Michael Goldhaber, writing in Wired, said, "If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you apply yourself you won't get noticed and that increasingly means you won't get paid much either. In times past you could be obscure yet secure -- now that's much harder."
Again: the white collar job as now configured is doomed. Soon. ("Downsizing" in the nineties will look like small change.) So what's the trick? There's only one: distinction. Or as we call it, turning yourself into a brand . . . Brand You.
A brand is nothing more than a sign of distinction. Right? Nike. Starbucks. Martha Stewart. The point (again): that's not the way we've thought about white collar workers--ourselves--over the past century. The "bureaucrat" on the finance staff is de facto faceless, plugging away, passing papers.
But now, in our view, she is born again, transformed from bureaucrat to the new star. She works in a professional service firm and works on projects that she'll be able to brag about years from now.
I call her/him the New American Professional, CEO of Me Inc. (even if Me Inc. is currently on someone's payroll) and, of course, of Brand You.
Step #1 in the model was the organization . . .a department turned into PSF 1.0. Step #2 is the individual . . .reborn as Brand You.
In 50 essential points, Tom Peters shows how to be committed to your craft, choose the right projects, how to improve networking, why you need to think fun is cool, and why it's important to piss some people off. He will enable you to turn yourself into an important and distinctive commodity. In short, he will show you how to turn yourself into . . . Brand You.
See also the other 50List titles in the Reinventing Work series by Tom Peters -- The Project50 and The Professional Service Firm50 -- for additional information on how to make an impact in the professional world.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Tom Peters
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Published December 15, 1999
Business & Economics, Self Help, Health, Fitness & Dieting.