In a world where hiring and career advancement aren’t just about salary anymore, you need to know exactly what you’re offering, and exactly what you’re getting. The barter system offers a way to understand how to make the right choice for your career.
When it comes to modern hiring, we’re not that far off from something resembling the old barter system. Admittedly, by definition, the barter system is not monetary in nature; it’s about the exchange of goods and services for other goods and services. But in a world where things like work-life balance, flexible scheduling, remote work opportunities, equity shares, and unlimited vacation are all part of the hiring bundle, it’s hard to make the claim that moden hiring is a strictly monetary transaction.
Understanding the hiring process through barter system thinking can be instructive for anyone who’s seeking a new role, a promotion, a raise, or a move to another team.
As an employee, you want to be valuable for the long-term. That means constantly learning new skills. By taking the initiative, you can usher your own workplace into the 21st century, and simultaneously get the support you need to keep learning. Or, you can take your talents elsewhere!
The idea is a straightforward one. As the world outside the workplace changes, the workplace itself must change as well. Broadly speaking, workplace transformation has been happening for as long as there’s been work. But in today’s world, with the pace of technological innovation being what it is, workplace transformation has become something more specific, something more technical. We’re to the point now where workplace transformation and digital transformation are virtually synonymous concepts. Workforce transformation today means ensuring that a company is operating as close to technology’s cutting-edge as possible, in order to maximize efficiency, and enhance competitiveness. To achieve this, companies need to make sure they do two things: 1) Encourage and support the reskilling and upskilling of their own employees, and 2) Develop and implement recruiting and hiring strategies that enable them to hire the best talent equipped with the most in-demand skills.
In June of this year, an article from human resource consulting firm Robert Half posed an intriguing question:
Why is commercial acumen so important for a finance career?
The article was published as Udacity was en route to launching our Artificial Intelligence for Trading Nanodegree program, so we were of course curious to explore the article’s insights. As it turns out, the lessons apply far more broadly than just the world of finance.
What is commercial acumen, and why is it important?
Possessing commercial acumen can be everything from a competitive differentiator during your job search, to the defining characteristic that nets you a promotion, earns you a raise, or places you on an innovative team.
But if it’s something so important to possess, what is it, and how does one develop it?
When you invest in the education of your employees, you give your company the gift of a long-term solution to your talent needs
The following quote has been variously attributed to everyone from Lao Tzu to Maimonides to Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie:
“Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach someone to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”
Given its ubiquity throughout modern history, it’s clearly a resonant message, and part of its appeal has to do with its broad applicability—it’s germane to so many different use cases.
The quote is generally interpreted as a lesson about self-sufficiency, but it’s also sage advice when thinking about short-term “band-aids” vs. long-term solutions. Why solve something for a day, only to have the same problem again tomorrow? Why not embrace a long-term solution that eliminates the problem once and for all?
Hiring managers and recruiters confront this issue every day. After all, hiring is essentially an act of problem-solving—a company has a need, and the right hiring decision will solve for it. But what IS the right hiring decision? If you’re a company in need of talent, the solution is often right in front of you!
Now is an excellent time to learn valuable new skills, refresh existing ones, and focus on career-centric soft skills that enhance your hireability
News today from the Labor Department bodes well for job seekers at all levels of experience. The unemployment rate is falling, wages are increasing, and yet there is still a strong sense of demand, as employers continue to struggle to fill roles within their organizations.
Everyone at Udacity is elated this morning with the news from CNBC, that we have been named to their prestigious Disruptor 50 list for a third time—and at #8, our highest ranking yet! It’s certainly thrilling to find ourselves in the company of such world-changing organizations as SpaceX, Airbnb, and Didi Chuxing. We appreciate the continued recognition from CNBC, and take heart that our efforts are having a sustained impact.
X’s Obi Felten, on stage at Intersect 2018
Obi Felten’s rather remarkable job title is “Head Of Getting Moonshots Ready For Contact With The Real World, X, The Moonshot Factory.” In March of this year, she delivered a keynote address at our annual Intersect event. The title of her talk was “Daring Greatly: How to Fail Gracefully on the Way to Success.” In her speech, she addressed what she described as “one of those Silicon Valley cliches.” She was talking about the idea of failing fast. What she had to say about it was wonderful:
“We don’t want to fail fast, but we do want to learn very fast.”
In a world where emerging innovators all over the world are seeking new paths to success on the strengths of their unique backgrounds, novel ideas, and deeply-felt passions, this is a critical distinction. What is important is not that we fail, but that we learn. When people are committing to making their dreams come true, and they’re finding inspiration in the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley, it’s vital that we be clear about failure’s relationship to success.