This past week’s business news was littered with the recent jobs report clocking in at a record 6 Million open positions across the US. The debates around job training were loud across news outlets. In the comments below is a link to a great interview with LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner on the subject. Supporting talented people in finding jobs they enjoy is one of my passions so I am paying close attention to this conversation.
I am reminded of being on a business trip several years ago with 2 worried work colleagues. Jane’s daughter was feverishly doing every prep course and researching every trick necessary to get into the Ivy League school of her dreams. Jane was even considering sending her daughter to a boarding school several states away to increase her chances of being accepted. Bill was also deeply troubled as his son was a college senior and beginning to send resumes for his post-graduate job. Bill was listing off every negative statistic and reciting the doom rhetoric that millennials have faced since they started graduating high school. I chimed in from the backseat being the overly optimistic budding coach and mentor saying something to the affect that hustling a little is all that matters. My only intention was to ease the minds of these normally even keeled executive geniuses. What happened next was me receiving a firm lecture in concert of nightmare statistics filled with passion, fire, and desperate fear. I did as I always do when parents become passionate about their children….kept my mouth firmly shut….but I’ve never forgotten this conversation.
My strong desire is to help parents and students ease this fear. I know it is wildly competitive but I believe that we can’t make wrong decisions around education and careers. Experience grows on top of experience and the right opportunities always find us. And you can always change your mind. It just will take hustling a little.
Here’s an attempt to show that a hustling mindset can help:
1. Ignore the Newsfeed. I naively adopted the idea that it didn’t matter what my degree was in, it only mattered that I had a degree. Not sure where I heard that but I latched on to that positive mantra and believed, really believed it. We can wallow in positive statistics as easily as we can hang out in the doom.
2. It was true, the degree didn’t matter. Sara’s History degree got her a job managing 6 figure fundraisers for a non-profit. Tim’s Economics degree led him to being a highly-specialized transportation executive. Angie’s 4.0 finance degree didn’t land her the bank job she expected. She ended up in fashion and traveling all over the world. These friends took jobs at the bottom with good companies, grew their knowledge and experience, and they hustled into careers they really enjoy.
3. You Don’t Know What’s Out There Until You Get Out There. One of my favorite parts of being a coach is hearing about all the cool and different jobs people have. This media discussion around job training is interesting to me since new types of jobs are popping up with new technology every day. These jobs are created before any training program could be. Companies still value good people and understand that they need to train. The good people in fact will help define the new jobs. It’s actually very exciting when you think about it. I might even argue that good communication, a desire to learn and be a part of something new and hustling a little is all the training you need.
4. Staying Open. I’ve had the best jobs but I didn’t always think so. My first post college job was selling industrial packaged food ingredients. I had in my head that it wasn’t very glamorous and I compared myself to everyone. Then the Dairy Traders began to mentor me. I stayed open to that gift of mentorship and it opened the door for me to gain a highly specialized on the job training that led me to a great career in commodities, global travel, and a knowledge base for life. In fact, I occasionally still consult on projects for the food industry.
5. It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know. This never changes. Your network of people, your parents’ networks of people, and the guy you meant on the Metra yesterday all lead to career opportunities. It is why LinkedIn has become an essential tool in today’s career management. The best way to know the right people is simply hustling a little.
How has hustling a little helped you in your career and business? What would you say to your college self now? What would you do different? Share your thoughts in the comments.