I’m having a hectic week, with preparing for a move, so some posts this week will be reprints from years ago. This is one of my favorite posts from November 2010.
A reader writes:
I am very talented in my creativity and thinking ability. I have a lot of ideas I would like to pass around a marketing firm or ideally to direct companies. I have no idea where to start. I also have started a small business and it’s profitable within the first year, but it is not what I want to do. I would rather be somewhat of a consultant or an ideas man. I truly believe I have great potential in this area, but I am in my final year of college and I do not know where to start or even where to look. I have applied to many positions on Craigslist, Monster, and various other job sites, but I feel as if no one is understanding what I am capable of.
I know if a company or a few people were to see my vision they will agree that they are multimillion dollar ideas. So again, how do I go about finding a position and how do I tell them my ideas without having them run off with them?
I’m pausing because I’m contemplating how to say this.
It is very, very unlikely that someone is going to hire you right out school to be their ideas man. Not impossible, but highly unlikely. And it’s definitely not going to happen from Craigslist or Monster. There are very few entry-level jobs for “ideas guy.” Hell, there are very few senior level jobs for “ideas guy.”
Generally getting that kind of work requires getting more experience first — experience in how to implement and execute and make things happen.
It also requires highly unusual talent. And while it’s possible that your ideas are great, there’s also a very good chance that your ideas are kind of terrible. Or that they’re mediocre, or that there’s some reason they wouldn’t work, or that they’ve been thought of and rejected in favor of something else. It is very, very hard to judge this accurately yourself.
I can tell you this though, even though it’s making me wince to have to say it: In my experience, people who really have this kind of exceptional talent are talented enough that they’re finding a pathway to make it happen. It’s fairly rare that they’re looking to Craigslist and Monster to make it happen for them. And because of that, I’d put money on you needing more seasoning time, and on the likelihood that you’re coming across as naive to these companies.
why won’t anyone hire me as their visionary? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.