I realise that my last blog mentioned the online business-networking tool LinkedIn, so I wouldn’t want to keep mentioning it in every blog, but I recently saw a great article featuring Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, giving his own advice on building a career.
Hoffman was also behind the online payment service PayPal and so he is a great example of an entrepreneur who has created successful businesses – and also failed – and now has some wise words on what work looks like in the modern world.
One of his key points is that individuals need to behave more like entrepreneurs. Even a person in a safe and steady job may find that their world is shaken when the entire industry is shaken apart. How will the academic world adjust in future to the growth of online education? Maybe it doesn’t feel like a threat today, but then Kodak probably thought the same about digital photography.
Hoffman makes the point that twenty years of experience in a job might actually be a single year of experience – or knowledge – repeated another nineteen times. Even if you have a regular job with a salary, you can still be learning and investing in your career and planning for a future that is likely to change.
The Internet has created a robust global delivery mechanism. A reality now exists where for anyone in a professional job that requires mostly intellectual activities – for example you deliver most of your work online or as documents rather than physically lifting, carrying, or crafting something – you are in competition for your job with millions of people.
That sounds scary, but do you think that this global network of work can create as many opportunities as threats?
Photo by Paul N licensed under Creative Commons