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Sunday reading for December 8, 2013:

Image Credit: <http://bizmology.hoovers.com

Image Credit: <bizmology.hoovers.com>

1. In a recent Linkedin piece, CAREEREALISM.com CEO J.T. O’Donnell asks us to consider if wealth is a pre-requisite to earning the status of “expert”. O’Donnell makes the argument that it’s not important to have earned great wealth through one’s craft to be an expert, and goes on to say that social media has made building up one’s brand as an “expert” easier than ever before. I agree with O’Donnell’s general position – just because one knows a lot about something doesn’t mean that he or she will be paid handsomely for it: It’s a simple fact of life that not every resource has equal value. Conversely, the underlying reason that many people equate financial success and expertise is because most of us have a strong desire for remuneration. We also believe that there is some indeterminate but real correlation between value and scarcity; if something is rare, then it should command a high price. Ergo, questioning the expertise of a subject matter expert that isn’t well compensated for their knowledge is in many ways a perfectly logical thing to do. Shouldn’t an Economist at the top of his/her field be well paid? Maybe… or maybe not. Read O’Donnell’s piece here and let me know what you think. 

2. Karen X. Cheng (of learn to dance in a year fame), makes the argument on her blog that discipline is overrated. Instead, she says, focus on that which you are passionate about and the matter of discipline will take care of itself. On the one hand I agree with her – if you love doing something you don’t need to have discipline to keep doing (and consequently improving at) it. With that said, there is evidence to suggests that “following your passion” is not the best way to obtain a career that gives you the greatest degree of satisfaction. Rather, to really cultivate the most rewarding career, it’s important to first have a skill set valued enough in the market place that you can dictate the terms of your employment to employers. This requires development of skill(s) scarce enough to have significant value… which of course requires discipline. The good news here is that success often cultivates passion, and so through effort, repetition and (ultimately) improvement over time you may discover a love you never knew you had. Check out Karen’s full post here.

3. In this Forbes piece, Retired Col. David Sutherland makes the argument that when filling out their management ranks companies should be giving NCOs a closer look. As solutions driven self starters used to completing challenging objectives under (often) significant duress, Sutherland says that – despite lacking the traditional pedigree associated with senior managers – NCOs bring as much (or more) value to the table than many newly minted MBAs. Should employers be filling more of their management ranks with NCOs? Read Sutherland’s full post here and decide for yourself.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Best,

Rory

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