The single most important marketing decision most people make is also the one we spend precious little time on: where you work.
Think about this for a second. Your boss and your job determine not only what you do all day, but what you learn and who you interact with. Where you work is what you market. Work in a high stress place and you’re likely to become a highly stressed person, and your interactions will display that. Work for a narcissist and you’ll develop into someone who’s good at shining a light on someone else, not into someone who can lead. Work for someone who plays the fads and you’ll discover that instead of building a steadily improving brand, you’re jumping from one thing to another, enduring layoffs in-between gold rushes. Work for a bully and be prepared to be bullied.
And yet, there are plenty of books about getting a job, but no books I know of about choosing a job. There are hundreds of sites where job seekers can go to find a new job, and virtually none where you can find reviews of bosses or companies or jobs.
Ted Zoromski really needed a job, so he took one doing human spam (outbound telemarketing). That’s his first mistake. This isn’t a stepping stone to something better, it doesn’t teach you much, it grinds you down and it doesn’t make you more marketable. When he found he was also making calls he found offensive, he quit.
Years ago, when I had ten people working for me at my book packaging company, one client accounted for about half our revenue. They were difficult, constantly threatening litigation, sending lawyers to otherwise productive meetings, questioning our ethics and more. It was clearly the culture of their organization to be at war. So I fired them. I gave them the rights and walked away, even though it meant a huge hit to our organization. Why do it? Because if we had stuck with them, it would have changed who we were, who we hired and how we marketed ourselves going forward. We would have had a lifetime of this.
How many job offers with good pay have you turned down in your lifetime? How many clients? Compare that to how many times you’ve been rejected. That’s totally out of whack. Great marketing involves having a great product, and not every job (or every client) is worth your time or attention or love.
If you want to become the kind of person that any company would kill to have as an employee, you need to be the kind of employee that’s really picky about who you align with.