Back in the day, you joined an organization out of college and worked your way “up”. Somewhere along the way you topped out. Sometimes a recruiter called and stole you away for a competitor! Fast forward 40 odd years and collect your gold watch! Those days are gone – good, bad or indifferent. So what? What have you lost?
The answer to what has been lost depends greatly on whom you ask. To the “organization man/woman” what has been lost is: opportunity, a track to run on, security, promotion, advancement, prestige. To an entrepreneur what has been lost is: restrictions, conformity, mind-numbing tedium, senseless rules, meaningless reports. Which of those two do you most align with? Regardless of your preference, with the elimination of the old social employment contract we now must provide for ourselves what has been “lost”.
What have I really lost?
The biggest loss we must deal with in the “new normal” is that of structure – a framework including a long term goal within which our short term actions can be adjusted as events unfold. Since this is no longer “given” to us we must take control – and responsibility – to create it for ourselves. Without it those of us who are not natural-born strategic planners risk flailing about without direction – taking the next career opportunity that presents itself regardless of the long term implications.
Since now we must provide our own strategic thinking about our careers we are, basically, all self-employed – entrepreneurs. We are the founders of our own company – Me, Inc. – and as founder and sole employee we are responsible for the success of the firm.
Today many people have already taken steps to market themselves – they’ve started creating their own personal brand. But the fullness of Tom Peters’ thoughts have been lost as many only pay attention to the advertising aspect of branding and not enough time on the product, the market research and positioning of the product. And some may be so caught up in their personal brand that they abuse the opportunity they currently have (Anyone you know at work spend time on Facebook or LinkedIn to the detriment of their current productivity?).
People may buy sizzle, but in the end they eat steak
Unless you think the product line for Me, Inc. is just fine as it is, I suggest you visit Me, Inc.’s product development lab to find out all you can about the “product” that sales and marketing will be presenting to the marketplace. Self-assessment is the first step in determining what your product looks like now – and more importantly – what it can look like in the future.
There are a plethora of self-assessments that you can take – but the most informative device might just be a simple mirror. Examine all three of the “yous” that most of us have: the “you” that others see, the “you” that you wish others to see as well as the “real you” that may be visible to only a select few. Once you know the current product inside and out you may decide that it needs a little work before you are prepared to re-launch it in the marketplace.