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 Post subject: Are you an Entrepreneurial Employee or only a Copy Machine?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:22 am 
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As employees, we are in the business of renting our time and skill to other people. We charge a fee, whether it be $6 per hour or $100,000 per year. It is the price we charge for someone else to rent our body and mind.

Two small events occurred in my life that sparked this internal discussion. The first event came up during a hiring process. A couple of years ago I ran an online employment ad. One of the applicants was a person named "Tripp". I subsequently filled the position without having interviewed Tripp. A few months ago I had the same opening and I ran another online employment ad (although very different than the first). An early responder to the ad was "Tripp". It was the same person. This time around I called him in for an interview and we discussed the fact that he responded a couple of years ago. It turns out that he is perpetually looking for employment that fits for him and gives him the opportunity to "raise his rent". He didn't necessarily want the job that I offered, he was more interested in finding out all the details and comparing those details to his current job so that he could decide if the job change would better himself and his family. He said that he often is offered a position only to turn it down because the package wasn't sufficiently strong enough to entice him to leave his current employer. In other words, he responds and attends interviews so that he may interview the prospective employer in his perpetual quest of bettering his life.

The second event occurred more recently. I have a business and across the street is a virtually identical business. I hired a man whose wife works across the street. I pay 40% more per hour than the business across the street. I asked Bill why his wife doesn't come to my place and work - I have a virtually identical position available and she's been across the street for 6 years, so I'm certain she's qualified. He reported back to me that "she is comfortable with her boss and co-workers and duties" and ultimately she doesn't want to leave that comfort-zone.

To me, Tripp is an entrepreneurial employee - he is constantly on the hunt for a job that increases his sale price. If he's making $40,000 and happy, he's on the lookout for something that pays $50,000. Bill's wife is a "copy machine" - just another appliance to her employer who is resigned to "making copies" for a fixed price. She comes in, does her job, goes home and has no real thoughts of doing anything else - pretty much like a copy machine.

--------------------------------------

Tripp is very selective when he moves to a new employer. It's not just the dollar rate of pay but includes all the other intangibles that go along with employment, including commute, benefits, longevity of the company, working environment, dress-code, and many other factors. He's not a "job hopper". When he does move to another company, his new employer sets the baseline standard and he continues his hunt for something even better.

What do you think of Tripp? What do you think of Bill's wife?

Bill's wife and her attitude seem to be the "norm" in our society. Tripp was unique to me and I really admire how he is going about his employment life.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:01 pm 
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I would never hire Tripp. If I am going to go through the trouble of hiring someone, I don't want to have to repeat the process six months or a year down the road when they move on to something 'better'. I would prefer to hire someone like Bill's wife... someone who is comfortable with their job description and work environment, and someone who can be counted on to be there six months from now.

Entrepreneurial employee just sounds like an oxymoron to me... someone with true entrepreneurial spirit will either find a way to make a living on their own, or hold down a day job (to pay the bills) until their entrepreneurial prospects begin to pay off.

It appears as though Bill's wife has figured something out... that money does not equal happiness. You seem to equate 'making more money' with 'bettering life', but those two phrases quite often have nothing to do with each other.

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Last edited by Jethro on Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:10 pm 
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I'm closer to a Tripp, but not for the same reasons. I get bored quickly and then I get antsy. I've yet to find a job that has kept me engaged long-term. I usually come in, change what I can and get out. Which is why consulting works for me and which is why I started my own company.

Before I did that, I would look for a new job when I got antsy but it was much less about the money to me and more about actually enjoying what I do and feeling rewarded by it. I left a $100k/year consulting gig because I was freaking miserable and to replace it I took a $40k/year Operations Manager job at a non-profit because I liked what (I thought) I was going to be doing and supported their mission. It didn't work out, for various peronality reasons, but I would make that choice again.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:10 pm 
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Jethro wrote:
I would never hire Tripp. If I am going to go through the trouble of hiring someone, I don't want to have to repeat the process six months or a year down the road when they move on to something 'better'. I would prefer to hire someone like Bill's wife... someone who is comfortable with their job description and work environment, and someone who can be counted on to be there six months from now.


That's pretty much a given from the perspective of an employer. Realize that I may be the only employer that had him apply twice - it's not like he walks in and says, "Hi, I'm Tripp and I am constantly looking for better employment." The employer isn't privy to his technique (unless he applies twice, 2 years apart, is remembered and subsequently asked the story behind that coincidence). That being said, I can think of a plethora of reasons to hire him based on that attitude, but that a whole 'nother topic.

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It appears as though Bill's wife has figured something out... that money does not equal happiness.


She sounds kinda stupid to me. She is not even going to find out if she would be even happier across the street (and make more money to boot).

Quote:
You seem to equate 'making more money' with 'bettering life', but those two phrases quite often have nothing to do with each other.


I don't know what gave you that idea, but you are extremely wrong in your assumption.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:15 pm 
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Rush wrote:
She sounds kinda stupid to me. She is not even going to find out if she would be even happier across the street (and make more money to boot).


The problem is that your version of happier may not be hers. And the only way to find out is to change and if she ISN'T happier then she's screwed. She gave up something where she was content and now she makes more money but doesn't like what she's doing.

If she's happy, why take the chance? Some people just don't like change. It doesn't make them "stupid" it just makes them different from you.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:31 pm 

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When I was in my early 20s I read a book called "Go Hire Yourself an Employer," by Dick Irish, that turned my thinking around on this (it's a terrible book, by the way, don't bother looking it up, but the basic idea was good.) Rather than a supplicant begging for a job, I became the sort of entrepreneurial employee that Rush is talking about: In interviews I asked my prospective employers almost as many questions as they asked me, and I always kept my eyes open for other prospects. That didn't lead to job-hopping, though. I stayed in jobs I liked even though I saw other interesting jobs that paid more, for much the same reason Bill's wife does: if I liked my job and I was still being challenged and growing, enjoying my colleagues and working environment, I preferred to stay rather than take the risk of jumping ship into something that could turn out bad. And on a couple of occasions when I did jump ship, I wished I hadn't. Most of us spend most of our adult lives at work, and if you get a good gig that makes you happy, you enjoy your working environment and the people in it, then it's smart to stay even if you could make twice as much somewhere else. I've taken 70 percent pay cuts to do work I preferred to do, and never regretted it.

I always consider myself a free agent; I never stop looking at the help wanteds. But I've stayed in my current job for 11 years now. I look at jobs in my field every week, but in 11 years I've only applied for one job and then thought better of it and told them to remove my name from consideration. My job is always challenging and often very frustrating, but it stretches me and I like to be stretched.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:01 pm 
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I guess I am more like Tripp. When I make a move, I make a big move. I apply for positions that are above my experience/skills and use my interview skillz. Since I would apply for a challenging position, odds are I wouldn't get it. But one out of 10 times means that I get a significant bump up in pay and job responsibilities. I stay in that position until I've achieved the level of competence I set for myself (typically 3-4 years). Then its onto the next jump.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:04 pm 
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pf101 wrote:
Rush wrote:
She sounds kinda stupid to me. She is not even going to find out if she would be even happier across the street (and make more money to boot).


The problem is that your version of happier may not be hers.


My version of happier has nothing to do with her or this situation or this discussion.

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And the only way to find out is to change and if she ISN'T happier then she's screwed.


100% false statement.

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If she's happy, why take the chance?


The reasons are: She may find that she enjoys the new job even more. She'll earn 40% more money for doing virtually the same thing. Of course, that's pretty obvious and so I'm guessing that's not really what you are asking. . .

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Some people just don't like change. It doesn't make them "stupid" it just makes them different from you.


OK, not stupid, just an underachiever. . .is that PC enough?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:16 pm 
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Rush wrote:
My version of happier has nothing to do with her or this situation or this discussion.


Sure it does otherwise you wouldn't be questioning why she's not making this move. In your world you would be happier making the move. In her world she's not. But you don't get that so you're trying to push your world and your version of happy on to her.

Rush wrote:
100% false statement.


How is it a false statement? She quits the job where she's happy to come work for you. She decides she hates her new job and now can't get her old job back so is stuck somewhere she's miserable. How is that not being screwed?

Rush wrote:
The reasons are: She may find that she enjoys the new job even more. She'll earn 40% more money for doing virtually the same thing. Of course, that's pretty obvious and so I'm guessing that's not really what you are asking. . .


So what if she finds out that she DOESN'T enjoy the new job even more? What if she doesn't care about the extra money? What if Bill is going home every night telling her your company is an absolute hell hole to work at...does that make more sense to you? Why are you INSISTING on pushing your ideas on to this woman and calling her names because she doesn't do what you would do?! Why can't you just let her be happy and make HER decisions for HER life, not yours? Why do you CARE about why she's staying where she is? What difference does it really make in your life?

Rush wrote:
OK, not stupid, just an underachiever. . .is that PC enough?


PC enough? I don't know...it's certainly a *little* less arrogant, condescending, rude, insulting and assholeish (amongst other words) - but not much. It isn't about being PC. It's about not being so arrogant that you think YOU have the answer to how this woman should live her life and if she doesn't follow it then you call her stupid. To me the stupid one is the one who thinks they can make better decisions for people than the people make for themselves.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:16 pm 

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Rush,

If you're up for a challenge, I would suggest looking into the work of Daniel Gilbert. There's a thread here about his work:

http://www.getrichslowly.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52

Basically, he has done some rigorous and scientific study of happiness. I believe you will find your beliefs challenged about the effectiveness of said methods to find such happiness.

regards,
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:24 pm 
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Some people may value the people that they work with and the loyalty they get and give, more highly than they value the money. I don't think this is stupid or underacheiving in any way. Working with people you feel close to can be a great experience. As with investing it's a matter of risk vs. reward. If she is content with the way her life is, and the way her life is going, it doesn't make sense for her to risk that on the potential that she may, somewhere down the road, be as content somewhere else.

If you've found a way to be happy, why not stick with it rather than being perpetually dissastisfied because there may be something better.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:33 pm 
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Quote:
OK, not stupid, just an underachiever. . .is that PC enough?


Rush,

I've just got to ask... Do you purposely say things like this just to stir the pot or do you seriously not understand how statements like this make you come off? I'm not trying to pick a fight, I'm honestly curious. If you're just trying to stir the shit, fine, whatever floats your boat. But if you really don't understand how some of your posts make you sound...that's what I don't get.

Color me curious mostly because if you're just trolling for reactions then I'll just ignore the posts but if it's the other, I have a feeling we're going to be debating (read: butting heads) a lot. :-)

pf101


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:40 pm 

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Rush,

Seriously. What are you trying to accomplish?

I think you are attempting to showcase the entrepreneurial/investment path and lead everyone who isn't on it out of what you see as a financial Egypt. But you then argue that anyone who doesn't demonstrate your exact priorities and perspectives is wasting their time or an idiot.

Every time you do this, you lose the audience I assume you are trying to build here.

ETA: And for the record, if you read your comments on this thread over VERY carefully, I bet you can figure out why some people might not want to work for you.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:42 pm 
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morydd wrote:
Some people may value the people that they work with and the loyalty they get and give, more highly than they value the money. I don't think this is stupid or underacheiving in any way. Working with people you feel close to can be a great experience. As with investing it's a matter of risk vs. reward. If she is content with the way her life is, and the way her life is going, it doesn't make sense for her to risk that on the potential that she may, somewhere down the road, be as content somewhere else.

If you've found a way to be happy, why not stick with it rather than being perpetually dissastisfied because there may be something better.


It's refreshing to see some intelligent discussion, I was beginning to get worried. Without a doubt there are some serious psychological "things" at work, for both Tripp and Bill's wife. Being content must surely be near or at the top of the reasons one would not at least look into something else. What I read in your post, maybe a bit between the lines, is that there are not degrees of contentment per se. That being the case, it would be impossible to be more content so she would have no reason to even look. . .or maybe there are higher levels of contentment in the workplace, but those levels can never be realized without taking a chance, so people just stay put.

I don't know why so many people land in a job and stay put. What's funny is that before you're hired you don't know that'll be the job that pushes you to contentment - most don't go into the interview dreaming of working at the Hertz Reservation center, it's only after they are trained, get to know people, and get comfortable do they "stay put for good".

I know there are a great number of people out there who are unemployed, but need a job. They find a job so their need for a job is satisfied so there is no need to look any further.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:46 pm 
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pf101 wrote:
Rush wrote:
She sounds kinda stupid to me. She is not even going to find out if she would be even happier across the street (and make more money to boot).


The problem is that your version of happier may not be hers. And the only way to find out is to change and if she ISN'T happier then she's screwed. She gave up something where she was content and now she makes more money but doesn't like what she's doing.

If she's happy, why take the chance? Some people just don't like change. It doesn't make them "stupid" it just makes them different from you.


Not to mention that she'd then have to work for you (Rush), and you seem pretty abrasive.

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Last edited by nickel on Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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