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The changing face of employment

By December 18, 2013No Comments3 min read

the_6cfb9d_708306I love entrepreneurship. Seriously, I love it. I love it so much I really, truly, honestly, think I am completely unemployable. My last traditional desk job, I lasted 2 weeks and was bored to tears. I don’t think I’ve ever played so much solitaire in my life.

A couple years ago, I was visiting Berkeley, at the time I was thinking of going to grad school to get an MBA (I didn’t get in btw), and I remember being asked “so what job do you want to have after you finish your MBA?” I paused for a sec and told the guy “my next job doesn’t exist yet.” I’ve never seen such a blank stare. I’m curious if things have changed dramatically in the 2 years since I had that interaction. My guess is no.

For the last 50+ years society has been selling us a bill of goods. Go to a good college, graduate, get a decent job at a big company, and you’ll be set forever. I have news for you, those days are over. Sure you can go get a job at General Motors or General Electric, but you have very little guarantee your job will still exist in 10 years. The workplace (shoot, all of them) is so dynamic that these days there are only 2 ways to ensure your job security: work for yourself, or continuously engage in re-education for the rest of your career (which you will likely need to do if you work for yourself too).

These days it is getting harder and harder to compete for average jobs. You’re competing with a group of ever larger pools of college educated people, older generations are staying in the workforce much longer than expected (I mean they have to, their houses are underwater, their 401Ks are shot, they have no choice), and you’re also now competing against a global talent marketplace for your previous job.

So how do you compete in this changing and dynamic marketplace? You make yourself unique. Ask yourself, what makes you special? If you were the boss, why would you hire YOU? What do you bring to the table that no one else does? What insights do you have into your prospective employer’s company that the average interviewee isn’t going to bother to research?

Once you figure these things out, you need to realize that this job is as much about you earning a paycheck and working to improve their business as it is about you improving your own self. You are working to build brand YOU. Your brand is going to be a critical part of how the future you navigates the marketplace and stands out in the crowds. Your brand is your business. Your identity is effectively a company, treat it like one.

Once you’ve built your brand, you’ve set the groundwork for a future where you are independent enough to turn brand YOU into a business. Building your own business or at least structuring your career as if it were a business will give you a ton of flexibility down the line. Admittedly entrepreneurship is not for everyone, heck even most people are not well suited to it. The hours usually suck, the stress is brutal, and the unpredictability is crazy. Yet it offers something most average careers don’t: power.

So what are you doing to build your brand and your personal corporation?