Being unique is not the point

I was really hoping to avoid commenting on this post, as it involves having to rail—I mean, provide thoughtful analysis on a number of fronts, including:

  1.  the “industrial age” and how one could potentially interpret this term,
  2. the “average worker”, which is so general a term in itself that, well, I can only anticipate more feedback in the commentary from *your* own PoV, and
  3.  of course, the illusion of “unique”.

Alas, after once again catching a random tweet today that happily RT’d said post, eyes rolling at the back of my head just didn’t quite cut it (happy now, @RepuTrack?)

The agelessness of “Industrial”

We all know that the Industrial Revolution occurred eons ago and created the various infrastuctures upon which current societies are built. Great. Yay industry.

But when you say that it’s “a ‘forever recession’ because it’s the end of the industrial age..” To what exactly are you alluding?

That the so-called industrial age no longer exists? That industry itself plays no significant (if any) role in the development of societies? That I am knitpicking because I can’t stand— oh wait, that perhaps a more appropriate term should have been used to describe an existing mode of working and/or doing business?

Industrial activity will always predicate the subsequent evolution of societal frameworks, whether the pace be rapid or incremental. Proposing to use the term “industrial age” in an attempt to viscerally antiquate the perception of common modes and patterns of behaviour associated with work is not only short-sighted but also, and more importantly, inaccurate.

95% of us are “the average worker”

That percentage is pure guesswork on my part, but I think you get the point.

We are the average because we do indeed count within that large demographic who actually DO the legwork, who are part of teams, communities, working groups, the broader mobilized, salt-of-the-earth workforce—who, thanks to our “averageness”, are making others thankful for the societies we are able to sustain on a day-to-day basis.

It is a regrettable generalization to coin the term “average worker” without duly qualifying and substantiating the nature of such term:

“If you’re the average person out there doing average work, there’s going to be someone else out there doing the exact same thing as you, but cheaper.”

For reals? Like ya I get the foreign threat n all but seriously, gu-gu-guru? Who is actually making threats here? And why?

These broad strokes on the notion of ‘average’ are being non-chalantly splattered on a quasi-marketing themed post in order to make a compelling case for “being different”.


But is “being different” really enough? In fact, does “being different” actually matter at all?

The fallacy of “unique”

I recall a recent tweet convo with @mktgdouchebag on the notion of “creativity”. It was brief and somewhat comical, which is typical of our tweets. But he echoes a valid point, “Everybody thinks they’re creative.”

LinkedIn recently saw “creative” among the top overused buzzwords in profiles.

Does being creative make you unique? Not really.

Scientifically speaking, we are each unique. We each have specific DNA that distinguishes us from one another. Now *that’s* unique.

This, here?

“..if you’re different somehow and have made yourself unique, people will find you and pay you more..”

Er ya: how the hell do you “make yourself unique”, when there are thousands of other marketers like you clawing at that same smarmy guru status—well, ok, 10 out of 1,000 marketers who’ve written volumes on things everyone already knows about.

My point? Social media gurus are scary. No matter what Klout, clout or cloud they’re in, they still scare the crap out of me. Not so much about who they are but how and what they preach to both clueless and converted.

Unless you’re as talented as me—I mean as talented as @mktgdouchebag (hint: I’m trying to get you to comment here, haha) people won’t actually “find you and pay you more”.

So here’s how I see it: if you’re an “average unique person”, well then, good for you.

Being unique is self-evident and won’t make you instantly rich. Being well informed and continually learning on the other hand, will help shape what you choose to make out of yourself.

4 thoughts on “Being unique is not the point

  1. I don’t know how it happened that we attach value to quick snippets of thoughts, and identify with them as words of wisdom . Nonetheless, I think most people relate to the ideas shared in the post because they’ve all felt some level of insecurity either in past or current jobs.

    Where the post appears to really miss the mark is not discussing how corporate cultures have an overarching tendency to stifle “unique” and “creative, and do the opposite of what Seth suggests, by promoting the “average”, “mediocre” and “clueless” to the top.

    It may sound cynical, but I had a tweet exchange some time ago with @thebrandbuilder about this very topic. While I concede that changing times may require changing behaviours, from the bottom right through to the top, the backwards thinking that feeds into the insecurities of upper management is what fuels the kind of polarizing corporate culture which keeps the army of 99% teaming with new recruits.

    1. @josephfiore now the SAI post was crafted by a contributor? writer? blogger? who may well have taken Godin’s words out of context..but nah who am i kidding, even if they were taken out context, the quotes stand well on their own. so ya, it still kinda bugs me. well ,ok it bugs me a lot.

      the in-your-face, attention-grabbing headline does not help elicit sympathy on my part either. and you know what, i’m not sure a discussion to uproot and examine typically stifling corporate cultures would lend the post further credence nor make the case for ‘being unique’ even more palpable (nor useful)

      the matter at hand (as it has always been with blogging and clever-sounding posts, mine included) has always been with diction. that, and being more diligent and responsible with defining one’s terms (or not), while refraining from careless generalizations.

      at the end of the day, most of the social sphere are likely impressed by this seemingly novel insight into how to remain competitive and marketable amid a volatile and increasingly unpredictable economy. but honestly, i would rather hear Chicken Little scream the sky is falling over and over again than to have to stomach the blind deference folks accord some er people.

      if you’re gonna have to be reminded over and over again to use common sense by great thinkers, what does that really tell you? .. precisely my point.

      1. @autom8 I get it. And there is a contextually relevant reason why I brought up the stifling aspects of workplace culture, but I won’t go any deepr into it than I already have. Suffice it to say, those living under a rock might not have known the importance of being productive to land or keep that job. But the reading, thinking and intellectually ambitious types have known all along 😉

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