Conventional wisdom, as it pertains to making a jump, sucks.
Cathy Heller is a woman many of you probably have never heard of. Except if you watch TV, probably have listened to her music, without knowing you’ve heard it. Because Cathy jumped into music, poked around, tried and failed, didn’t become Beyonce, and yet, years later has created a meaningful (and very successful) career in the biz: making music for commercials.
Cathy’s my guest on the podcast this week, and my favorite part of the conversation is when she described her jump toward music - that she figured she had to be Beyonce, or else she’d have to leave LA.
It’s what Tim Urban of Wait But Why describes in his latest blog post as the problem with conventional wisdom in considering your career:
When it comes to careers, society is like your great uncle who traps you at holidays and goes on a 15-minute mostly incoherent unsolicited advice monologue, and you tune out almost the whole time because it’s super clear he has very little idea what he’s talking about and that everything he says is like 45 years outdated. Society is like that great uncle, and conventional wisdom is like his rant. Except in this case, instead of tuning it out, we pay rapt attention to every word, and then we make major career decisions based on what he says. Kind of a weird thing for us to do. (full post here)
Cathy’s metaphorical great uncle told her she had to be a platinum recording artist if she was to have a career in music. Because that’s what convention would say.
Conventional wisdom would ALSO tell Rachel, a WTJ community member from LA, that she should leave entertainment because she found her job helping produce movies didn't exactly fulfill her passion that led her to La La land. Rachel wrote in to WTJ to share her situation and ask for ideas on where to jump to next. (BTW - you can always feel free to reach out to us to share your jump situations, too!)
The same week that Tim wrote about how conventional wisdom sucks, and Cathy explained how she bucked it, we heard from Rachel. And so the stars have aligned, and today we have it: today’s podcast (starting with an answer to Rachel's question) and an amazing (although very long!) post from Tim, both explaining why it’s ok to be unconventional in our careers.