Executives and business leaders don’t just fall out of the sky into cushy corner-office chairs. Most start with nothing, work their way up from the bottom, and work their tails off for decades to get to where they are. And most had to do some pretty menial work along the way.
I’ve been a foot messenger in midtown Manhattan, a butcher-shop cleaner, a lawn mower, a babysitter, a bank clerk, and a vault attendant. There were others but they were so miserable I blocked them out. They were all minimum-wage jobs and that last one was part time after I spent four years getting a B.S. in physics. It was all I could find during a bad recession.
If you can’t find a good job, I have some ideas for you to try. And get this. I didn’t just try one or two of them. Nope. I tried each and every one to get to where I am today.
Show me a successful executive or business leader and I’ll show you someone who’s worked jobs that felt demeaning. It’s always a humbling experience, but you know what? It builds character, work ethic, and tenacity.
Learn to write.
I’m appalled by our culture’s deteriorating writing skills. Sixth graders write better than many of you do. Let me tell you something. I wouldn’t give a decent job to anyone who can’t put together a well-written resume. As for social-media profiles and comments, it’s all searchable. If it doesn’t reflect well on you, don’t do it.
Take a risk.
I recently wrote about an entrepreneur who invented traps that killed troublesome bugs without harming beneficial insects and the environment. This preceded the green movement by many years, but he stuck with it and today his RESCUE! brand of reusable yellow jacket traps is the standard, worldwide.
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Many, if not most, of those who reach out to me because they can’t seem to find work live in places with no jobs. That makes no sense. I’ve always gone where the work is. I’ve even commuted halfway across the country every week for more than a year for a job. Go where the work is. Period.
Don’t make things easy on yourself.
The best thing about being miserable because you hate your work and your situation is that you’re miserable because you hate your work and your situation. That will motivate you to do whatever it takes to find something better … and you will. Safety nets and comfort zones are motivation killers.
Go back to school.
If I say that most of you have useless degrees, I’m not being critical. My B.S. in physics was useless, too … until I used it to obtain an M.S. in electrical engineering just before the 80s semiconductor boom. Do yourself a favor and do a little research on hot industries and careers. Find something that interests you and go for it.
I’ve been telling people to get into the tech industry for decades. Now software is eating the world and technology is disrupting age-old industries like food delivery and car service. It certainly saved my butt once upon a time and it’s only becoming more and more in demand.
I'm sure there are plenty more ideas you can try but that’s not the point. The point is that, when I tried all these methods, there was no Internet and there were not blogs. I figured them out. You can do the same thing. Use your head. But whatever you do, don’t be a victim. Entitled slackers get exactly what they deserve. Nothing.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
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