Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

Forget the Parachute, Let Me Fly the Plane

I got an email from Jason Alba recently talking about the recent layoffs at Jobster. I haven't blogged on it because it's a non-event to me in a lot of ways - a lot of people get laid off from a lot of companies, and while this one's an interesting story, I've been a little busy. (More on that later in this post)

More importantly, Jason was talking about the lack of personal branding of those who got laid off. From the post:

"I’m amazed to not see more blogs. Actually, I was amazed that so many (past) employees of a web 2.0 company that has a very active CEO blogger haven’t done much to substantiate their personal branding online. Before I went through the 40 profiles I thought I’d have a TON of reading to do, going over each of their blogs. But I guess the reality is that too many people are spending all of their time on their job and no time on their career management." (Emphasis in the original)

This is an incredible point - too many of us spend a lot of time focusing on our jobs and very little time working on building a career that aligns with who we are and who we want to be.

In Jason's email, he said: "I think there is a Part II to this story, and if it fits in your blog I’d love to see YOUR idea of what Part II would be. Could it be that no one is doing personal brand management? Could it be that this doesn’t matter? Or is there plenty of room to really make an impact?"

Jason is right - there's a part II to the story. We're in a changing world. The statistics show that jobs are no longer what they once were. In a 48 Days podcast, Dan Miller quoted the statistic that by 2008, less than half of us will be employeed as traditional "employees". I happen to think that's a little aggressive, but the jobster layoffs are just a sign of the times: he way that we have been used to working is changing.

Because of that, we have to adapt to a new model of getting and keeping jobs. It's no longer about blasting out your resume and getting whatever job someone wants to give you - that only ensures that you get a job that doesn't fit. It's like sending out a million orders to clothing stores to "send you something", and hope that they send you something that fits.

All of the new rules suggest that it's time to stop worrying about what color your parachute is, and start thinking about how to fly the plane that is your life and your career to the destination of your choosing. That is how we make a real impact in our careers in these new times.

In early February, I'll be releasing my first book on exactly that topic. The book is called: Forget the Parachute, Let Me Fly the Plane.

In the next few days, I'll be announcing a way that you can get a sneak peak at the first chapter. Stay tuned here and at ForgetTheParachute.com.

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray