A few years ago we had two classifications for talent: Hunter or Gatherer. As the tribe grew in size so did its diversity. Job openings for Warriors, Traders, Tool Makers, etc. became available. But no florist or pet groomers as of yet.
Today there are billions of us. Our diversity is immense. Very broad and getting broader. Some of us require cartoonist, motivational speakers, librarians, sleep testers (pays $17,000 btw and all you do is sleep), pastry chefs, worm pickers, graphic designers, movie critics, choreographers, fortune cookie writers, make-up artist, counselors, landscapers, merchandisers, psychics, video editors and shark tank cleaners to name just a few.
So how is it that our unemployment rate is high when so many need so much? Mathematically speaking the global demand for talent MUST GROW every year. It has cycles but the overall demand curve is ALWAYS rising. AND the need for talent expands over time as technology evolves.
When I was at IBM we used both a market driven model and customer centric model. It works. IBM generates $100,000,000 in revenues and employees 400,000 talented souls in hundreds of countries. Steve Jobs was never much for listening to the customer. He assumed we didn’t know what we wanted. Turns out he was right too. The lowest common denominator is TALENT. Both organizations are organized to organize TALENT.
I think it’s time WE (All of us) change the rules!
In 1959 Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker”. The term was interesting but HOW knowledge workers earned sustainable income was flipped on its head. Employers did not hire us to be organized in the organization. Employers hired us to be a part of a team for a brief moment in time to complete a project. Each project had a “completion criteria”. Once the completion criteria was met, you simply moved on to the next project with . . .
1. increased knowledge and experience
2. a larger network of relationships and opportunities.
SO! Here’s my advise to you. . .
1. Know thyself! Regardless of your present situation. Ask yourself everyday “What’s my niche?” Be careful here. Sometimes your dream job is NOT your talent. You have talent. We are ALL given a measure of talent. Some of us have a much larger dose of talent than others. That’s just the way it is people! You can’t change the equation. Embrace it. Know thyself.
2. STOP LOOKING FOR A JOB! Start looking for a PROJECT. Even if you flip burgers to feed your family (which is very honorable btw) DON’T “climb the ladder”. DON’T get organized into the organization. Think of this brief moment in your history as simply — the project I’m on right now.
3. ACTIVELY LOOK on Monster.com and LinkedIn.com for JOB DESCRIPTIONS NOT JOBS. Over a course of a few years you will notice how job descriptions morph and mutate. Job descriptions are like crystal balls. They tell you where the puck is going, not where it is.
4. Build that network! The old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is bullshit. IT’S BOTH. Mathematically speaking the larger your network, the greater your odds of someone requesting YOU by name. Building and maintaining relationships is way easier now than ever before. If you still think you only need 4 close friends, a wife and 2 kids. You will STARVE!!! Wake the fuck up and start building meaningful relationships with hundreds if not thousands.
5. Narrow your talent offering. Do not broaden it. We live in an era of specialist not generalist. To compete effectively with others that have your talent you need to be better than the average. Learn something new EVERYDAY. Practice your skill EVERYDAY. Give it your all. COMPARE yourself to others in your “TALENT POOL”.
Good luck out there! I know how tough the job market is for the average. The above average have no clue what I’m talking about. They are too busy buying BMWs and making dinner reservations.
You can thank me later 😉