GL Hoffman, author of the highly regarded blog, “What Would Dad Say,” contacted me to invite a reply to Seth Godin’s guest post on WWDS. In the post, Seth (the author of the most popular marketing blog in the world and 12 best-selling books) says that you shouldn’t try to get a job. His rationale:
There are a few reasons for this. The first is that the act of trying to get a job corrupts you. It pushes you to be average, to fit in and to do what you’re told.
The second is that this act moves the responsibility from you to that guy who didn’t hire you. It’s his fault. As soon as you start spending your day trying to please the guy, you’ve blown it.
The third is that the economy is terrible and the best jobs you’re going to get are lousy.
What does Seth suggest instead? Bon bons and a cruise on the Riviera? No. He says: Start a business. A tiny one.
This isn’t the first time I’ve disagreed with Seth. He caused a stir when he claimed that, if you are â€œremarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular,â€ you donâ€™t even need a resume. Certainly, there is a small percentage of the population who do not need a resume to land a job. You can probably come up with a set of names, the uber-business people and celebrities for whom opportunities come knocking. (I do agree that we should all aspire to develop a persona that will draw opportunities, but most people will still need a form of a resume for a job, even if it is a formality.)
For the same reason that “you don’t need a resume, you need to be remarkable” is advice that is suitable for a small percentage of the population, admonishing careerists that there are no good jobs and the only admirable thing to do is start a business similarly is good advice for a small percentage of the population.
The fact is, not everyone is well suited to being an entrepreneur. Brian O’Kane, author of Could You Be Your Own Boss says that research shows that successful entrepreneurs have:
- Strong needs for control and independence
- Drive and energy
- A point of view of money as a measure of performance
- A tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty
- A sense of social responsibility
and that they are good at:
- Setting (and achieving) goals and targets
- Calculated risk-taking
- Committing themselves for the long term
- Dealing with failure
- Using feedback
- Taking the initiative
- Seeking personal responsibility
- Tapping and using resources
- Competing against self-imposed standards.
Personality type also comes into play. Small Business Entrepreneurs suggests that the “ideal” Myers-Briggs type indicator for an entrepreneur is ENTJ, but having that uncommon type is no guarantee of business success and happiness.
All of this by way of suggesting that some people, even if they are remarkable, may not be well suited to running their own businesses. I don’t think that someone who would prefer to let someone else manage the big picture (and, let’s be honest – the headaches that come from running a business) are corrupt or average – far from it. Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is key to success in business and in life. If you know you are not suited to running a business, it’s the last thing you should try to do.
Finally, I must address Seth’s suggestion that there are no good jobs available and that being an employee is about spending your day trying to please someone else. Provocative, but preposterous!
There ARE organizations who value their employees and encourage independent thinking. Read profiles of this type of company HERE and read about GreatPlaceJobs to learn how to easily search for jobs with award-winning employers.
Do I think that some job seekers should pull out all the stops to start a small business? Absolutely. I have advised a number of my clients to pursue that path. It’s not for everyone, though, and if it’s not for you, consider yourself self-aware and astute, not average and corrupt!
Convinced that finding a job is for you? I can help! Even if you are ready to start a new business, you still need a strong resume and online presence. Contact me to learn how to achieve your dreams!
photo by crazyunclejoe