Every time I hear someone (by which I mean politicians) use the phrase “job creator” or “we need to create jobs so people can get back to work”, I want to reach through the media and give them a quick slap to the back of the head. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Seth Godin, or Clay Shirky, or Chris Guillebeau, or Hugh MacLeod, or …., but it seems to me it is this very emphasis on telling people that someone else needs to create a job for them that limits the possibilities.
Luckily, I’m not the only one that thinks that.
In a recent interview on CNBC, host of the TV show Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe was asked the question, “Are American workers afraid to get their hands dirty?” The implication being that there are plenty of jobs out there, but they are jobs that most Americans just don’t want to do. Instead of answering the question directly, Mike turned the question around a bit with this wonderful statement (that is sure to piss off more than a few people):
It’s not just about 10 million too few jobs, it’s about 10 million too many employees. Or too many people who think like employees.
He goes on to make the case for skills and knowledge of all kinds, and the willingness of Americans to do what is needed to make a living. He also gets in a plug for the mikeroweWORKS foundation, dedicated to “All aspects of skilled labor.” To see the full interview, go to ‘Dirty Jobs’ Host Mike Rowe on Jobs. (I would have embedded the full video, but couldn’t find the embed code on the CNBC site.)
The interview reminded me of something that fellow St. Louisan Dave Gray (author of the recently published The Connected Company) posted just under a year ago on Google+ discussing The difference between finding a job, and creating one.
Creating a job is what entrepreneurs do. They look for a need in the world; a job that needs doing; and they start doing it. Instead of looking for an employer, they look for customers.
In addition to talking about the obvious aspect of entrepreneurship in creating your own company, Dave also discusses at length how you can be entrepreneurial even if you do work for someone else. In fact, he says, if you can’t be entrepreneurial in your current job, it’s time to create a new one.