104. When You Feel Like Your Talents Are Underutilized

It's no mistake why you're here. The title captivated you for a reason. This post is for all those who has ever:

  • Felt stuck at a job, wishing they were somewhere else working on their own projects

  • Felt like they've never fit anywhere

  • Felt bored by the menial tasks at work.

  • Needed a challenge that excited them

  • Felt unsatisfied in their creative life

 The story of my life, ya'll.

The story of my life, ya'll.

I know how this feels. I remember some years ago when I took a sabbatical from college. I ended up in downtown Houston working at an investment banking firm in the accounting department. This was back when accounting was my major at UT-Austin. (Ha! Who was I kidding?) 

Here I was, this writer and creative at heart, stuck in a department where all I did for 8 hours was enter check information into a computer, scan them, and double check the accuracy of statements. Talk about BORRRRING!!! 

The funny part was every time I would past by the marketing department, the place where I would hear people talking about their new marketing materials, different designs, and presentations, I would be like, "Why am I not doing that? Why am I not in a more creative job?"

Then, I got a creative job.

After college and a pretty disheartening first year teaching experience, I ended up in the technical writing and instructional design field. I thought, "I love to write. That's what I do. I switched my major to an English Lit degree because of it. I can write anything. And instructional design? How hard could that be? I've been an instructor and a producer in my lifetime. I can DO this."

I could do it alright, but there was just one problem. I WAS BORED. 

I know what you're going to say. It's my fault. I wasn't working hard enough. I didn't make an effort to challenge myself. I didn't go above and beyond. I am willing to take that criticism. However, I can only speak for my experience when I say that the environment itself didn't promote out-of-the-box thinking. No real creativity.

Designing the courses weren't an issue; it was being in an environment that wanted to put a limit on my creativity. It was being in a place that was reluctant to teach a lifelong learner. I didn't just want to write and edit the course and come up with graphic ideas, I wanted to know the ins and outs of the software, I wanted to know more about the clients, I wanted to know what more we could offer them. Instead, I was stuck in a room with people who were more excited about their lunch and facial creams (true story).

So, I went from place to place, job to job, spot to spot searching for something more. Searching for something deeper. Searching for something fulfilling. I drew the conclusion that:

I was not made to fit in anywhere. I was meant to create my own path and walk to the beat of my own drum.

I've always known my creative talents were being underutilized. It's the reason why I decided to work on my own book, learn new software for creative projects , learn different aspects of business, and strengthen my craft.

That's a lesson to all of you. If you've ever felt like your true talents and potential are not being used effectively, consider the following:  

One, continue to learn on your own time. Don't wait for anyone to teach you things, be willing to obtain knowledge how you can get it.

Secondly, don't just obtain knowledge, apply it. Work on your own projects. Create your own materials. Don't wait on anyone else to assign you something. Be proactive about your own success.

Next,  If you're in a temporary environment that you can't get out of right away, be mindful of the company you keep. Everyone won't have that same mindset, and you don't want negative or limiting thinking to hinder your aspirations.

Lastly, when you're ready, strike out on your own. Don't forget to form a great team along the way and keep pressing on. 

You can do this. I know you can.