The strategy conversation you can only have here

How to not get a job


The class of business science students that I teach strategy are heading out into the world in January. They have a unique outlook on life which they will need as they head into a world as uncertain today as anytime that I remember in my 44 years.

We need to stop looking businesses to work for. I meet a lot of people every month and a lot of people are asking how they will get a job or get a better job. This is the wrong question.

The right question is, 'where can I contribute'. With contribution come rewards. Always. If I am making a real contribution I will get rewarded either financially or in some other meaningful way. I think we are conditioned to expect instant gratification - I work - you pay - at the end of the month. This is a limiting assumption and allows us to take 'jobs' that aren't fulfilling for us nor valuable for our employers.

A better strategy would be to figure out how to be able to contribute until my contribution is recognized. It may take two or ten months. If I can really contribute then it is probably because the work is meaningful. If it's meaningful I want to do it anyway and I can be patient.

In a market where 'good jobs' are getting scarcer looking for places to contribute opens up many more options. I can do my own business, partner with others, volunteer my time to get experience or create a joint venture with an existing business.

And if you are going to go the contribute route then make sure you do it on your own terms.