Work is one of the biggest parts of life for most people. If you like your job, that can be a good thing, but for those who are unhappy with their employment, it can be quite the opposite. Though the latter may be prevalent in modern society, there is still hope to be found in the myriad of ways to create a career that is tailored to your unique strengths and desires. In order to illustrate this point, we looked to the work of Paul Alan Smith, an entertainment professional who has worked in a wide range of roles, customizing each in different ways.

Early life

To better understand Smith’s motivations for tailoring his work in the way he has, it will be helpful to first look at his personal history. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, much of his early life was spent witnessing the political activism of the ‘60s and ‘70s. This left a deep mark on the future agent/manager, impressing on him the importance of developing a set of beliefs and working to help them become better reflected in the world at large. This theme would be pronounced throughout his life. Another aspect of his early life that helped shape his efforts down the road were his experiences traveling abroad. After studying Theatre at UCLA and NYU, he opted to engage in these travels to help broaden his horizons and better respect other cultures of the world. His travels at this time included time spent in Europe and Israel/Palestine. Later in life, he would again incorporate traveling into his life by taking trips to both Africa and India. These journeys not only afforded him the chance to see new ways of doing things, but also provided time for self-reflection and personal growth.

Starting his career

After his formal education and travels, Paul Alan Smith decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a dream of creating independent television content that could better reflect society at home and abroad. This move proved to be fortuitous because it eventually landed him in the mailroom of Triad Artists, one of the major agencies operating at the time. Though promotion at agencies can often be slow-moving, the young professional was able to prove his worth quickly and was soon moved to a position as an assistant. After excelling in that role, he became an agent with a roster of clients of his own.

This trajectory of promotion is one of the clear lessons that can be pulled from the entertainment professional’s career. While promotions can be difficult to attain, they are certainly possible through the aid of hard work and knowledge about what one wants to achieve. For those seeking to emulate this type of success, it can be helpful to take time to analyze one’s own goals in life, and to see how they best relate to their work. If there is a great disparity between one’s line of work and their ultimate goals, it may be worthwhile to acknowledge that fact and see if there are other positions available that could provide a better fit.

Importance of flexibility

A lack of rigidity in one’s plans can also be a huge boon when crafting a custom career. This concept showed up time and again in the entertainment professional’s life. Though he first became known for his work as an agent, he eventually opted to transition to work as an executive to see how that side of the industry functioned. This switch happened when he took a job as Vice President of Current Programming at Lorimar TV. While the job ultimately became a lesson in what type of work he didn’t want to do, he was able to more fully understand his own strengths from the experience.

This same sense of flexibility can be a benefit for anyone seeking to make the most of their work environment. Maintaining the ability to switch companies allows a person to more fully investigate their line of work and their own ability to compete in different fields. Even if such a switch turns out to not be the best fit, it still provides an employee with invaluable experience and will show future employers that they have the ability to utilize a variety of skill sets in different work environments.

Workplace activism

While there are a large number of benefits to customizing one’s career, perhaps one of the biggest is the ability to work in an environment that can cater to one’s personal beliefs. That has been a major goal of Paul Alan Smith in his various career endeavors. His social and political activism has manifested through his work in a number of ways, such as through his implementation of workplace recycling and commuting campaigns. These efforts helped to change the environmental impact of his offices via programs he set up with his employers.

Changing one’s office environment to help support one’s belief system is something that can be done without the need for a promotion or outside recognition. Depending on the type of program you are trying to implement, this type of work can be free or perhaps pay for itself with some creative planning. This type of effort can not only work to further the cause of your choice, it can also help you feel that you are conducting your work in a manner that is more in touch with your values.

While job satisfaction can vary depending on a wide range of factors, one area that has a large impact is how much one can tailor a career to fit one’s needs and desires. As we have seen above, this can be accomplished in a variety of ways such as through promotion, workplace activism, and career changes. These endeavors are all reflected in the life of Paul Alan Smith, who has developed a reputation for conducting his work in a socially conscious manner not often found with other agents and managers. For this reason, looking further into his career can be an instructive experience for those interested in emulating his working style.

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