In an earlier post I mentioned how all of us could benefit by acting more like entrepreneurs. For the first (and probably last) time in my life, I have found myself ahead of a new trend. Yesterday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman published an op-ed called “The Start-up of You” that contained the same core message as my post. Whereas I discussed how people who are creating something (e.g., authors, musicians) need to be more entrepreneurial, Friedman went a step further and said that everyone should be entrepreneurial because everyone has a product to offer: themselves.
Just like entrepreneurs create business plans for how they will create a successful business, all of us should have “business” plans for how we will create successful careers for ourselves. Just as the best entrepreneurs do not treat their plans as static – they continually revise and update them based on new knowledge and information – we should be doing the same with our career plans. We cannot expect employers take care of you professionally or personally. Job security is gone. Pensions are (mostly) gone. Even perks like tuition reimbursement are rapidly disappearing. The only way we will survive is if we take charge of our careers position ourselves as being valuable to our current employer and to make ourselves attractive to future employers.
How do you actually do this? The op-ed suggests leveraging your network to find out where the opportunities are and then building the skills that you need to take advantage of these opportunities. This is great advice. I would also recommend expanding your knowledge by learning and reading broadly and by seizing any opportunities that arise on the job to gain new skills. I’d love to hear your advice as well – how do you position yourselves to be attractive employees to your current employer and/or potential future employers?
Dr. Atul Teckchandani
CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor