Career Renegades, Escaping from Cubicle Nation

By Neal Comment

Last week, we had the privilege of sitting in on a workshop conducted by entrepreneur-authors Pam Slim and Jonathan Fields on how to identify your vocational passion and create a business around it. In the morning session, one of the points Slim hit upon was the importance of pacing—don’t spend hours trying to figure out how to market yourself, she warned, if you aren’t sure what you’re doing yet. The advice, she told us during a break, was rooted in her own experience creating a book from her blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation; after listening to her weave ideas about platform and outreach and all that, she recalled laughingly, her publisher stopped her and suggested, “Just write the goddamn book.” It was the best advice she could have gotten, she says: “When you’re thinking too much and getting ahead of yourself in terms of how you’re going to sell it, you lose that intent focus on what the story actually is.”

Later that day, we got a chance to talk to Fields about what motivated him to start writing about his experiences ditching a job in corporate law to open his own fitness center and then a yoga studio, as outlined in Career Renegade… and he confessed that the original book concept that he’d sold his publisher actually left out most of his own story, focusing near exclusively on the career paths of other entrepreneurs…

“It was about telling stories that served as a body of evidence,” he recalled, “for a lot of people who wanted to do something more meaningful with their lives but were told by everybody else that it was just a dumb hobby… to just say, you know what? There are so many other people out there just like you who have done just that. Look at their stories, read how they’ve handled it, and that’ll help guide you and maybe inspire you to do it yourself.”