Opportunity

You ended up grabbing the first thing that came along because you needed to pay the rent and eat. The job didn’t turn out they way you thought it should. And at the end of a few years, you ask, “Is this all there is until retirement?”

Careers can be a roller coaster. Jobs come and go.

I want to share an excerpt from one of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, from his book, Graceful. It will give you some thoughts and inspiration to ponder about your job life and career.

What changed?

We grew up with the factory. Not simply the smelly, smoke-belching aluminum refinery in town. No, I’m talking about the insurance agent down the street, the accounting firm in New York and the bank in the skyscraper downtown.

These are factories because they do what all factories do: they create what they created yesterday, but faster and cheaper. Factories are about predictable scalability, about scarcity, and most of all, about compliance.

A factory demands a compliant workforce in order to succeed. And so we’ve organized around this idea of compliance in all things—in school, in the foods we eat, in the way we respond to marketing.

And it’s a dead end.

The factory is a dead end and so is compliance. More obedience will not make us better. That’s why graceful is in such demand.

Businesses that are based on conformity and compliance are having trouble achieving their growth targets. Politicians that depend on wholesale acceptance of the status quo are finding it difficult to get re-elected. Non-profits that count on the same donors to contribute in the same way are struggling as well.

At the same time, we’re seeing an explosion in new approaches, new models and new forms of interaction. This growth comes from change, insight and exploration, not obedience.

The land of opportunity

You might look at change as a threat.

After all, change might cost you your job, or that promotion, or that account. Change might lead to a flight getting cancelled or an assembly line in the factory shutting down.

If you live in a world of the status quo, the factory world, the world where the goal is to do what you did yesterday, but cheaper and faster and more reliably, then yes, change is a threat.

But change is here.

The choice: You can hide and insulate, or you can rejigger and reinvent your day so that change is actually an opportunity.

The revolution of the connected world is the biggest revolution since Henry Ford. It is changing the way every idea is handled, every product is created, every person interacts. It’s not going to be willing to make a detour around your gig, it’s not going to be interested in giving you a permanent sinecure. No, the revolution doesn’t care.

Hence the opportunity.

Andy Gadiel turned his love for the band Phish into a thriving online community called Jambase, bringing more music to more people than most record labels ever will. His community is filled with tens of thousands of fans who contribute, without pay, to make the site work.

Less than two years ago (!), Andrew Mason launched Groupon, a company built on principles that were impossible to take seriously just twenty years ago. It’s already doing more than a billion dollars a year in sales by connecting strangers, city by city, and turning them into powerful buying organizations.

Andy Gadiel turned his love for the band Phish into a thriving online community called Jambase, bringing more music to more people than most record labels ever will. His community is filled with tens of thousands of fans who contribute, without pay, to make the site work.

Susan Piver, a New York Times bestselling author of books on spirituality can now engage with readers and students around the world, with more frequency and impact than she could ever accomplish using simply a book. By connecting with people in person and online, she can organize and lead a community to a place it wants to go.

Amanda Rose, working with no paid staff, only volunteers, has organized hundreds of thousands of people through her Twestivals. Amanda made it possible for anonymous online strangers to discover each other in person. In addition to the huge energy and creativity that results from these face to face gatherings, she’s raised more than a million dollars for charities around the world.

The bits and the modems and the fiber cables aren’t the point. Humans want to connect and we’ll always find a better and deeper way to do it if we can.

The goal is not a cheaper factory or a more compliant workforce. The goal is better connections, connections that work.

Graceful is available as a Kindle or Nook (e-boo) download for only $2.99

Excerpt from: Godin, Seth (2010-10-13). Graceful (Kindle Locations 200-240). New Word City, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Royalty-free image by “Local Guy” in Australia. Retrieved from: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1443284