The difference between a "job" and "work"

In today's economy, jobs are getting scarcer, especially in certain lines of work. Journalism is a good example. As newspapers and magazines downsize -- or even close down, in some cases -- there will inevitably be a shrinkage in the number of journalism positions available. That doesn't, however, mean that there is a decrease in demand for journalistic work. Nowadays even corporations want to engage journalists to do content marketing work.

So, there is a big difference between a "job" and "work". Diane Mulcahey articulates this superbly in this Harvard Business Review article. Here are the salient points in her essay:

When the students in the MBA course I teach on the gig economy ask me for the best thing they can do to prepare for their future careers, I tell them: “Stop looking for a job.”

The best preparation I can offer students is to help them cultivate the mindset, skills, and toolkit to succeed in this new world of independent work.

The advice I give my students is to look for plentiful work, not increasingly scarce jobs.

The best strategy my students can follow is to prepare themselves to be independent workers, not full-time employees.

My students have a better chance of creating an engaging and satisfying work life if they focus on getting great work instead of a good job.


Good advice for taxis

Land Public Transport Commission's CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah has some good advice for taxi companies who are complaining about competition from Uber:

“Change is never easy. This is a global issue. Every taxi company in the world is not happy about it. New York’s taxis are considered the best, but they are feeling the heat too since Uber’s debut. My advice to them is stop complaining, evolve and change your business model. The world is changing and you have to find ways to attract your drivers to stay on and continue to be part of the system."

He goes on to say:

“No one is stopping you from being creative and innovative... You are running a business, so stop complaining and start innovating."


Book I'm reading: Pivot

My uncle had one job for life. My job had a job almost for life. But these days, having a "steady" job is the least steady option. Be ready for change... all the time. Otherwise, you will be shortchanged.

Pivot is a book I stumbled upon. And here's the synopsis:

Careers are not linear, predictable ladders any longer; they are fluid trajectories. No matter our age, life stage, bank account balance, or seniority, we are all being asked to navigate career changes much more frequently than in years past.

The average employee tenure in America is just four to five years, and even those roles change dramatically within that time. Our economy now demands that we create businesses and careers based on creativity, growth, and impact. In this dynamic world of work, the only move that matters is your next one.

And this is its author, Jenny Blake's, advice in a nutshell:

  • Double-down on existing strengths, interests, and experiences
  • Find new opportunities and identify skills to develop without falling prey to analysis-paralysis and compare-and-despair
  • Run small experiments to determine next steps
  • Take smart risks to launch with confidence in a new direction

A joy to work with...

For as long as I can remember, I've worked with writers. That's because even in my very first job, which was in publishing, I was already an editor (despite being very fresh and junior). So, I had to work with authors and ghostwriters. Later, I became a journalist and very quickly rose through the ranks to become a section editor despite again, being very young at the time. So, I had to oversee reporters, young and not-so-young.

There are not many good writers around. Some are ok and some are really less than ok. Very few are very good. Occasionally you come across some who are exceptionally good. When you work with such people, you really get motivated and inspired.

Over the past five years, I've worked with lots of authors who are subject specialists and not necessarily writers. They can produce good books because they are experts in their fields and with a little help, their knowledge can be captured and presented in the form of a book. It's important to have experts share their knowhow otherwise it will get lost to history.

Now that I'm leaving that work behind, I no longer have to focus on producing books by subject experts only (I reckon I'll still be doing that in some capacity but it won't be my primary pre-occupation anymore). I can be selective about who I want to work with and look out for really talented writers, artists, etc... whom I would love to collaborate with on various projects.

In just this past week alone I've gotten to know some new people who are really good at what they do, be it drawing or writing. I will be thrilled to work with them. I can't wait to see what we can create together.


Compatible working styles

When you collaborate with someone, you need to make sure that your working style and theirs are compatible. Clashes in style can lead to a lot of headaches.

For example, some people are the kinds who take their time to respond to messages and will do so as and when they like. Others like to respond immediately. That's a clash of styles.

Some like to discuss matters in person and prefer long meetings. Others prefer to chat via electronic means and like to keep the sessions short. Again, big clash in style.

Some like to stick the game plan and not get sidetracked, even by good ideas. Others view the project as a work-in-progress in every respect. That means anything can change and should change, if it's for the better. Yet another example of clashes in style.

We can change the way others work. And it may not make much sense for us to change our way of working to match others'. So the best is to assess and vet your prospective collaborators or partners-in-crime and make sure the working style does not clash. Otherwise get a bottle of Panadol ready.