Career invincibility

by Daryl Capuano

Michael Jordan could create his own shot at any time.  Reggie Miller, among the greatest pure shooters in NBA history, could not.  As great as he was, Miller needed teammates to set picks and pass to him when he was positioned to shoot.  Jordan needed no help to figure out how to score.  That’s why Jordan was invincible and Miller was not. The new world of work is similar.  I tell our career counseling clients that if they can attract clients and/or employers, then they are invincible.

If you are constantly in the position of hoping that clients/employers will find you attractive, you are not invincible.  I’m sure applying to another black hole job opening on will illustrate this point.

One of our recent career counseling clients, “Bennett”, worked within a mid-size marketing firm.  He liked his work but he came to us feeling over-worked and underpaid.  Professional service firms have a “finder, minder, grinder” framework.  The “finders” are the rain-maker partners who bring in the clients; the “minders” are the service partners who oversee the actual work; and the “grinders” are the ones who do the actual work.  Bennett was a grinder.  Fortunately, in his firm, the finders-minders dichotomy was merged.  So, he was really a step away from getting his own clients.

We discussed ways that he could develop his client base.  He could write articles; speak at conferences; and attend networking events. Initially, he pushed back: “how will I find the time?”  What will you do instead? I asked. “the same thing you have been doing over and over and expect a different result?” (a quote usually attributed to Einstein. But, he probably didn’t say it.   You get a lot a credit when you are famous!)  Bennett understood.  This was the time for him to build his client base because otherwise his work life would remain the same.

The ability to create your own work will also change the way you view your career path.  If you figure out how to brand yourself, create a value proposition that employers find attractive, and have the capacity to get clients/potential employers through your own efforts, you will flip the power basis for career creation.   You are choosing your employers/clients.  That fact will make all the difference as you build your career.