Work Transition and the Four Pillars

four pillars on crumpled paper

Believe it or not, the four lines scribbled at the top of the crumpled bit of paper you see above are what ultimately prompted me to resign from my 9-5 job.

A few days before I took the leap, I brainstormed on what I would like to contribute through my work (in this specific case I'm talking about paid work, the exercise described below could certainly apply to volunteer work too). I grabbed a few sheets of paper from the printer and started writing without thinking. No edits, just a braindump.

I started by using a format I saw on the Web, filling in blanks under the categories of Intentions, Modus Operandi and Activities (scroll to the bottom of this guy's About page for the initial inspiration, and thanks to Sis for sending it to me!).

Then I moved on to words, quickly jotting down what came to mind about what I value, what I'd like to do and how I'd like to do it. Words like...












and the list goes on...

After re-reading and mulling over what I'd written down I noticed a pattern that led me to four pillars that pretty much encapsulated whatever I was trying to articulate that night:

Art & Creative Expression

Learning & Growth

Business & Productivity

Space & Community

I wanted my work to revolve around at least one, preferably many or a combination of these four things.

Two days later I sat in my cubicle reading these four lines again and again, trying really hard to see if there was a match to be made in my current job. In some cases yes, in others no; overall I knew that I would be navigating against a very strong organizational current.

It was time to try something different.

I'm not sure if I'll ever find or create paid work that involves any or all of the pillars, only time will tell that. What I do know is that the pillars offer a guide, a framework (one of a few) against which I can do a gut check when comes time to make decisions or take action.

That's exactly what I did that morning back in August, right before I walked into my manager's office.

Four lines. All of that.


How about you? What pillars could guide your current or desired work?