Ditch the boring people!

I had some pretty cool jobs in my former career – special effects developer, European internet consultant, and others. And then I joined a well known global corporation but while the job sounded very impressive I wasn't happy.

Part of the problem was the people. Nothing wrong with them, many of them were very smart. They just weren't my kind of people. They were just too straight for me. I'd been used to funky informal little startups full of creative people and suddenly I was surrounded by people in suits working diligently trying to get onto the partner track.

I quit after just a year and went to work for myself.

Fast forward to today...

I had a realisation this week: that I really love the kind of people I have in my life today. Without any deliberate planning I have ended up surrounded by people who are all creative and entrepreneurial. All of them make a living without a job.

And my friends and colleagues are people who make their own rules for life - they're 'players' in my sense of the word. They don't worry about following social or work norms just for the sake of it. They're into travel and art and interesting events. They all do work they care about and they have fascinating passion projects outside of their work. And as a result I'm always learning something new from them. I feel very lucky.


So if you're currently in a job or work situation where the people just aren't your kind of people, take action to get into into the peer group or social circle you'd really enjoy.

Ditch the boring people and go find your people! Get inspired, get excited and get support. Your life will be radically better for it.

That's one of the things that surprises people most about doing my programmes like The Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge - you're finally surrounded by your kind of people. It's like coming home.

So what can you do today to find your people?

~

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  • David

    Nice article, but what I want to add is this : If your customer(s) are those "boring" people, don't get on your creative high horse and judge them. You really need to understand them, walk a mile in their shoes. Some of these "corporate" folk are under huge amounts of pressure from all directions. Use empathy. Finally, those boring people may not be boring at all, they are probably just playing a role, speak to them and get them to talk about what they are passionate about, get them to open up. Probably what makes them appear boring is the environment conditions.
    Finally : 10 years ago I was one of those "boring" people, I now run my own digital marketing/creative agency and am a lead guitarist in a rock band.

  • Tats E

    Hi John,
    I completely agree. Being around "your" type of people is so much more fun, keeps ideas and creativity flowing. I think especially for 'us' scanners though it will be difficult to find even just one person with the exact same set of interests given that we are usually interested in so many different fields.
    So, (1) I think it's most important to have a network of different people for different challenges/questions/brainstorm sessions and (2) to make sure you stay in contact with those people even if you don't need their input right now. Nothing is worse than "Hi, haven't talked to you in years but I need your help..."

  • Marge

    Story of my life, I've been in several corporate jobs by now and most of my coworkers are boring. I survive by surrounding myself with friends who are more creative and fun, after all any job has its working hours, and then you can be yourself.

  • johnsw

    That's great, Marge! And do you enjoy what you're doing in the corporate environment?

  • johnsw

    Yes true but also it's not just about sharing exactly the same interests - it's about people who share the same love of learning, creativity, making things happen, and making money without a job.

  • johnsw

    Fortunately my customers/clients *are* my kind of people but yes I'm not really judging others for being boring. After all, it's a statement about me and the kind of people I find interesting. Others might find me boring because I'm not focussed on corporate success.

  • David

    Agreed, one man's boring is another's interesting. Sometimes it's not just about interests, it can be about personally types.

  • Tats E

    True. I am living in India right now and find it hard to meet that type of people. Working (in the traditional sense) and earning (lots of) money is very important here I feel, even though that is changing now amongst the younger urban population. Therefore, I am happy if somebody has the same interests 😉

  • johnsw

    Yes I imagine that will happen over time.

  • liz

    Instead of complaining - what can I do today to find my people - booking trip to another city to see an old friend. Just rang a friend overseas. I can look for new jobs elsewhere this weekend although just looked at credit card balance and flipped. Might need boring job/coworkers slightly longer.

  • johnsw

    Well meetups on meetup.com are often free Liz

  • Deborah Taylor

    I'm very happy being by myself on a day-to-day basis. As my strengths are in learning and communicating I'm aiming to generate my income from passive revenue products, especially writing. As my strengths are in learning and communicating this is perfect for me. I also want to help other introverts find the right balance of solitude and company for them.

  • I've been self employed for 2 years now and, in that time, I've met some amazing people – none of whom I would have met if I'd still been at my 'corporation' job.
    The most challenging thing about self employment is to keep getting out and meeting those people and building a support network of inspiring people.

  • Mark

    Hi John, I've been inspired by your blog and I'd be very interested in meeting up with like minded property entrepreneurs in Edinburgh - can you offer any help with this?

    Kind regards,
    Mark

  • johnsw

    Sounds like a meetup.com play project to me, Mark

  • Cristiano

    what a fantastic post John !! However I'm still trying to find the practical things to apply in order to reach better people than me, because only with them is possible to do better, learning by them

  • Vladimir Putin

    My ex wife would completely disagree and call you irresponsible! I suppose that's why she's ex! 🙂

  • johnsw

    Ha!