It is amazing how community and being in a place for a long time creates layers of memories and support networks. The process starts from scratch every time you emigrate or move cities. Moving away from your birth town means you leave behind your child support base. Aunties, cousins and grandparents make for trusted babysitters and are a treasure chest of knowledge and advice.
Multi-generational families who all went to the same school, and have nurtured friendships and business connections over five generations have a head start on newbies.
Grinding it out and running a stubborn, slow growth business with all the goodies like antiquated technology, high employee turnover and price sensitive customers is the school of hard knocks. You come out tougher and smarter with an appreciation for true grit.
A tour of duty in a “tough” business makes you appreciate and seek out the ‘easier’ businesses.
Most business are a shit show beneath the hood, but some business models are just plain easier than others. You realize over time that there are easy ways to make money and hard ways to make money.
People who’ve worked in a big corporate all their lives don’t get this difference. Work with people like immigrants, founders, small business owners and grinders who appreciate the difference between easy and hard.
The Poetry of earth is never dead: When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead In summer luxury,—he has never done With his delights; for when tired out with fun He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. The poetry of earth is ceasing never: On a lone winter evening, when the frost Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever, And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.
I was at the florist yesterday and asked her if she was busy during lockdowns. I was expecting her to say that things had slowed down. Her answer was quite the opposite. She told me that business picks up during lockdowns because people send flowers when celebrations like weddings and birthdays get cancelled. Foot traffic also increases because people are working from home and pop in for some flowers.
Legacy incumbent companies focus on provenance and pedigree. They are about maintaining the status quo and are on the decline. “Hiring managers” seek out markers like education, brand names, and network connections.
Companies that focus on people’s output, quality of work, and energy are where you want to work. They are open to hiring rough diamonds. They aren’t scared away by quirky work experience and a history of grit and persistence. They take chances on people and bet on them.
Founder-led businesses and owner-managed places like restaurants are your best bet. It takes one to know one, and it’ll take one to hire one.