How to Approach Your Own Career Like an Entrepreneur
Fortune (January 2015 Issue, December 29, 2014 Online)
By Erika Fry
This article talks about what it takes to navigate your career these days and encourages you to embrace the spirit of entrepreneurism when job searching. The article begins with what it admits is an extreme example — at 31 years old Nitin Julka wanted to make a change and decided to switch job function, industries, and geographical location; something everybody told him was nuts (“Just make one change at a time!”). But Julka researched 60 target companies (spending 60-80 hours each on some of them), found a tutor and online videos to learn new skills, prepared a 48-page set of interview notes, and pitched himself to 3+ people a day. He admits his job search was “abnormal” but it worked when he received several job offers.
The author says that might sound like “a case study in craziness” but observes it’s the prototype for what’s needed in today’s economy. Fry explains how startup companies pitch themselves to venture capital firms and draws parallels between those actions and how you need to be thinking of your career.
One skill sought now is “learning agility,” because tech skills in demand today are going to be obsolete tomorrow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a person will “pivot” every 4.6 years (every 3 years if you’re a millennial). Besides learning new skills, the entrepreneurial attributes of imagination, initiative, and guts are what make those pivots possible.
The article closes with a list of rules collated from three dozen venture capitalists, recruiting specialists, and successful workers to help get yourself launched.
The information in this article would be most beneficial to someone just entering the workforce, someone who’s burned out and looking for a career change, or someone who feels like they’re stagnating and wants to move up the corporate ladder at a more rapid rate.
This article applies to a couple different topics we’ve discussed in class. The most obvious is one of entrepreneurship and how certain types of people are more willing to face risk in order to build the business of which they dream. This article discusses how some of those same attributes can be used when people are looking to become employees, and not just trying to build their own business.
Secondly, one of the things we’ve talked about in class is the changing workforce. This article talks about globalization, technology, and a long recession as reasons that old-fashioned employment has been disrupted. Job-seekers acting like entrepreneurs may be the best way for the unemployed to find a job these days.
One question the article left unanswered for me is whether a plan like this would works for most people, given that not everyone has the “spark” that a real entrepreneur needs. And while the article focuses on people in the corporate world, I wonder if the same techniques — “adapt to the future” and “invest in yourself” — would work just as well for blue-collar workers who are unemployed?
Bibliography: Fry, Erika (2014, December 29) How to Approach Your Own Career Like an Entrepreneur, Fortune, http://for.tn/1x4Nek5