YOU ARE A HUMAN CORPORATION
Your value is based on the skill set that makes your employer more profitable. You are a walking collection of assets and the more valuable your assets, the more you will get paid.
An asset refers to an indispensable thing, something that increases your value and can be passed on to others. So basically, the accumulation of knowledge or assets is what makes you valuable to your employer.
I Got Mass Communication
I will never forget hearing these lyrics by the Talking Heads and realizing for the first time in my life that I am a walking ‘human corporation.’
“I got wild imagination
Any version will do
I got mass communication
I'm the human corporation,”
Moon Rocks by Talking Heads
How to acquire more personal assets?
Whatever knowledge you gather, whatever training you attend, whatever information you consume, helps to make you more of an asset. It might not be so difficult or expensive to acquire assets. You just need to be able to recognize where your value lies and have the needed drive for success to be yours soon.
Now let’s explore some wonderful ideas:
It’s clearly an anomaly to think that acquiring a degree is equivalent to getting a higher education. The one true essence of higher education should be to increase your value.
Now, to increase my worth to my employers, I have acquired additional skills from my various colleges. I received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Missouri. Years later, I went back to school and obtained a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in the wine industry.
In addition and probably more beneficial to my career, I have attended multiple community colleges to take specialized classes in accounting, viticulture, studio art, photography, Photoshop, and Spanish. I took these classes for no credit, but rather to increase my assets or net worth as an individual.
Your local library
Local libraries contain valuable resources that could help increase your value. But libraries only provide value if you utilize them.
Libraries are FREE! The library has always been my favorite place to start learning a new skill or trade.
It is the first place I go to acquire more knowledge about a new job or promotion.
Online courses provide an excellent way to acquire learning in almost any topic in the world. You can access millions of online resources from successful people and institutions who are willing to share their knowledge.
Toastmasters is a club that meets weekly to help participants develop skills in public speaking. This is a skill that is applicable to just about any job. If you can’t express yourself, then you’re probably going to get overlooked for that next promotion.
I have belonged to three different Toastmasters clubs. I am currently a member of an online Toastmasters club that meets twice a month. It’s cool, members from all over the world can get together to practice public speaking.
This is the short list of skills I learned on my own by watching YouTube: studio photography, Photoshop, graphic design, Spanish and even how to play beach volleyball!
Become a Lifetime Learner
The accumulation of all of these assets make me valuable. I am confident if I re-entered the workforce today, I could get a job fairly easy. Fingers crossed!
What assets are important?
Your list might be different, but the challenge is to first identify the assets you want to acquire and then figure out how to gain them. Then put your assets to work, in order to gain experience.
Here is a quick list of assets I think are helpful to acquire:
Online courses, Junior College, Library Books
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, The Warren Buffett Way by Robert G. Hagstrom, Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker, etc...
Spanish or any second language
Junior College, live abroad, language exchange, podcasts
Marketing and Graphic Design
Junior College, YouTube, Blogs, Podcasts
Start a blog, YouTube, Podcasts
Webpage design and management
Junior college, Start a blog, Podcasts, Volunteer at work to manage the company's website
Implement a program like Sales Force
Live a Proactive Life
Living proactively is about making things happen, instead of waiting for them to happen to you.
By acquiring assets before they are needed, you are proactively preparing yourself to look like a rock star the next time your boss asks you to take on more responsibility.
Be proactive and not reactive….always
When I started my last job I joined the corporation as a summer intern but left 11 years later as the Vice President.
One of my secrets for success was that I was always willing to do whatever job was needed. Just because a task is not on your job description doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. You should always be ready to step in to help and be prepared for the position you want to hold. Not only do you gain experience and learn all aspects of the company, but you become very visible to that manager who is always looking to hire new staff.
Here are the positions I held within the past 11 years at the winery I worked for: Intern, Tour Guide, Wine Club Manager, Tasting Room Manager, Head of Business Development, National Sales Director, and Vice President.
Always prepare yourself for the next position that you want to hold
Seems pretty logical to me. Remember: You are a human corporation.
Learning makes life exciting and opens doors to new and wonderful experiences. Make your own choices! Be proactive!
You are your own human corporation.
The more assets and knowledge you acquire, the more successful your career will become. It is your responsibility to find creative ways to make yourself more of an asset to do what you love. The sooner you realize this, the further you will go!
Action Item: Write down three “human corporation” personal assets that you currently possess. Now write down three assets you would like to obtain in one year and five years. I have done this exercise on a post-it and I have kept it above my desk. Everything on my list I have completed and I continue to set new goals.
Reading Material: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio