Sometimes the line from what you are doing right now to what you wish you were doing is not a straight one. During his Social Capitalist interview with Never Eat Alone co-author Tahl Raz, James Altucher shared a story about how, rather than attempting to map that path on the sly, coming clean about what you really want can be the best way to make it happen.
Everybody who works in a company should be thinking in this way that I’m describing. Sincere voices always rise to the top. And if they don’t, then that’s not the business for you to be in. When I worked at HBO, the television network, I was a junior programmer in the IT department. But what I really wanted to do was have a TV show. So first, I pitched to them special things I thought they should do on their website that I could do which sort of seemed like TV shows. And then I pitched directly to their television department: “Here’s an idea I would like to do for your television show.” Then they give me the opportunity to do it. They paid me to do a pilot.
So I got what I wanted by being honest. I gave away ideas and I came up with good ideas. That pilot idea kind of came out of my programming. The idea was, What are people up to at 3 in the morning at New York City on a Tuesday night? Because if you’re out at 3:00 in the morning on a Tuesday night, there’s a reason for it, and it’s not a good one. So I did that for HBO’s website for three years, then I pitched it as a TV pilot, and they let me do it. It never aired but I had fun doing it.
For more on the benefits of authenticity and candor, read the rest of the interview transcript here: Social Capitalist Transcript – James Altucher.