The 4-square solution

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. (Thomas Edison)

If you’re uncertain about what art-related career to pursue, with so many choices beckoning, you move to the 4-square solution. Or when there’s no next new thing in sight, no upcoming boom on the horizon. It also works if you’re a little leery of wild techno-booms – because what comes up must come down, with a crash, every bit as fast as it went up.

The 4-square solution hedges your bets. Puts you in the safest place with the highest payoff. Might not be a rocket ride, but you can easily position yourself for years of way-above-average earnings.

4-square planning is simple. You can rate any job, any career path, by how it measures up in four key areas, as shown above... or in a line, as below.

Just draw four boxes, and put bar charts in each box that show your estimate for each area. At a glance, it’s easy to compare one box with another. For instance, what’s the big plus in technical writing or marketing communications? Stability! A good, solid job that pays well more than average (on my own charts, $60,000 is about halfway up the money graph... for tech writers, the industry 3/4 mark at PayScale.

We’ll look at each key area in detail in the next four chapters. But right now, just for fun, sketch a few 4-squares and start thinking about different professions. Interesting! Should be, because this is a great way to scope out your future.

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