I have a strategy - and I have no doubt that it is, in fact, a terrible strategy - of not paying attention to what my competitors are up to.
And I wonder sometimes (okay, often...I wonder often, not sometimes) whether my ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand routine will come back to bite me at some point.
The running refrain in my busy brain? To compare is to despair, to compare is to despair, to compare is...
Earlier this week, I had an email exchange with a fellow Independent Contractor pal who had a sudden shift in her summer plans, and was left scrambling for work. "I'm actually genuinely worried," she wrote. "I'm just not seeing / hearing about anything."
Btw, I don't share her concern; this particular friend has a whopper of a CV, tons of confidence and is also a master networker - a killer mix if ever there was one.
But as we batted emails back and forth, it was clear that she stays super dialed-in to who might be competing for the same gigs she is. I, conversely, would really rather not know.
I'm all about the Barbie Bubble.
"I want to carve some niche that NO one is in," I wrote. Like, say, knitting the massive scarves I lovingly craft for my New York buddies who endure brutal winters. I could maybe sell them to Barneys, I posited, a la the super-chic knitwear brand Elder Statesman.
Immediately, this same looking-for-gigs, smarty-pants pal shot my plan to smithereens. "Oy, cutting through the noise of the fashion industry can be so tough," she pinged back. "Do any retailers do open-house days for new designers anymore?"
She had a point, but it wasn't like I was actually serious about ditching my writing career for a fledgling monster-scarf biz. That was just my way of e-saying that my preferred method of operation is not to swim into the shark-infested waters, but rather to just do my own thing, happy and clueless.
Still, there has to be a way to merge career contentment with actually knowing - and, gasp, caring - what everyone else is up to.
Maybe I'll get there some day. And maybe I won't.