You’re Just Average If You’re Working For The Man

January 22, 2015

It’s a hard pill to swallow but, if you’ve got a job (especially one at a big company), you’re likely (updated 2/24/15) just average.  Now, now I’m not intending this to be a virtual slap across the face, or something to bring you down it’s just to get you to see things the way they are.  Hey…before you start calling me high minded, or haughty just keep in mind that I’ve worked for 3 of the largest corporations in the world…so I’ve spent quite a bit of time in this club.  And my wife has a job with the man…and I’m very thankful for it.

The reason I say you’re just average if you’re working for a company, especially a big one is that corporations don’t want to hire brilliant people.  They want average ones.  So while it’s possible to be really good at your job, to be really smart, you, nor I for that matter, aren’t Einstein.

Why Corporations Don’t Hire Brilliant People

Truly brilliant people are rare and hard to find, and when found they are they’re expensive to hire, and typically impossible to work with (a common trait in truly brilliant individuals)(think Einstein, Jobs, and Gates).  So finding a team of them to build a company is almost impossible.  So successful companies don’t even try.

The industrial age formula for success was based on being able to hire average people, to do average things, over and over again.  Don’t take my word for it read Michael Gerber’s best seller The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.  This is why McDonalds doesn’t make a great burger; they hire average people, to make an average one, that they can sell billions of times.  The combined effort becomes something brilliant (selling a billion burgers) but the product, and service remains average (have you ever gone into McDonalds and said to yourself…that kid that served me my burger was just brilliant.)

Even when brilliant people start brilliant companies the operations don’t tend to stay that way.  Because you just can’t build a company that last around a single individual.  What happens if she get’s sick, pregnant, or finds some place else to work.  So brilliant entrepreneurs know that in order to build companies that last they need to be able to fill positions quickly, and cost effectively.  What’s the best way to do that?  With the people who are most readily available….the average ones.

Google Hires Brilliant People…Don’t They? (updated July 20th, 2016)

No the brilliant people started Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin)…the really smart people work for them. Same goes for Uber, Apple P&G or just about any other brilliant company you can think off.

Why It’s So Hard To Get Brilliant While Working For The Man

If you think you can get brilliant while doing your job chances are you won’t.  There’s only 168 hours in a given week and here’s how the average worker spends hers.

  • 47 hours working for the man every night and day (yes..I through a little Ike Turner in there)
  • 56 hours sleeping (at least you should be)
  • 5 hours commuting
  • 5 hours making herself pretty for work
  • 35 hours watching TV to zone out in hopes of alleviating the work related stress

That’s 148 hours leaving you with about 20 to work on getting brilliant, or exceptional at something.  Which is quite a bit of time, but you haven’t cleaned the house, done any grocery shopping, mowed the lawn, walked the dog, or picked the kids up from soccer practice yet.

I’m not suggesting you quit your day job.  Perhaps you can cut back on TV, or hire someone to mow the lawn.  The thing is if you really want to become exceptional at something you’ve got to find the time.



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