They’re hard to get. It seems like a law of life that when you’re looking for a job, jobs are not looking for you.
“We just filled that position last week”
“There’s a chance in 6 months we’ll need someone with your skill set. Let’s be in touch!”
“I’m afraid you’re overqualified for that role, but under-qualified for the other. Bummer”
And on, and on it goes. Incredibly discouraging.
What’s the deal?
Obviously, there’s no one answer. The job market is incredibly complex. However, there’s a complex sounding, but surprisingly simple economic concept that describes this situation — Market Liquidity.
Market Liquidity — An asset’s liquidity describes the asset’s ability to sell quickly without having to reduce its price to a significant degree.
The stock market is typically highly liquid, i.e. it’s very easy to sell. If you own stock you can sell it in seconds.
The labor/job market is much less liquid. To sell my services to a company might take weeks, months, or even years of work.
There are so many more steps to getting hired than selling stock. This is because there are many more people in the world than there are public companies. It’s much harder to know a person than it is to know a stock.
To get hired I need to:
- Establish trust with the management of the company
- Find a niche in the company that I can fill
- Run whatever gauntlet the organization sets for new recruits
- Show my value to the company in such a way that they’ll give me what I’m worth
Problem or Opportunity
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein
This Market Illiquidity results in huge inefficiencies.
- Unemployment — Legions of folks whose skills are underutilized, as they don’t have work.
- Underemployment — Additional legions who don’t have work in their fields.
- Unmet needs — Organizations and individuals who need something done, but not badly enough to hire someone — at least not right now.
All of this creates huge opportunities for the risk takers, the innovators, the individuals willing to create their own work.
All of this creates huge opportunities for the risk takers, theinnovators, the individuals willing to create their own work.
Creating your own work is hard, but the reward can be huge in at least three ways:
Creating your own work keeps you sharp
Even if creating your own work is just writing on Medium & LinkedIn, creating on Slideshare, or doing mini-jobs on Fiverr it helps keep you sharp, engaged, and creative. It gives you a way to provide value to the world, even if you don’t have a “job” and keep your skills sharp.
Creating your own work gives flexibility
Huge flexibility is unlocked when you can find a way to get paid for what you do without a day job. If you can find a liquid market, a place you can actually connect with buyers who want what you have, that’s money! It might be easier then you think.
Even if you can get paid a little bit, it makes it easier to turn down that job that isn’t really what you want.
Uber, TaskRabbit, Fiverr, Thumbtack, Gigster and other Gig Economy markets are giving lots of folks who are either unemployed or underemployed options to work. These services create highly liquid markets for specific tasks — giving rides, cleaning, delivering, etc. — and you can leverage them to fund your job search.
Creating your own work can give you a promotion
Want that next promotion?
Give it to yourself in your free time.
No one would have put Mark Zuckerberg in charge of a ice cream stand, let alone a billion dollar company in 2004. He didn’t ask permission. He just did it.
“Permissionlessness” is incredible
What’s the best thing about Medium, LinkedIn, ThumbTack, Uber, SquareSpace, etc.?
You don’t have to ask a boss, a manager, a committee, or really anyone to get started!
Just get started.
The resistance we feel, the fear of failure or of something worse, is real. It feels like there’s a lion waiting for us to make a move. Waiting for us to move toward action. But that lion is almost certainly just resistance. Just laziness.
Ignore it. Sign up. Write something. Create something.
Do a job — even if it’s just driving for Uber or delivering for Fiverr.
Learn something. Stay sharp. Provide value.
Prove that that lion of resistance is just a figment of your imagination.