Creative Careers in an Innovative Economy


Just having a ”job” in this rapidly changing global economy does not offer the emotional and economic security it once did so new strategies have to be considered and employed.  Here are statistics you should contemplate before making plans:

  • No one on the planet can predict the jobs/careers of the future
  • 55 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with their work. (Conference Board, 2010)
  • 54% of employees are not engaged, 29% are actively engaged, and 17% are actively disengaged (Gallup, 2009)
  • The average person in the workforce today will have 14 jobs in their lifetime. Children not in the workforce yet, can expect more than that as an average (Al Gini, Loyola University, 2009)

Being innovative in this economy can be complex but it helps to focus on what you love to do when creating a plan and then being open to embracing an unconventional strategy. This will give you an edge over the competition and help have more emotional connection to your work which creates better results.

I’ve researched, sought out and interviewed many people who love what they do for a living, including teachers, business people, scientists, clergy, artists and entrepreneurs. In this study, I found that they had these things in common:

  • When they work, they often lose track of time
  • They are curious about their craft or field of study no matter how long they have been at it, and continue to hone skills and knowledge
  • They feel at home with their work, peers and colleagues who are also striving for excellence. They admire this “tribe” of other people who love what they do
  • They can answer the following three questions:

1.       What are my talents?

2.       What is my purpose?

3.       What is my dream for the future?

I now know that anyone can benefit from the wisdom of these fulfilled people if they are willing spend some time answering these three questions before creating your plan.

Once you have, consider these five strategies for creative careers for yourself as an alternative to a conventional job, keeping in mind what is the most authentic, enjoyable and doable for you:

1. Plan for a portfolio career – Instead of going for one job to secure your future, think about several things you can do at once. For example, I have a client who is a lawyer, social entrepreneur and affiliate marketer on Amazon and enjoys the variety and multiple income streams.

2. Plan to be a freelance– Not being on the payroll can be freeing whether you work for one company or many.

3. Plan to be a serial careerist – For some, doing one thing for a long time can feel like dying slowly. While you are doing one career or job, people in the category should be planning for their next chapter.

4. Invent something — Do you have the next million dollar idea swimming around your head? Instead of day dreaming– do something with it! 

5. Start you own business –It may be the hardest and most rewarding thing you will ever do!  Check out this new store in Austin that combines creativity, sustainable local food and ice cream:

Laurel Donnellan 

CEO and Founder, Bright Livelihoods


Laurel has 30 years of experience as a leader, educator and coach and has degrees from Cornell and Columbia. To learn more about the Bright Livelihoods community, go to To request a private half-hour coaching session, e-mail us at

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