I often feel as though I am not qualified enough to discuss certain topics, write certain words, draw certain drawings, read certain books, go certain places, reach out to certain people; every area of life contains people more “qualified” than I. Thinking about why I feel this way, I’ve come to realize that it’s incredibly self destructive and it needs to stop. It is the only way for me to grow and increase my knowledge, discover new areas of life. The worst thing that I, or anyone, could possibly do is hesitate to seize an opportunity because of the fear of their credentials. They mean absolutely nothing.
Credentials exist as a type of “security” check for employers. They want to know you can perform under academic circumstances, adhere to commands and overall contribute something positive to the work environment. Credentials have become all these things. However, they are not the only means of acquiring the skills needed to perform in the modern environment of the workforce.
Employers needed a way to know that the people they were hiring were qualified. Not in the sense that they went to a prestigious school and acquired a degree but they are capable of performing the job required with efficiency and success. They know what is required of them and they do it. After reading this post by Tim Ferriss: https://bit.ly/2s5TX4h I realized how much our job market is changing. The post was written in 2011. However, every day that has passed since its creation has made it more relevant. For those of you uninterested in reading the entire post I’ve picked out some of the parts that really stuck out to me;
“If you do some Googling on the informal job market, you’ll learn something shocking: according to various estimates (on CNN, CBS, MSNBC, and NPR) somewhere around 80% of jobs get filled informally. In other words, only 20% of jobs get filled through people responding to job ads (the primary method of job seeking most people do).”
The stats may have changed. However, what must be understood is that there are many more jobs available through informal means. Word of mouth and relationships;
“In the formal job market, there’s no easy way for employers to rapidly assess all of those traits without some kind of objective screening tool. Educational attainment has become that screening tool.”
The value within a degree comes from the skills and relationships you attain with them. In today’s modern age, there are many more ways to fulfill these requirements;
Outlined within the post are 8 steps to achieving any career that does not require formal credentials. As long as you aren’t planning on being an accountant, doctor, or lawyer, you are capable of getting a job in any field of your choice;
In order to fulfill the 8 steps you must not have any job at the moment, this means you have your entire week available to you. This allows for a blank slate when creating your own schedule.
“It’s easier to hack job credentials in programming, design, writing, sales, photography, multimedia, the arts, and entrepreneurialism, or in general “I need a job, any job!” type situations, than in accounting, law, or medicine.”
After picking a field you would like to work in, showcase what you would like to learn. This step requires you to create a blog and write one post per week on the field you have chosen to learn in. This step appealed to me a lot considering it is what I am trying to do currently, although in a less direct way. By showcasing what you are learning, Ellsberg (the writer of the post) numbers what you accomplish by completing this step:
- You get the education of reading practical books related to your field.
- You demonstrate to potential clients/employers that you understand content related to your chosen field.
- You demonstrate your willingness and curiosity to continue upgrading your knowledge in your chosen field.
- You demonstrate your researching ability.
- You demonstrate your writing ability.
- You demonstrate your critical thinking ability.
- You demonstrate your creativity.
- Through your writing, you develop and demonstrate your unique professional personality and character, setting you apart from the zillions of faceless resumes.
- You develop and demonstrate your social media skills.
- You begin developing your professional brand, not as a job-seeker in your field, but as a thought leader in your field
The benefits are exponential. The more you showcase, the more you create a valuable resource for your self-employment.
Ultimately, it comes down to having the willingness to sacrifice certain things temporarily in order to achieve a greater result in the long term, and also networking, ridiculous amounts of networking. Having the skill to pause the pleasure in our lives is incredibly underrated in today’s instantly-gratifying society.
From a broader perspective, I want to do something I love. I also want others to love it. I also want it to bring meaning and provocative thoughts into the lives of others. Sometimes I think this is too much to ask of myself. I also remind myself that nothing important was ever created easily. I would much rather spend a longer time figuring out what I am best at, mastering it and repeating the process than immediately settling for my first option. Settling never gets you anywhere. Neither does complaining.