In So Good They Can’t Ignore You [link], Cal Newport makes the case that work freedom is only gained when you increase control of your life and career. To create control you must consistently increase your value and skills. For example, as a consultant I was so confident in my skills that I changed my rate from $15 per hour to $75 per hour. Not only did I make more and work less, I managed to increase my paying clients. Answer some of the questions below to determine who is really controlling you.

  • Will your employer consider giving additional time off for your pursuit of new skills and education?
  • Are you comfortable asking your employer for a pay raise?
  • Do you have freedom in your career to pick or decline projects?
  • Are you so indispensable at your company that they would fight to keep you if you had another job opportunity?
  • Do you currently have a skill, service, or product that people are wanting to purchase from you?

If you can’t answer yes to the majority of questions above, you are probably not ready to quit your day job. It’s extremely important that you have the skills and value that people are already willing pay you for. Cal encourages readers to become craftsmen—people who have honed a unique set of skills to become the best at what they do. Anytime you don’t have control begin deliberately practicing and developing new skills that match your goals. As you design your big dream you can use your present opportunities to develop your skills. Before you know it, you’ll be able to support your dream by adding value to those around you (and getting paid for it)! Your valuable skills are the key to create more control in your career and life.

 

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