Thinking Differently

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors, bloggers and overall genius thinkers. He recently posted information about a program he is setting up, essentially a six-month educational opportunity with him. As valuable as a MBA (he says), and he might be right. At first it sounds crazy…six months unpaid, you have to be in New York, pay your own expenses…who would do it?

But then I started thinking about the whole concept, and it’s brilliant. At minimum it’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to do something entirely different, and learn from someone you really respect. Students and recent graduates do internships to gain experience, it’s a requirement at some schools and highly suggested at most. But once you’ve landed that first, third or fifth job, who thinks about an internship? (which is essentially what Seth Godin is suggesting, regardless of what he calls it).

Say you really don’t care about Seth Godin, or don’t want to move to New York on your own dime for six months? Maybe there is a way you can apply the same concept to your own career. If you could work with a company that you think is amazing or support an organization that you feel is essential, for free, would you? What if it could change your life, get you contacts you’d never have otherwise, building relationships in your industry, help you get into a new field, or build new skills that are essential?

If you really want to be somewhere entirely different in a year, what can you do over the next 12 months to get you there? If you could work part-time in a bill-paying job, and do an internship with the place in town you think is absolutely the best, would you? Would they? Who knows, but you never know unless you ask. Find a contact, put together a proposal, see where it goes. Or, if you really want to build up your contacts and reputation in your industry, and have some fun as well, check into volunteering with an organization. They are always looking for interested people who believe in their cause.

Unusual times require creative thinking, how can you think differently about your career?