Here is part two of our guest blogger Jay Jordan, a Marketing senior here at EMU. This is the second in his three part special on turning academic success at college into career success in the field. This week: how to build job security by creating value in an ever changing market place.
For security, create value: bring understanding to a complex world
“Success is uncommon, therefore not to be enjoyed by the common man.” Any old Joe can enjoy the fruits of others labor, but to truly make something new and insightful, there is a lot of complexity out there to get a handle on. And if you can be the one to help make complexity simpler, others will be grateful for you.
When it comes down to it, people want meaning. Culture is an attempt to make meaning of the world, and for a company venturing out into the complex world of culture, not even a CEO knows everything about reaching out to customers. If you want to be understood, you have to understand the sheer complexities of individuals and how they behave. That is why we study the basic core curricula for each of our majors, but also as fundamental citizens we also take general education courses. Sure, you could take underwater basket weaving, but why not stretch your knowledge with a course in the social sciences? Sometimes the most fun general education requirements won’t be the most helpful in understanding others.
Working up close and personal with other people is how this sense of understanding is made clear, and how ideas are generated. This is something that globalization will never take away.
Bringing understanding to a situation can be as complex as a senior manager facilitating a merger of multiple international corporations, or as simple as a waiter who must speak directly with a diner to understand what she would want to eat. The Internet can help some of this communication, but the majority of these interactions will take place in person, so it is vital to understand how to communicate. Many people will tell you communication is a big part of any job, and it is the essence of many jobs today.
So what does “communication” really mean then? Communication is about revealing blind spots, and presenting opportunities. Don’t settle for a job that simply hands you tasks to be executed. That’s the difference of what jobs are being exported and what jobs will be available in America. The traditional idea of management is to reduce the complexity of all tasks, so that they can be done more efficiently. To be perfectly clear; if you aren’t the one who regularly figures out how to make things better, someone else will do it for you, and they’ll be rewarded for it. And your job will become more of a drone. (“Burger flipping”)
Building your skillset: you’ll need tools.
The tools will be your channel for sculpting your meaning into the world. For a lawyer, this could be a formal process of learning how to ratify a bill into a law, or what laws apply to a certain case on a court docket and the legal terms needed to define the problem. For a lawn care provider, it could be knowing how to mow lawns with straight lines or how to shape a hedge, or what fertilizers work best. No matter the job, you will give input, and either an object or a machine will help you produce output. If you are still unsure of what to study and are un-declared, many tools nowadays can be translated onto online counterparts, so learning some basics of how the internet works and the basic languages and protocols could be useful. Also, in our media-saturated culture, some knowledge of social media, video technology, and music can go a long way.
Not only that, but now by simply working with other people, our work is becoming more integrated with our lifestyles. The more you can include yourself into the broader conversation of society, the easier it is to connect and relate with others, and know how to deliver your understanding of the world by interfacing with where they are.
Whatever culture you seek to participate in, learn how people make it. If you want to direct movies or plays, learn what software screenwriters use and what the stage directions mean.
It will feel hard to persist in learning these different things, when there will be many students around you that are learning different things. However, with the Internet, we can begin talking with and engaging professionals from around the world, through resources like YouTube, forums, and even Twitter. If nothing else, make an effort to find classmates in your program that share similar interests, or find a professor that is familiar with your particular interest in culture and develop a relationship with them. You will spend four years with over 20,000 people, there is plenty to learn and get started with before graduation.
Jay Jordan is a super-senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, studying Marketing with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys drums of all kinds, and in his spare time enjoys catching up on classic books. His dream is to start a local business that provides spaces for individuals to learn and grow.
Make sure to check back next week for part 3 of 3 where Jay will discuss some specific tips to help you achieve your goals.