Peter Parker, Marvel‘s the Spectacular Spider-Man, has never had an easy row to hoe in terms of navigating his life of superheroics and his attempts to support himself financially. With so many students graduating high school and college in the next couple of months, and with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” currently in theaters, I thought it wise to see what job advice we could pull from Spidey’s success (or lack thereof) in both his role as a superhero and as a man trying to get paid. “Does whatever a spider can?” Let’s see if that includes accomplishing his vocational goals!
Showing Up and Being Consistent Is (Way More Than) Half the Battle
There is a flipside to that, however. Consistently showing up is difficult and there’s only one of you. Spread yourself too thinly and showing up can become problematic. I know from past experience. There are only so many places you can be at any given time. It’s just physics. For a time, Peter worked as a part-time science teacher at his old high school and, for a time, he excelled at it. He was able to actually put his science educational background to practical use and make science come alive for his students like it came alive for him. However, as his responsibilities as Spider-Man encroached on his life, Peter began calling into work more and more. Or sometimes not at all.
When Peter was a freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle, the job afforded him the luxury of not being accountable for being in the office all the time. He could come and go as he pleased, selling blurry pics of himself as Spidey fighting the Villain of the Week and go about his business. Teaching, though, ain’t freelancing. Teachers are expected to be at school every day. They are beholden to their superiors and students. True, Pete was a part-time teacher, but that still required him to be there the days he was assigned. Showing up doesn’t just require being in a particular place at a particular time. It requires doing it consistently and, if that’s impossible, walking away from something when you know you can’t give yourself to the work 100% of the time.
Sell Yourself and Keep an Eye Out for Opportunity
My point: You can’t wait for opportunity, you have to create it. Sending an application isn’t enough. If the job is important to you, call the employer. Schedule an appointment with a sit-down chat with your potential boss. Show up at the business. Hand in examples of your work. Offer to intern for free to show your worth. Spider-Man finally achieved some modicum of respect by selling himself when he could, being consistent in his work, and keeping a lookout for potential opportunities. If you want similar success, follow that model.
Tenacity Helps Stick the Landing
Anyone who lives in the real world knows that a “can-do” attitude does not necessarily equal success. A person in our world can try and try and try again without the hint of success. We’ve all experienced that kind of disappointment to some degree or another. I certainly have. But what is absolutely true is this: Success will not come to those who wait. Success will not come to those who cannot weather the tough times along with basking in the sunny moments.
Success would not come to Spider-Man if he rolled over when the unstoppable force of the Juggernaut came to town to murder a dear friend.
Success would not come to Peter if he accepted the inevitability of defeat, signing the death certificates of himself and his aunt in the process.
Success would not come to Peter if he did not believe, while slogging through low-paying jobs, that one day he would put his science education to use at Horizon Labs, be able to explore his passion and use it to aid in his role as Spider-Man.
The point, a clichéd but completely true point, is that nobody gets through life without determination and perseverance. Nobody. They are all-powerful. Spider-Man knows this. And you should, too. Push through. Pursue your goals even when you feel smothered by your setbacks. And, hopefully, you’ll be able to stick the landing.