer your fears by taking the first step. It doesn't have to be a giant leap right away. But, you have to take the first step.
What's your first step?
P.S. Thank you for allowing me to connect with you in this new economy.