3 Little Life-Changing Words

What if I told you that three little words could change your life?  No, they’re not the words you’re thinking about right now; the words you’ve heard your entire life…but they’ll change you for sure.

First, I’d like to share with you how I came to discover these three little words.  Social media has proven to be a great connector (and not time-waster) for me. I’ve learned a lot, met some really great people, and made some new friends.  I had the opportunity to speak with one of those friends recently about her job search.  Her contract was almost up with the company she was writing for and it was time for her to think about other career options.  During a recent conversation, a movie came to mind as we discussed the various options out there for job seekers and tactics some use to set themselves apart from the competition.  I love pop culture and like to find ways that it relates to everyday life.  Guess what?  This one hits the nail on the head!

The movie: The First $20 Million is Always the Hardest (2002). The plot: Andy, a successful marketing guy quits his job, because he feels disconnected with the values about work he learned from his father. He gets a new job at a top notch research facility, where he quickly makes a powerful enemy who makes him volunteer for a nearly impossible project: The $99 Personal Computer.

What are the three little words that resonated with me during this movie?  Simplify.  Clarify.  Economize.

These words have a lot of relevance in the job search and generally in life.  Here’s what I gleaned from the quirky, yet poignant film:

Simplify.  In the movie, the research team is faced with a serious challenge.  How can they take a piece of technology that typically costs hundreds of dollars and create a $99 version with the same capabilities?  Keep in mind, the $99 personal computer needed to be as fully functional as the basic computers on the market at that time.  The team chose to keep things simple, not overcomplicating things with features that were unnecessary when an alternative could serve the purpose just as well.

  • THINK: How can you make your job easier?  That doesn’t mean less work.  Instead, think about what you’re doing.  Does it advance your strategic objectives?  If not, why are you doing it?  Simplify.

Clarify.  The purpose of the $99 computer was to be able to provide technology to children in third world countries so that they may advance their learning, empowering them to get themselves out of the circle of poverty, hunger and disease.  Seems like a lofty goal, but it all starts with an idea…make that an idea with a plan.

  • THINK: Look at your actions and your overall goals.  What exactly are you trying to achieve?  Does it align with your strategic objectives?

Economize.  Economize means to avoid waste or extravagance.  In the movie, the team’s original design was simple, but as they continued research, it gained some flash and style.  Once the prototype was ready, the idea went from bare bones to basically an upscale version of a modern computer.  It was just cheaper.  The process wasn’t efficient either.  The team’s competition received word of the design and submitted an even more elaborate design.  Neither team held true to the goal of economy.

  • THINK: In your job or job search, how can you make processes more efficient?  Are you wasting your time and resources on extravagance or are you being frugal, remaining cognizant of the task at hand without losing sight of the big picture?

If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d highly recommend it.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much (I was entertained, informed and inspired), I bought it.  The film budget wasn’t enormous, but they got the point across.  Actors like Adam Garcia, Rosario Dawson, Jake Busey (yes, he’s Gary Busey’s son) and Ethan Suplee make for a great oddball cast bringing a few laughs as well.

What are you doing to Simplify, Clarify and Economize in your job or job search? 


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