This book by the co-founder and Chairman of Linkedin and his colleague Ben Casnocha has been languishing on my shelves for far too long but I finally took my first proper holiday in over 3 years and took this with me to read. It is inspirational and so relevant to the mindset of portfolio workers. They discuss the notion of developing a crucial career mindset which they call ‘permanent beta’. Most portfolio workers would recognise this as one of our great motivators is to continually reinvent ourselves to take advantage of new opportunities. “We are all works in progress”.
In our book we discuss how crucial it is to use your motivated skills or strengths to provide purpose to your lives. They go further to state that sometimes it is important to redefine a weakness as a strength. e.g., “you may not see inexperience as an asset to highlight, but the flip side of inexperience tends to be energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to work and hustle in order to learn”. Readers of this blog may recall that I have written a number of times of the death of career planning and that we would be much better to talk about career surfing as the concept of ‘planning’ relating to careers is increasingly an oxymoron.
They also emphasise the vital component of networks to develop career success pointing to the fact that many of the great modern business developments have come from teams of professionals rather than loners. This is often a major problem for portfolio workers who can be somewhat isolated but must ensure that they have colleagues in and outside of the jobs in their portfolios. Indeed, they claim that business schools rarely teach relationship building skills and that self help books focus on personal development. “Its all about me,me,me,me. Why do we rarely talk about the friends, allies and colleagues who make us who we are?”.
They conclude their book with the memorable lines, “ For life in permanent beta, the trick is to never stop starting. The start up is you”.