Self Motivated: Linchpin by Seth Godin

A couple weeks ago, I found a copy of Linchpin that my mother borrowed from the library in late April.  I was the one who introduced her to the book, but she had admitted that she hadn’t read it.  She wasn’t sure she liked Godin’s tone.  I, however, cracked the spine immediately and started reading.  The book had been on my must-read list since I read a great post on Rachel Wilkerson’s blog last year.

I’m working as an intern this summer and sometimes feel like I need to jump at all the opportunities I have a little more.  I want to take advatnage, to show my true self and to be the kind of intern that people will talk about for all the right reasons.  Not because I was such a presence per se, but because my work was fantastic.  Not because I was loud, but because I contributed something.

Although I’ve been wanting to read Linchpin for a while, I never felt like it was the right time.  Then, suddenly, it was. The book literaly fell into my hands the day I found it.  With the library due date a mere four days away, I knew I needed to read quickly.

And I did.  It was worth it.  The book is highly readable.

Linchpin discusses what we must do in order to become so-called indispensable in our work place.  Godin wants to identify and highlight the key feature and personality traits that lead to rewarding careers.  He argues that security is a false blanket; it’s doesn’t lead to happiness or a sense of safety.  Instead of searching for the illusion of job security, we must attempt to create art (which is very loosely defined) and connect with other people.

I love this idea and I love how the path he presents to creating art, though I wasn’t always enamoured with how he presented his arguement.  The book is a mix of anecdotes, facts and psychology that creates a persuasive logic.  Except for the fact that the argument can wind, trail and pick up new notions when you least expect them.  This was most noticeable because I was trying to read the book quickly.  Had I the chance to slow down, I would space it out.  The book needs to be lingered over in order to fully absorb the ideas.

One idea that really stuck with me, for quite obvious reasons, was Godin’s assertion that the resume is pointless.  Instead of spending hours crafting your resume (raise your hand if you’ve done this, perhaps as a way to avoid writing yet another cover letter), he argues that your work should be your resume.  A journalist would have writing clips (or perhaps a blog).  A painter has a gallery, or a website.  The musician gives out a c-d or puts his music on youtube.  We should be trying to stand out instead of fitting our accomplishments into a standardized form.  That way our art, the way we connect to people, speaks for itself.  People will want to give us work because we are communicating and bringing some light into the world.

It’s a pretty seductive idea.  It seems to reflect the workplace of tomorrow, at least according to my experiences.

Ultimately, it was a great read and a book I’d definitely turn to again and again.  Hmm, maybe I should head to Barnes and Nobles soon…

What was the best advice you’ve been given in your career, whatever that may be?


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