Years ago I was invited back to speak at my school. I’d only been working a couple of years. In the period since I’d left, the head had introduced presentation evenings and it was at one of these that I was asked to speak.
What I talked about was getting a job. I’ve been asked to speak about the same topic a few times since, and my message has barely changed. In fact, I believe the advice I gave back around 2002 will be even more relevant in the future, when there will be very few ‘jobs’ around and people will be increasingly responsible for finding their own income from multiple sources.
The advice I gave was that qualifications aren’t enough. It doesn’t matter if you have GCSEs, A-Levels, a degree or a PhD, none of these will get you a job. Because all they do is put you on a level playing field with thousands of other candidates.
What gets you a job is all the other stuff that you do. Given the choice between two candidates with similar qualifications, I will always choose the one that is a world-class athlete, a published author, or just captain of the local hockey team. It shows they have passion and commitment. It shows that they have drive.
If the future pans out as I expect, with the number of steady 9–5s diminishing in most sectors, lots of us will be looking to turn our passions into profit. We may hold down one or two regular jobs (work is increasingly part-time), but we will likely use our skills and interests as another income stream.
Liam Biggs, the man behind Cazuall.co.uk is a great example of this. I met Liam at IFA this year and got to find out a little about his background. Liam’s passion is gaming, and he has carved out his own niche in that market — first as a professional gamer, then running gaming organisations and teams, and now with his YouTube channel and website. Liam does this alongside a ‘full time’ job. When your hobby is bringing in income, you can usually find time.
Liam’s passion has made him an influencer in the market for games, consoles and accessories, to the point where major companies are sponsoring his website and flew him out to Berlin for the show. This isn’t a position of privilege he was given, it is one he created.
Most of us have a passion or a hobby. Whether it’s style or science fiction, food or football, there’s usually a business angle to our expertise. In the future more and more of us will need to exploit it.