Everybody wants to be in charge, but everyone doesn’t possess the qualities of a good leader.
Throughout corporate America there are people in decision-making capacities with degrees in everything from anthropology to zoology. Unfortunately, some of them couldn’t define their own jobs, let alone those of the people who report to them. In this economy having a degree no longer guarantees you a job or a high rate of pay. It doesn’t necessary even guarantee you an opportunity to use your degree in an entry-level position. There are a lot of highly educated unemployed people and it has been this way longer than many people realize.
Workforce development no longer consists of training from the ground up. Often employers want people who already “know” how to do the work, but the truth is this: having that degree doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing if you haven’t had experience in that field. So much of what I’ve learned is a blessing to me that I don’t take for granted. I don’t have a degree. Not even an Associates and I’ve never been ashamed to tell anyone that. My professional experience over the last twenty years however, is more valuable than that of anyone’s MBA. And it was less expensive also. I recently returned to school to broaden my education in Cinematography so that I can have the basic knowledge that I feel is necessary for my film and television projects to be of superior quality. However, my business experience trumps that of many of my counterparts who have a degree.
One thing I’ve noticed is not only the changing landscape of the market but also the motivation behind many people’s desire to be the Boss. There are a lot of people who want to be the Boss, but they don’t want to put forth the work that is required. There are also a lot of people whose only motivation in being the Boss is to make the most money, but they don’t want to make any sacrifices or experience any bumps in the road to make that money. They want it to come easy. They want it given to them. No bootstrapping. No climbing the corporate ladder. Just F-You, Pay Me. Yet they aren’t qualified or deserving of being the Boss because they don’t know how to work and they aren’t capable of teaching someone else how to either.
The best thing anyone ever thought of was an internship. I remember my early years in corporate America and in a way, it was an internship. I didn’t have the experience, but someone in management saw the potential in me and helped me to learn more so that I could be a productive employee. Now, I’ll admit, my first job paid well above minimum wage, but I earned it. I worked hard, followed directions, asked the more experienced employees and management for help when I needed it. I was always on time for work, often skipped lunch (and I still do), rarely took sick days (even when I should have) and I was always one for showing initiative. I went on from that job to the next and the next and I’ve never had to earn less than $12 an hour in twenty years of employment. Not even when I was laid off briefly. And that’s without a degree… and I never worked in manufacturing or did manual labor either. Now, everyone wants to earn $20 an hour or be in management right out of college. Without any experience. In the process, the market has shifted from wanting more educated employees to wanting more experienced employees.
Why do people think they deserve higher wages with less experience?
Somewhere along the way, we taught this generation that education was all they needed, and many of them never developed a work ethic to go along with their degrees. They don’t know how to be punctual for an interview. They don’t think they need to have a resume or references. They don’t know how to communicate effectively; verbally or in writing. They don’t possess time management skills. They quit the second things get a little challenging. They don’t know how to commit to anything long-term. They don’t know how to problem solve. They honestly believe that having a degree is enough. Yet some of them even lack the basic elements of common sense. Hell, some of them won’t accept unpaid internships so they can gain experience or work towards a permanent job in their field of study. Instead they’d rather work a minimum wage job so that they can simply get a check.
How unmotivated have we become?
Always be smarter than the people who hire you. – Lena Horne
That’s what I was taught. And that doesn’t just mean book smart either. Bosses, with real leadership ability will hire those who possess knowledge in areas where the Boss is lacking. That’s what I attempt to do. I’m always looking for talented people who have skills that I don’t have, but know that I need. I figure it will free me to up to do other things that need to be done if I can train and pay someone else to do some of the things that I’m not able to get around to. Plus, it’s a lot less expensive than building a cloning device and has less potential side effects. However, finding the people with the drive, self motivation, talent and desire to learn in a fast-paced, real-time environment is proving to be somewhat challenging. And I’m not the only person who is seeking employees that is noticing this. People literally apply for a job or internship, then turn the opportunity down or quit the position using the most ridiculous excuses. Here’s what’s really funny: they think that quitting hurts the employer more than it hurts them. It doesn’t. The employer will keep moving forward because they are the ones with the opportunity to extend or take away whenever they choose to. Many Bosses know how to do a lot of things themselves; they just opt to hire others to lighten the load or as a gesture of humanity (to help their fellow-man). Business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t obligated to hire anyone. There isn’t a single law that says if a person starts a business that they are required to hire people. A person can easily start the company, do all the work themselves and keep any profits for themselves also. After all, they are assuming all of the business risks. As long as the business owner pays their taxes, no one in law enforcement or the government will confront them about not hiring people. In fact, it costs employers more time, energy, effort and money to hire people than it does not to.
Here’s the reality: The workforce needs people, but people need experience to get into the workforce.
Here’s the next reality: If you don’t work, you don’t eat.
We have to stop waiting, hoping and complaining about what other people won’t give us when we constantly turn down opportunities because we want instant gratification and money that we can’t prove we’re worthy of earning. That is a bad example that has now flowed into the generation to come behind us.
A real Boss is someone who is being optimistic and self sufficient, not someone who wants to be in charge or to just make a lot of money. A real Boss often worked their way up through their industry. That experience helped to groom them into the leader they are.