No career at all

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

During the lockdown, our online sales skyrocketed because the only way people can get to buy stuff is to order online. Many young people undertook entrepreneurial ventures. These were the times of baked sushi, gourmet cookies, burnt cheesecakes, and restaurant chefs cooking meals and delivering them to homes. Many have quit their jobs and figured that their dream of becoming entrepreneurs was a reality. And then the economy opened; e-commerce was more robust during the height of the pandemic years. Many young entrepreneurs also discovered that their products are not selling as well as they did during the pandemic’s height so many have folded their businesses and gone back to employment. Change happens fast, and we need to understand the change dynamics to make the right decisions.

The world has never seen change happening so fast and at this magnitude. One noticeable change feature is the glut of data, information, technical developments, and emerging fast. Add to this the volume of new regulatory oversights or even the need for them in existing and emerging industries. It is almost impossible to stay current across the broad spectrum of tech-centric businesses and make projections and predictions. All these change complexities and challenges lead to many options and choices.

Many have discovered the difference between fantasy and reality. Take the case of the pandemic entrepreneur who, for a brief time, enjoyed a “moment” wherein they became a startup founder who has been liberated from corporate shackles and bureaucracies and is now working for themselves. They have found that while they do business in their homes, they may have been liberated from dealing with one “boss,” but they still have to deal with many “other bosses.” The “other bosses” are investors, customers, marketplace platforms, delivery logistics, and, do not forget – their employees as well. This is a hard reality that has hit many in the face because they have not mastered the level of understanding of the intricacies of entrepreneurship. Teachers, professors, parents, and motivational speakers have fueled their wrong teachings with new-age platitudes like: “You can do anything you want to do” or the more famous “You can be anyone you want to be as long as you have the passion for it.”

The gullible and impressionable young bring with them the thinking that they can always try and do different things until they hit their “passion” rather than hunkering down, committing, and mastering their job or craft. And so, these job butterflies never stay long in one place as they keep trying out different things in search of their “passion.”

The hard truth is that you can never have a career if you keep quitting your job because you cannot master one thing and make that thing a platform for long-term success. The mindset that there will always be something better for you a step away, serves you poorly whether you are an entrepreneur or a career person.

I am blessed because early in life, I learned from the legendary business philosopher Jim Rohn in one of those cassette tapes (don’t laugh now). I heard him say, “If you want to earn much, then you have to be good at your job. To earn more, you need to be excellent at your job. But if you want to earn a fortune, you must ensure you are the only one who can do what you do in your job.” And this is why I still focus on my craft today and want to make it even better.

If you are young, having many options and choices seems appealing and attractive. Still, the long-term cost of job jumping, being bored quickly, and wanting to try something new all the time, especially when the road becomes bumpy, will not be suitable for you in the long run. Meanwhile, your life slips away, you do not have the competence, and your know-how lacks the depth, experience, insights, and mastery that an open-source artificial intelligence platform can beat you anytime, hands down.

It would be best if you built a solid foundation while still young. Refrain from unwittingly making yourself less employable or unable to do business without mastery of the subject matter.

Be thoughtful. Be focused. Stick to something long enough to determine objectively whether the job or work is right for you as you would be right for them. Someone once said: “I know something about everything and everything about something, a jack of all trades and master of none.” He is probably unemployed today.

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