Career Advice

No Innovation = No Value = No Job

It is well known that corporate America is looking to reduce costs to stay competitive in the global market. This cost focus will result in an even larger number of jobs being offshored and automated, including high-end white collar and technical jobs. It is an economic certainty. The days of having your job be the means to an end… well, they mean to end.

But before you despair, you need to know that there is some good news. The old economic model trapped many of us in dead-end jobs, hoping that our boss would be in a good mood when reviews came around. That is no way to live. That is economic bondage. That is zombie-central.

The good news is that at the same time companies are looking to reduce cost, they are also looking to increase value. Every company has competitors (whether they know it or not). The only way to beat competitors in today’s market is to deliver more value for the money. Companies are starting to realize that they can’t add value by cutting costs.

You hear the pundits talk about the “kinds of jobs that are a sure bet in the future.” The prognosticators talk about engineering, education and finance jobs all being sure things. Or at least they did before the meltdown disrupted each of those job markets. But they have it all wrong. It won’t be about job categories staying here versus going somewhere else. It will be about value propositions.

You can ship IT jobs offshore all day long, but you can’t outsource the person who comes up with the next great software service. Manufacturing jobs will stop moving offshore when it isn’t about low cost mass production. Textiles will stop moving offshore when it isn’t about competing on price. You can name any industry, any segment and there are examples of companies that are creating jobs rather than shipping all their operations overseas.

The companies that are hiring here are competing on value. Companies who compete on value can only survive when they have people who are engaged, energized and inspired. Simply put, people who are zombies can’t innovate. Zombies just repeat tasks and follow directions. That’s not innovating. That’s work that can be done cheaper in China.

No innovation, no value. No value, no job. Sorry, but we can’t compete on price.

Innovation takes creative spark, passion and fire. That takes you being completely absorbed, proud of the value you create and energized by the challenges you face. As we talked about last week, that takes you having fun.

Now you know why it is so critical for you to stop being a zombie in your job and in your job search. You have to sell your ability to create value. And you know that creating value means that you have to be inspired.

And, next week we will talk about how we can find your sense of purpose and connect that to your value proposition.