Months ago, a colleague of mine asked how it is I did what I did. At this point, I was really confused because I do A LOT of things from run GENUINES, to supervise, to sling coffees and now work for a large ecommerce platform. Needless to say, I had to dig deeper.
He then went on to saying that I didn’t have school for what I did. Yes, after graduating from one of the top business schools in Canada, I was still not qualified to make lattes apparently -_- so I pressed him further. He then asked if I was self-taught in design, web, and social media management. I responded: “more or less, they didn’t have a class for Instagram.”
He then asked if people would still work with me despite not having a specialized school degree for what I was working in. In my head, I was happy because we’d finally reached the root question here. I responded honestly, “depends on what I’m offering” and he looked stunned.
And thus began my long drawn out lunch break discussion on the Value Proposition!!! Stay tuned folks, this will be a good one.
This was not the first time I’ve had this discussion and CERTAINLY won’t be the last, but I decided to save some time in the long run and write a blog post about it. I know I’ve said this before, but society has us brainwashed into thinking that school is the answer and the only answer to learning.
Now, I’m not saying that you will magically develop the skills to fix a sink or win a court case. However, there are so many resources out there, from books to the school of YouTube, old school apprenticeship, to online school and so many resources to help you learn. You no longer have to be a Juilliard grad to put on an award winning production and you certainly don’t need a piece of paper hanging on your wall to determine whether you get the job your dreams.
The person who went to work as a plumber with their parent every weekend since they were 12 probably has so much more to offer than the college grad who has only fixed a sink a handful of times.
It all comes down to the value proposition.
Big companies are beginning to take down the greatest barrier to entry for employment (i.e. the degree) and are starting up what the job market should be: a meritocracy. Just last month, big accounting firm Ernst and Young removed university degree as one of the required qualifications for the job. I personally couldn’t be happier!
When I say it comes down to the value proposition, I mean what can you offer others. I give advice on a regular basis and love making friends, so when it comes to my value proposition with GENUINES, I’m interested in an informal partnership where I help you along the way regardless of whether we end up doing business together; it’s not just a one-time transaction unless you want it to be.
A value proposition for a writer who’s been blogging since she was 15, who has a strong social media presence, over the university grad who knows proper grammar is the personal brand awareness that can be brought to the company. More brand awareness for a company is more valuable than grammar.
NOW, I’M NOT KNOCKING SCHOOL! School is massively important, and teaches you critical thinking, etc. I’m just saying, it’s not the only route. I’m also trying to counter balance that thinking that it is the only route and I’m trying to help those with a degree that still are heavily underemployed.
Underemployed graduates: You’ve been lied to! I was one of you. It sucked! Hard. You thought that all you needed was that piece of paper; study hard, work hard and you will have a job right after - No! It doesn’t work like that.
Put your stuff out there. Work for other people. Apprentice. Work for free. Start your own thing. Showcase through a bunch of YouTube how-tos, that you can mix audio, you can fix a sink, you can dance and build a following. Learn how YOU can offer value, to get the value you want in return.
Hopefully, this has helped you guys out! Let me know what you do by dropping a line.