Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Malcolm...



...Gladwell.  I am a big fan of Malcom Gladwell.  I have his three books and have enjoyed all of them.  His first book was “The Tipping Point:  How little things can make a big difference.”  His second book was “Blink: The power of thinking without thinking.”  His most recent book is “Outliers: The story of success:   I would highly recommend buying all three and putting them in your permanent library as you will continue to refer to them for the rest of your life.  I teach Sociology, Psychology and Ethics as well as eight other topics and these books reference all three areas of study.

In our current terrible economy I know a lot of people who are unemployed, underemployed or unhappy in their job.  Gladwell in, The Tipping Point, has a short piece on finding a job from Mark Granovetter in his book, “Getting a Job.”  I reread it yesterday and found it even more profound than I did when it first came across my desk in 2005.

Here is an excerpt from “The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell.

“There is a very good example of the way connectors function in the work of the sociologist Mark Granovetter.  In his classic 1974 study “Getting a Job” Granovetter looked at several hundred professional and technical workers from the Boston suburb of Newton, interviewing them in some detail on their employment history.  He found that 56 percent of those he talked to found their job through a personal connection.  Another 18.8 percent used formal means-advertisements, headhunters-and roughly 20 percent applied directly.” 

“This much is not surprising; the best way to get in the door is through a personal contact.  But curiously, Granovetter found that of those personal connections, the majority were “weak ties.” Of those who used a contact to find a job, only 16.7 percent saw that contact “often” –as they would if the contact were a good friend-and 55.6 percent saw their contact only “occasionally.”  Twenty-eight percent saw the contact “rarely.”  People were not getting their jobs through their friends. They were getting them through their acquaintances.”

“Your acquaintances’ by definition occupy a very different world than you.  They are more likely to know something that you don’t.  Acquaintances represent a source of social power, and the more acquaintances you have the more powerful you are.  It is a matter of numbers.  When you are looking for a job, the more the merrier.  The greater opportunity you have to sell yourself.” (Paraphrased)

I would recommend buying Mark Granovetter’s book also.  It sounds like his advice is excellent.

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