I admit it, I'm Irrevocably Unemployable and Here's All the Reasons Why
If you are a pro side hustler or aspiring entrepreneur who is having a rough go at showing up to a job you don’t love everyday, I get it. I confess I originally wrote this article in rant like posture for just that reason. At the time my then manager and organization were REALLY working my nerves. I never got used to companies touting core values that made them attractive to the recruitment process but showing little commitment to leadership accountability. I was candid in my expectation the managers responsible for team building, engagement and development should be an accurate representation of the core values the company professes to exemplify. I don’t believe it was too much to ask for because it was the company who set the expectation.
Prior to writing this post I was unable to accurately sum up my inability to get comfortable solely working for someone else. I could never fully articulate my feelings about entrepreneurship or freelance work in a manner that was concise and to the point. That is until I came across Brian Clark’s Unemployable podcast. You see I'm an input and a learner type. I inhale so much information daily inclusive of podcasts that I can’t recall how I stumbled across Brian’s platform but oh boy when I did, the skies opened up and rays of sunshine beamed brightly all around.
As soon as I heard the term ‘unemployable’, a light bulb appeared over my head and I screamed (using my inside voice) THAT’S IT! HE GETS IT! I GET IT NOW! I’M UNEMPLOYABLE. That's the concept I've been searching for. It was such a simple yet impactful revelation. Being unemployable is a CONCEPT, a form of expression and not merely a word. I think you either get or you don’t understand.
I’m now inclined to believe either you are or you’re not unemployable even if you have actually tried or had to be employable for one reason or another as I did. It is counterintuitive and something you won't be able to ignore if you are truly unemployable.
Being unemployable nagged at me and even kept me awake some nights (ok EVERY night) when I was a unhappy employee because I was constantly looking for relief from my unfulfilled life. My unemployable reality preserved my quest for inspiration, information and self validation as I searched for that something to spark my calling and my strengths. The possibility of attaining a six figure salary via corporate America can't squash your desire for something more if you are a card carrying member of the unemployable tribe, whether you realize it or not. Being unemployable but unaware of it had me jotting down every creative note and idea waiting for inspiration to take my thoughts from idea to reality to entrepreneurial longevity.
Unemployability (it really is a word) is an itch I couldn't scratch as I didn’t know how to adequately convey the unrelenting voice in my head that kept telling me “I don’t know what I want but I know it’s not this”. My this I was referring to was an unfulfilling job on the well tread career path of working for someone else.
Consider this…what if being unemployable is the reason you keep trying to make the entrepreneur thing work until you get it right? Until you find the right service, product or idea along with the right business relationships that align with what you are good at or wish to do. That's my story. Being irrevocably unemployable made me stressfully unhappy at a job doing work that I didn't love because self-actualization should always trump settling for basic needs, safety and misinformed job security.
I knew self-actualization would more than take care of my basic needs but my basic needs would never fulfill my unyielding desire for self-actualization. As unemployables, my friend, we are distinctly different from the masses of employables which keeps our type striving and overcoming challenges. Unemployables don't accept what looks to be an easy out and settle for being a permanent employee when it is not what we want. What some who are employable may not understand is for the unemployable type, working for someone else on their terms, accepting their cultural norms and playing small is anything but easy. It’s extremely hard to do day in and day out because we are trying to convince ourselves to be something other than what we inherently are in my opinion. After 24 years of being on the job to entrepreneur to job and back to entrepreneur for good carousel, I can assure you it is not easy to settle for less than you know yourself to be as life happens around you.
Here are 26 reasons I became convinced I was Unemployable:
26. I’m an outspoken advocate for the underdog or the unheard (those who don’t take up for themselves or use their voice). I have a voice and I use it respectfully but candidly. I’m outspoken;
25. My entrepreneur quest is my priority;
24. Freedom and fulfillment – over office fkcuery, politics and ongoing frustration;
23. Burger King said it and I believe them. I can have it my way. I have a choice to be unemployable as long as I’m willing to do the work;
22. I’d rather work 60 hours a week for myself at any given time than to work 40 hours or overtime to build someone else’s dream;
21. I’m not interested in climbing the corporate ladder for a title or the six figure salary; The trade off is far too high;
20. I expect managers to have people skills. It amazes me how many managers are promoted via favoritism, relationships or for being great individual contributors yet lack leadership and people skills. Additionally some new managers are not being adequately groomed for leadership and/or have an ineffective manager themselves. As a student of leadership, it was hard for me to take a manager that lacks people and leadership skills seriously;
19. I expect leaders with titles, authority and power to lead and management accountability kept center stage. While this is a well validated expectation, it isn't necessarily the reality. Whatever verbiage is used as a competitive recruitment tool should be clearly evident in deed and actions;
18. I’m not motivated by overtime. My time to use how I like after a 40 hour work week is more valuable to me than a few extra after tax dollars. Trading dollars for hours doesn’t make sense to a working entrepreneur developing or running his or her own business;
17. Job security is a myth. Companies are always restructuring and rethinking its human capital strategy. You and I would not be included in that conversation. Employees at every level are expendable and anyone who doesn't believe it is dreaming;
16. An employer's estimation of what I am worth in terms of compensation will never equal what I believe my contribution and impact to be worth. Though I’m grateful for the jobs I’ve had along my journey, I know I can tap into unlimited income as an entrepreneur doing work i wish to do;
15. I'd rather work with people with similar values, goals and mindset yet I understandably have no control over this as an employee;
14. I expect to be valued and respected as a person beyond my role;
13. I expect managers to be courageous and cultivate a healthy organizational culture disallowing toxic individuals from eroding team morale. I've been in a situation where one extremely rotten apple was allowed to get away with so many workplace infractions that the team stopped respecting and believing in our manager;
12. When my most impactful skills are not being tapped into I’m not happy. Spending over a 1/3 of my day at a job that doesn’t fulfill me is the epitome of insanity. Been there done that and I don't wish to go back;
11. I dislike status quo thinking. I’m a visionary strategic thinker which is a leadership and founder skill and not that of an individual contributor as a front line employee. I've always asked the tough high level questions that some individuals above me in the org chart believed was outside of my pay level;
10. Just to say I have a job working to pay the bills is not enough. I MUST create meaningful challenging work. Dumbing myself down as a norm is unacceptable for me yet I've returned to a job on multiple occasions because I believed I had to at the time. Each time I regretted it in the long run.
9. I’m a natural born leader that advocates for myself and others which frustrates the hell out of non-leaders and managers with titles. I can’t see something yet say and do nothing regarding process inefficiencies, toxic employees, employee engagement, organization big talk and small
8. I'm not intimidated by titles. I can respect the position but not the person if the person doesn't lead or do his or her job fully. I don’t accept that
managers and leaders of an organization don’t have to be students and practitioners of leadership;
7. I don’t fit in a box and never will. No one can define me without my permission or input;
6. I’m a happy giver. I want to add value, create impact and contribute at my highest potential. There are no guarantees I will get to do this to my satisfaction working for someone else. Many times managers value task concerns much higher than the relational aspect of individual team member coaching and development;
5. I owe it to those I’m meant to connect with, collaborate with and influence to do and be what I was designed to be and that is not an employee;
4. Employees that exemplify courage and candor are rarely a breath of fresh air but more likely a headache to closed minded managers and founders;
3. I can’t settle for less from my life. it has to be my life, my work on my terms;
2. Life is too short to play small and not be true to myself;
1. Because I know who I am.
If you are unemployable, like myself and many many others, against all odds you have to build the right platform and make it work. For me, a traditional job is no longer an option...if it ever was.
Peace & Blessings,