Brand You

I’ve been re-reading Tom Peters’ The Brand You 50, a book I agree with more every time I read it. His basic premise is that 90% of white collar jobs will be annihilated or completely redefined in the next ten years. I’ve quoted that to a few people, and the reaction has always been the same: sage nods in agreement. But what are they actually doing about it? Nothing.

Peters aims to change that with Brand You 50, by laying out a lot of practical advice. His idea: See yourself as a one-person company who contracts out to other companies temporarily (where “temporarily” may be five years). And, more importantly, set yourself up like a one-person company. Are you advertising yourself? If you do a short paying job for a friend, can you print up an invoice that feels like it came from you?

I’ve been working on this, off-and-on, for a while. I spent today revamping my personal invoice template. I rewrote the main page of this site into a catalog of my various sites and subsites, and added a brief self-description. Because this is important. Because I may get my next job through this site.

If there was one thing you could do to make yourself more like a brand, what would it be?


Brennen Highly unpalatable.
Stephen “His basic premise is that 90% of white collar jobs will be annihilated or completely redefined in the next ten years.”

I find that extremely unlikely. “Dow 36,000” unlikely.

I don’t want to be a brand. I’d rather go blue collar.

Brennen I don’t know about the next 10 years, but I do have the sense that things are changing pretty drastically. Job security, benefits, and traditional retirement all feel like they’ve been going away for a while now.

I think blue collar work has a tendency to suck so hard that it makes you think seriously about how cool it’d be to sit at a desk tweaking spreadsheets all day long.

That said, I suppose it depends on what you mean by blue collar. I think the trades still offer a modicum of reliable work & decent pay — good pay, if you’re in the right field. And now that I think back on my last low-end job, I’d probably gladly go back to it if it didn’t mean 25% less pay and an hour’s commute…

Stephen It always depends on the job. I’d *never* go back to brokering mortgages; but I’d go back to my retail job if it paid more (true, that’s not exactly blue collar). I’ve had good days whenever I’ve done any construction, but who knows if that would last.

I could always be an electrician, or a mechanic.

But if it comes down to “branding” myself or working in the trenches. I’ll be one of the first to pick up a shovel.

But it’s all moot. I don’t think that the traditional white collar job is going out anytime; just think of all the salespeople, lawyers, marketing, librarians, etc. Unless the need for the jobs dries up, or significant pressures force change the status quo has inertia on its side. Even the great altering force of the Internet hasn’t really fundamentally changed corporate America.

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