Seth writes a blog post EVERY DAY, and actually writes 4 or 5 each day, and selects what goes into the queue for publishing.
It occurs to me, that when I get a grand idea, I’ve been expecting myself to think up LOTSof material to flesh it out completely. While a long blog post has value, and sometimes Seth posts some very long ones, a short note can also keep the flow going.
From now on, I’ll try to emulate Seth and keep them to a much smaller bite.
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
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I think he’s a brilliant comic, but how much of his writing does HE think is great or even good? By Jerry’s own admission, only about 10% of what he writes, does he start working with for his stand-up act.
That is 90% FAILURE folks!
That is an ASTOUNDING number of bad, weak, and not-quite-right ideas. I think this is a valuable lesson for ANYONE (and by that I mean, EVERYONE)!
It CLEARLY shows that you can have out-sized returns on that (good) 10%!
He makes the point that he has always thought of his career as a series of projects.
I have been thinking about this idea for the past year, and should have published earlier (that way, I could have stolen HISthunder!)
Live and learn.
I believe that project work is a big part of the employment model for the present and future.
I think the model is: Projects (Consulting), Contracts, W2 (Full-Time), and Part-Time work. Following, is a list of (semi-disjointed) items that I think will be important as we work our way(s) through this model.
GET USED TO LOWER PAY
If you are over 40, you will start seeing W2 employment disappearing, either among your friends and acquaintances or personally. The grand experiment in W2 employment is over. Many companies (all sizes: large, medium-sized, and small) don’t want to pay big salaries and big benefits to employees.
When a résumé show 20 years or more experience in “X”, the employer (or recruiter)DOES NOT THINK:
“Wow! That is just what I need!“. INSTEAD, HE OR SHE THINKS:
“Old person. Wants a lot of money.” They are RIGHT! YOU(and/or I)AM AN OLD PERSON, AND DO WANT A LOT OF MONEY! We are all in this together.
If you are not old now, God willing, YOU WILL BE!
That doesn’t make it right or fair, it is just TRUE!
None of this is consistent either, which makes it even more frustrating: You never know where age-discrimination will rear it’s ugly head.
You’ll eventually (or sooner) be made an offer that will insult you. It will be W2 work that is beneath you, and for far less money than you were getting previously. I cannot tell you what to do here. Before acting on it, give it a day to sink in. What will be the opportunity costs (a better offer coming in, your side-business picking up, etcetera) vs. Just getting some income?
In general, all jobs are being commoditized. Old and young…THAT’S GOING TO AFFECT ALL OF US!!!
When every job is a commodity, like coal, grain, pork bellies, etc., the lowest bidder wins.
Now, you may only be working on “Emergencies“, and your expertise may repeatedly be called into question, and your fee may be disputed, but take heart. Deliver a quote, then if the client balks in any way, politely leave (“I’m only delivering a quote today, I need to check on another client, blah-blah”). If you are in fact the “go to” person, you will get a call back, when the “Emergency” becomes intolerable, whether it’s within a day, a week, or a month later, and they’ll agree with your terms.
GET USED TO DRIVING FARTHER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD
If you’re over 40, you will likely drive A LOT farther, for less money. There can be a slight benefit to this if you are doing 1099 work (Contracting/Freelancing), as you are able to write-off from your taxes this mileage as “expenses incurred while trying to make some money”. If it is W2 work, you’re kind of screwed for that, but hopefully the benefits will make it worth the ride.
Either way, your backside is going to feel the effects. Your temperament will be tested too. Look at it as an exercise in Zazen (seated meditation).
THERE WILL BE JOBS, PROJECTS AND CONTRACTS THAT YOU WILL HATE
I am recently working on a long-term contract that, quite frankly, doesn’t make me feel good. Not about my self-worth, not about my business, not about their business (that I am trying to make better), not about the people there. Not about the drive. None of it. Do I feel right about taking their money?
I am certainly EARNINGit, but not in a way that makes me feel any kind of good. There are certainly lots of loud arguments going on.
People in the area of psychology have learned that it takes at least 5 good interactions (i.e. joking around, “Good job”, “Good morning, nice to see you”, etc.) to erase a single bad interaction (yelling about screw-ups in production, hollering at vendors, etc.). It doesn’t even matter if YOU ARE NOT THE FOCUS of the problem, if you hear it, YOU FEEL IT!
There seems to be some debate on the exact ratio (100:1 vs 5:1)
Still: even a 5 to 1 ratio is a terrible ROI (Return On Investment, for those that don’t know). Mindful kindness matters.
This client’s culture, has raised voices EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is not good. It is not good for any business. If there’s a problem, and yelling is always the way it is dealt with, people will naturally hide problems until they reach critical mass, leading to (you guessed it) more yelling.
That’s not effective management, and it’s certainly burning bridges with the goodwill of people that you will likely need again at some point in the future (à la Seth Godin’s recent post: Weight thrown and the slippery slope).
Are the business’ customers hearing any of that yelling?
The employees certainly are, which brings up the next point.
There is a recent experiment that shows that stress is contagious!
Because of this, it is almost certain that the business I am helping’s clients can FEEL what is going on. They may not know what is actually happening, but just walking in, they will FEELthat something is not right.
You want your business to feel GOODto your clients. You want them to feel safe, and to know that you can handle their needs. THATis going to be the only thing that differentiates many commodity and finished goods businesses from each other.
If you can deliver the exact same product as another company, that’s possibly closer, why would a purchasing manager ever choose YOUR company?
On to the next item.
THE CULT OF YOUTH
Craig Ferguson (his writers) figured it out:
We Deify Youth
After watching and listening to this monologue, I’ve realized that Craig, (et al), is absolutely right. Beyond that, there is the implication that, living long enough to be old isn’t a reward anymore. It used to be much, MUCH harder to get over the age of 50!
Honestly, white hair and beards are still revered in older cultures, but that’s changing too with globalization.
Living to be older is actually the natural goal, but we’ve corrupted it. Now, even if you do everything “right” and manage to reach old age (an objective opinion as to what is old, let’s say 70), you can still be “Behind the 8 ball” (screwed!).
Aren’t we all trying to get OLDER?
If employed (or even unemployed), start your side-business NOW!
Start saving money on your taxes on things you are already using (Internet, cell phone service, software, etcetera). Then if, and/or when you have no W2 employment, either from being fired or downsized (or the new and clever marketing phrase “workforce reduction”), you’ll have something to grow!
If you have enough clients that you can voluntarily leave, even better!
If you are in school, don’t spend too much money on it (you’ll put yourself in debt for half a million dollars! Really, do the math…). Get enough education that you feel confident enough to start a business, only acquiring enough information and confidence in your abilities. If you can get these things and experiences elsewhere, that’s fine!
This has NOTHINGto do with being degreed (which is a different game)!
Find something you like and/or are competent to do, and become the “expert” in that field. That way, you become the “go to” person for that specialty, and can command a lot of money for your products and/or services. You may need to do this several times, for many projects. Eventually, something will stick, and you’ll be the person everyone wants to talk to and hear from.
I can’t emphasize this enough:STAY IN CLOSE COMMUNICATION with friends, colleagues and vendors from school, past jobs, projects and contracts. When one of your friends or colleagues makes it big, they will remember that you were on their side before they went large. If and when YOU make it big, you’ll need people that you know and trust.
Be friends, and stay in touch with people that are experts in what THEY do! It is easier than ever these days, using LinkedIN, Facebook, texting, email, etcetera. Later, I may post on how to do this from Evernote and other mobile applications.
Work your “career” as a series of projects. Successful or not, you will learn from each experience, making you worth more in terms of getting it right. I wish I had worked my early career this way. Alas, it’s not too late to get it right!
That’s all I have for now. If I think of anything else, I’ll post “Part 2”. Please post back (the contact form at the bottom) for any omissions or deletions that I may have missed.
“But people keep working in a freelance work, and more and more of today’s world is freelance because their work is good and because they’re easy to get along with and because they deliver the work on time… and you don’t even need all three. Two out of three is fine.”
Isn’t this INTERESTING?
Let’s run the metric here:
Your work doesn’t need to be that good if you deliver on time, and you are easy to get along with.
Your work doesn’t need to be on time if it’s good and you are easy to get along with.
You can be a bit of a jerk if your work is good, and you deliver on time.
Apparently there are plenty of jerks in the world (I don’t know any), and people are just happy to be working with the nice ones.
Charles McCrumb, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work better!
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
First of all, I’m not going to regale you with the baloney the reunion companies tend to pummel us with: “Everyone else there knows how old you are”, etc., etc., blah-blah, blah.
Simply put: We were STUPIDKIDSthen. In the meantime, life has beaten us up a bit and we’ve gotten smarter (hopefully!).
First Item: It’s important to have someone who knew you when you were a kid!
Personally speaking, my 30 year high school reunion was last weekend. Most of the people that were there, I saw at the 20 year reunion. Some of them hadn’t been to the 10 year or 20 year.
Example 1: One fellow that I spoke to, I had been to grade school with, (not middle/jr. high school), but high school. I knew him on sight (even though he lost hair), he knew me on sight (even though I am mostly gray). We NEVERhad a single class together, from first grade through senior year. Almost IMPOSSIBLE? No. I’m sure it happens all the time in larger schools/populations.
In high school, I said “Hi Steve!” to him in the halls, and he said “Hi Charlie!” to me. We knew (and know) ALL of the same (grade school and high school) people. Two years ago, he and I both attended the funeral of our friend (an American hero). I didn’t see this man there, but he was there (told me about what happened, how I spoke at our friend’s open eulogy, and yes he was there).
When I shook his hand at the reunion, he said “Hi Charlie!”, just the same as 30+ years ago. He was (and is) one of the nicest guys!
Example 2: I re-met in person, a fellow I saw at the 20th, super-nice, keeping in touch on Facebook. He personally hugged me 4 times (speaking words of encouragement about my mother’s cancer). He works an indoor-outdoor trade, construction/landscaping and is always THINKING! One of the brightest and way more importantly, KINDEST people I have ever known.
Example 3: I re-met the homecoming queen. Her brother was in my mother’s cub scout den, and I have literally known her and her family for 40+ years.
She is the sweetest, most generous woman I re-met that night (a nurse at a children’s hospital).
Example 4:I re-met some folks that were really on the boundary of my active friends. Acquaintances, friends of my friends that I knew of, but didn’t actually KNOW. I hope to actively engage with them and become better acquainted too.
Second Item: It’s important to build your network (networking has too many negative connotations of schmoozing at the cocktail party, that people don’t like) and to STAY CONNECTED! Everyone thinks that they are well connected until they discover that they’re not. You are going to need these people someday. More importantly, they are going to need what YOUcan contribute. That’s what being friends really means: What can Icontribute to my friends? How can Ihelp THEM?
Example 2:How many people do you want to affect / effect? When you leave this life, how many people do you want to say “Dang! I really LIKED [your name goes here]! I WANT to go to [his/her] funeral. We don’t last forever. Make a big splash in the gene pool!
What ISN’Thappening at the reunion:
Jealousies: Too much time has passed for THAT baloney.
One-upmanship. Again, success is measured differently, and most folks understand that.
Strutting, OK there was a little of that, (and more of that as the alcohol was flowing), which was why I made it a point of NOT DRINKING at the reunion. You want to see people as they really are. Booze exaggerates that (whether you’re drinking or everyone else is). When people are drunk, they show who they really are (kind, loving, belligerent, angry, sad, etcetera, but exaggerated by the alcohol.
All in all, I had a great time catching up with old friends, and making some new ones. You will too!
I am sure that I can claim all of them as “Lifelong Friends”.
My family and I were going to go to a free family event presented by FILM INDEPENDENT. The event was to take place at Nokia Plaza in Los Angeles. No directions for those that have never been to Nokia Plaza were in the half-page advertisement in the Sunday paper, only a blurb “for more information, visit lafilmfest.com”. So right away, they eliminated a segment of the public that is either inept with computers or don’t have one (my mother, my mother-in-law). Next in the ordeal, lafilmfest.com had multiple events listed, and NO CLEAR DIRECTIONS for getting to ANY EVENT. If you have to use a different website (google maps) to get a STREET ADDRESS to a place, YOU FAIL!
I’ve been with technology for 18 years. I am NOT inept in using The Internet!
Yet, the ambiguity of this site left me frustrated and annoyed. They will be getting a Yelp!
Giving a place a “cute name” is fine for locals, but without giving clear directions in the newspaper and on the website you only alienate those segments of the public. Were you only doing this event for the public knowledge of locals? Why a half-page ad then? If you do a charity event later, will you be expecting these segments of the public to show up and donate? Think again.