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Cultural Butterfly


"Linchpin Jobs"--Seth Godin

Seth Godin's daily blog frequently expresses “cultural butterfly” thinking. An example is his 12/7/18 blog "Where are the Linchpin jobs?" about "work that matters for people who care",

In it, he said:

“Industry offered a deal to the worker: Here’s a job. We’ll pay you as little as we can get away with while still being able to fill the job. We’ll make sure it’s easy to find people for this job, because we don’t want you to have much in the way of power or influence. We’ll use software to read the resumes, and we’ll do it in huge batches. In return, you’ll work as little as you can get away with. That’s the only sane way to respond to the role of being a cog. If the system is going to squeeze you, no need to volunteer.

"It’s hard to over-estimate the impact that this deal has had. The whole idea of mass advertising for mass jobs. The compliance-based school and resume system. The apparent power of the big companies to dictate the culture of work…

"But, over time, the economy has changed. Now, the most cog-like jobs are done by machines. Now, cog-like work doesn’t create nearly as much value as truly human work. Now, if the opportunity is right, the pay is fair and the cause is a good one, it’s possible to create a culture where people choose to contribute as much as they can, not as little as they can.

"This requires a shift. Two shifts, actually.

"The first shift is for the employer. It means not only paying more compensation to capture the attention and focus of the people who are willing and able to do Linchpin work, it also means investing in a culture that supports that sort of work. Compliance isn’t as important as contribution. But it’s frightening, because turnover costs more when you’re dependent on people who bring special magic to work.

"The second shift is on the employee. It means caring enough to walk away from a cog job. It means being brave enough to make assertions and to lead. It means telling the truth about your background and your future. And it means keeping your end of the bargain, even when the work feels scary.

"Here’s our experiment: A weekly email newsletter with one or two jobs a week in it. That’s all. says, “Linchpin Jobs: Work that matters for people who care. Unique opportunities to do work that matters for companies that care. New jobs once a week, by email. Published every Wednesday, give or take, as long as it's working.

Seth’s next email later that same day said:

"In less than 10 hours, 7,000+ people have subscribed to Linchpin Jobs and we've already gotten tons of job submissions. This simple newsletter is a new way to find special opportunities to do work that matters for companies that care. Please forward these emails to anyone you think might benefit . . . We know there are magical jobs that need special people who care, and this newsletter is a tiny step where the two collide."

Then Seth’s blog the next day, Sat. 12/8/2018 was titled “False Limits”,

He said:

“I got a note from a teacher at York Community College yesterday. He wrote, 'Encouraging anyone to become a Linchpin is seriously bad advice for an individual to pursue and for a company to allow….think these things through before you put them out there.' ”

Seth continued:

“I’m frustrated and saddened on behalf of the eager students in his class. The ones who are paying out of their pocket, taking time away from work and family, doing the work, pushing themselves to level up… and encountering a teacher who doesn’t believe it’s possible for them to make a difference.

“Without a doubt, an industrialist can profit mightily by building jobs that can be done by interchangeable workers at the lowest possible skill and pay. But that doesn’t mean you need to sign up to be one of those interchangeable cogs.

“And, without a doubt, there’s work to be done by organizations that simply do what they did yesterday, but perhaps a bit faster or cheaper. But that doesn’t mean that this has to be your work.

“The goal of the Linchpin is to make things better by making better things. To dance on an edge, to see what’s possible, to create and contribute, to learn and to ship."

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