Since Donald Trump won the White House, there's been a lot of memes and comical posts on LinkedIn and other channels stating “Let Donald Trump’s election as President be a lesson to you; go for the job you want, even if you’re not qualified for it” – or some version of this.
Whilst I chuckled the first time I saw it, after the 27th time of someone using it to be motivational, it has started to niggle at me, here’s why:
1. I am all for motivatig people to push themselves to reach what are seemingly in-achievable goals. The company I work for now is built by one man with virtually no experience who just had a dream and the passion to make it a reality. But, should we really be encouraging the next generation of workers to just go for the job they want and hope for the best?I worry that this type of attitude only breeds a school of thought that we don’t need to work hard on honing our skill sets and carving our niche, that further education is somewhat irrelevant, that anyone can do any job. So, in that case, we don’t need specialists and we definitely don’t need people to dedicate their lives to being the best in their profession. I mean, if your completely unqualified next door neighbour could take over and be just as good, or maybe better than you - what would be the point?
2. Is it really O.K to give it a go and fail? Donald Trump has landed himself, arguably, the most important job in the world. If he messes up, if he’s in way above his head, if he spends four years making terrible decisions, the consequences are huge. The same consequences (albeit on a smaller scale) are applicable to anyone who joins a business in a role that they are simply not qualified for. If they can’t step-up and up-skill themselves, inevitably, they will fail. Is it fair on the company they joined that because they wanted to ‘give it a go’ the business suffers? Where’s the accountability in that?
Some would argue it is down to the organisation to determine a suitable candidate at interview process, however, sometimes even the savviest employer can be duped. A potential employee can be impressive, their references can be spotless, they can seem like the right choice. Only they (and their recruitment consultant, if you’re working with a good one) truly know they are capable of doing what is claimed on their CV.
3. Trump’s election, in my opinion, wasn’t about him getting the job because he was the most impressive. He got the job because the other qualified candidate wasn’t impressive enough.
I wouldn’t want my children looking at the U.S presidential election as an example of employment and referring to it in any kind of positive or motivational way.
If you are unqualified, unable and will inevitably fail, but, you are the ONLY choice, I’d ask myself, “is this the job for me?” before I took on something that could damage my career, my professional profile, my future prospects and, potentially, the success of a company someone somewhere has worked hard to build.
Personally, I wouldn’t put myself forward as a brain surgeon. Yes, I know my way around the ‘Operation’ game and I can carve a joint of meat on a Sunday but I am not qualified! PEOPLE WOULD DIE! Ok, maybe a bit too dramatic but you get my point.
So, in conclusion, yes, these memes etc are just light-hearted comical posts, but actually it’s worth thinking about what message the election and we, as participating bloggers/tweeters/commenters, are sending. Donald Trump and social media are both (now) very powerful. I for one will be hoping for the best from both over the next few years.
Before I use his particular rise to power for motivation, I am going to see what he does or doesn’t achieve. After all, there is a real possibility his lack of qualification and ability could result in his failure. Whatever happens, i’m sure there will be a plethora of memes to tell us how to feel about it…