Today I will drive twenty six miles on backroads, through crisp autumn air, past dairy farms and old Citgo stations, and up a giant hill to my alma mater, Blue Ridge High School, here in rural Pennsylvania.
I’m speaking to a group of seniors. Hijacking their last class of the day as I hoist myself atop a desk and sit cross legged to tell them about my job. This job that no one gave me, but that I gave to myself—which is precisely my point.
I want them to know what’s possible. When I was in school, you pretty much just had the standard career options: doctor, lawyer, accountant, garbage woman. And you had to do everything by the book, according to the rules, in order to get there. But all of that has changed. The Internet has changed everything. You don’t have to “get” a job anymore. Now, you can create your own.
Too often we wait to be hired, we wait to be told we’re good enough to pass go, we wait until someone else gives us the chance. But in today’s economy, you can make your own chances. And the way you do that? Is by simply making an offer to help. If you’ve got a knack for creative writing, you make an offer to the world to write for them. If you’ve got a knack for public speaking, make an offer to the world to help others speak better. If you’ve got a knack for hair, get your ass online and start showing others how you roll—and make an offer to help them.
And not for anything, but while the Internet does make it easier? Traditional entrepreneurship is also SO GOOD. Our communities need entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the ones that breathe life and richness and commerce into a place. So many young people complain about their hometowns (been there); complain that there’s nothing there. But could you imagine? Imagine if even just a handful of people got together and decided to create? For example, right now there’s no bakery here in town. There’s no ice cream stand, anymore. There’s no co-working space. There’s certainly no radio show, or advertising studio, or web design company. We need you to create. We need you to give yourself the job.
That goes for you, too, wherever you are. If you can help another person do anything, you can have the job. There are no interviews, no bosses, and no schedule. But you have to be willing to show up.
The best thing I ever did for myself was just jumping in and starting. Because while everyone else is out there getting ready? You are getting better.
And, so is the world.