Behind on my dreams and being just a 1% entrepreneur
I’ve been catching up on my one-year subscriptions to Entrepreneur and Success magazines that I never read.
I read about a book titled The 10% Entrepreneur (2016) by Patrick J. McGinnis, how for many, metaphorically betting the farm or quitting one’s dayjob may not prove the most reasonable option toward entrepreneurship. Rather, consider part-time entrepreneurship – being a 10% entrepreneur.
I’m more like a 1% entrepreneur, if that. I’m not giving enough and I know it. Am I on track to where I want to take my family?
No. I’m behind. I’m behind on my dreams. On our dreams.
My day job proves unpredictable and the moment I start to get good, I rotate.
Been like that for 18 years. Since I have a year break in service, it’s really 3 years left for me until retirement, not 2. Doesn’t seem like much, but given this job, that’s still a long way away.
Why do I rotate so often? At least three reasons.
First, crabs in a barrel. Of course not all crabs act that way, yet the idea holds; namely, as one crab attempts to leave the trap of the barrel, other crabs drag him down. Perhaps the act of getting good itself triggers rotating to a new position. Heightened skill produces a certain job satisfaction – as well as affords one a greater time freedom and discretion that come with competence and confidence – that we just can’t have. Nope. Can’t have that. Why? Because fuck that guy. If he gains, well then obviously that means we lose.
There is of course another probability, that others fear for me, and want to pull me back into the safety, the certainty, of the barrell rather than let me face the uncertainty of what’s beyond. Studies of the brain on perception and our interpretations of illusions reveal, in very entertaining ways, that we do not see the world as it is, but rather how we are. Perhaps others fear on my behalf. Perhaps both.
Second, victim of success. The only reward for conquering bullshit at my job is receiving more bullshit. I’ve gotten so good at it. Who else is going to do it? After I’ve just finished un-fucking whatever fuckery the last person(s) left for someone else to fix, my reward now is to eat yet another shit sandwich by un-fucking some new fuckery. If one must eat shit, then it’s best to eat it quickly. How? Don’t chew or even try to taste it. Just swallow. Inhale.
Third, breadth over depth. That’s just how it is, given the nature of my job as an Army officer. One, the Army loves bureaucracy. Procedures matter more than mission accomplishment. Two, I’m on track to become a generalist, not a specialist; hence, the end of my ladder is the rank of General. (No, I don’t want to go that far.)
General Hugh Shelton in a chapter of his book Without Hesitation (2010) shares a moment where he served as officer in charge of America’s nuclear defense. He held the rank of Brigadier General (one star, grade O-7) at the time. He said that many expected him to know much more than he did and commented, “Everyone in the Army is doing it for the first time” (paraphrased, I lost my copy of the book).
It was like he was talking about my experience in both the Marine Corps and the Army. Every time I rotate, it’s as if I’m starting from scratch, and I always rotate into something I haven’t done before. Even if it’s into the same title I’ve held in the past, it’s a different unit, different location, different mission, and different way of doing business.
THE STRUGGLE THIS BRINGS ME
I spend an inordinate amount of time in the beginning on just figuring out the basics: who works here, what they do, the proper spelling of their names so as to email the right persons, with whom we normally interact, where to get office supplies, how to print to the printer, what meetings we attend, where we get the information to present for those meetings, where we show up in the morning…
One huge fucking mystery, every time. And that’s not taking into account the work itself, what we’re supposed to be doing.
The effect this has on my family, and therefore my well-being, is immense. They have a schedule by which they live their lives. They won’t be changing it. Plus, we all have short memories and memories that focus on the negative at the expense of the positive. Just a few days of coming home late just in time to say goodnight, go to bed, and repeat the cycle before everyone gets up, translates into, “Dad, you’re never home.”
WHAT DO I DO?
I’ve decided to put a few tasks on hold and read some books on job satisfaction. Maybe I should directly tackle this bullshit rather than indirectly, as I’ve been doing with this blog.
I just got How We Work (2018) by Leah Weiss, PhD. It has praise from the Dalai Lama. So far, the introduction has my attention.