Over recent weeks I have come across a number of great websites that have one thing in common – they all are encouraging individuals to eschew typical jobs in the corporate sector to either start their own company (and create their own jobs), or join another start up. The overarching aim of these sites is largely to encourage people to do something that they are truly passionate about – and never get a real job.
The emergence of these sites (both in the UK and the US) is interesting as I feel that they are likely simply representative of a more grass roots groundswell towards the pursuit of unconventional jobs/work. Why is this groundswell occurring? To a large extent I feel that with both the US and UK experiencing economic down turns of sorts, individuals are being forced to consider alternative means of employment.
On this note I met with an Art of Smart coach this week for coffee and he asked me for some advice. He is studying finance at the moment and given that the industry is still a little tight in Australia had found it fairly difficult to find work. He asked me what he should do to get a job?
My response? Find something you passionately believe in and pursue it – read about it, network with people in the industry, join a start up (profit or non-profit) that touches upon your passion, or better yet, start your own one!
The reality is that developing a start up is a WIN-WIN situation. While many people look at starting a business as risky (with the potential for losing money), if you are young and in university (or recently finished), starting a business has absolutely no down-side.
If the start up becomes successful, you no longer have a need to look for work in the corporate sector. You get to pursue your passion and get paid for it. Talk about ideal!
On the other hand, if the start up fails miserably – a couple of things will happen. Firstly, it will nevertheless be an incredibly learning curve (depending on the business, it will develop your leadership and communication skills at a minimum, + technical skills related to the enterprise). Secondly, you will become head hunted by large corporate firms, who before you created your start up did not want a bar of you.
How is this possible?
It all comes down to a neat concept known as the super star effect. The superstar effect basically the idea that if you are the best in a particularly industry/occupation the bulk of the rewards will flow to you (based on a paper in the 1980′s by economics Sherwin Rosen).
This law has an interesting corollary – Being the best in a field makes you disproportionately impressive to the outside world. This effect holds even if the field is not crowded, competitive or well-known.
What does this mean and how does it relate to a failed start up and getting a corporate job?
With a start up your under belt (even if it has failed) you become impressive to the outside world (and the recruiters at the big corporate firms). Why are you impressive? People judge whether something is impressive by using themselves as a yardstick – if they can see a clear path on how something was achieved (like getting good grades – clear path is simply studying regularly) it does not appear impressive, because the recruiter knows that they too have/could achieve this. On the other hand, from the outside, it is much more difficult to ascertain how a person started a business and got it running (even if it fails) and whether or not you could do it – so as a result, you become impressive to the recruiter.
To reap the full rewards of this impressiveness (and become disproportionately impressive to your peers) you need to be the best at what you have done. The good news is that generally, all the people you are competing with for corporate jobs have not started their own business. More often than not, they will be A grade students, involved in a couple of charities, with some relevant work experience under their belt. But, they won’t have a business up their sleeve. This means that you will be the ‘best’ in your field – creating a start up. The good news is that it does not matter if company produced something exceptionally obscure, like leather sandals designed by Mexican Indians used for long distance running (ultra running).
So long as you are the best at what you do – you will become disproportionately impressive to your peers also competing for the job, regardless of the fact that the, a start up you have created is obscure. This means that
even if you start a business and it fails during university (or even after), you will have no trouble finding a job because you will stand out. You will be head hunted.
The take out? Creating a start up is a WIN-WIN! So for those of you are looking for a job while at university, or are currently working but want to kick start life into their career, I suggest develop your own start up, or join one from the ground up.
For more on the Super Star Effect and how it can be applied read:
- The Four Hour Work Week – From Opera Singers to CEO’s
- How Being the Best Triggers Huge Advantages
- Tiger Woods & The Super-Star Effect
- Practical Pathway to Developing the Super Star Effect
For inspiration to take the leap, check out: