Good to Great from Andrew's blog

Although I own the book good to great and it has been recommended to me, I have never read it. There are simply too many good Sci Fi novels out there to make that happen.


When going through MBA you are usually relatively poor. You come from some mediocre job and you typically think you have far too much talent to be stuck as middle management at some unappreciative company. So you figure that for two years of education you are going to leapfrog to the top and have a party up there. All the while laughing at the suckers at your old job as they would have to work for the next thirty years to achieve what you did in two.


In many cases this is correct. In fact that's the case for most of my MBA friends. So why am I writing this as that seems awesome. You tripled your salary, you are flying around the world business class, have a fat expense account and are living like a rockstar. This is exactly what you wanted and aren't you clever?


What most fail to realize is that you are being paid a significant premium because your life sucks. Investment Banking is one of the higher paying jobs out there. Or at least it was before the crash. The reason you can use grade 7 math skills to make millions of dollars is that your grade 7 math is being used for the bulk of the day. You don't sleep, you don't exercise, you look ten years older than you really are and then typically you have a shortened life expectancy and your kids get to party like a rockstar when you are gone. This is a slightly different take on the high paying job that you landed from MBA. What more important is that any good job bears a massive opportunity cost. So if you are truly smart and capable why would you be solving business problems for others when you could be building businesses yourself? Typically people that stay in consulting for more than 4 years or so are the ones that aren't capable of building but they are better off advising. After all, why would you want to work the crappy hours and give up some of the best years of your life for a paycheck. You could be building your own business, making more money than any of the partners and having complete flexibility and control over your life.


So far what I have written seems to be common sense and what does it have to do with good to great? Most people are content with good jobs and good levels of success compared to the average joe. If you hang around a bunch of people that make 100k a year and you make 200k you are super star. But if you hang around with people that make $2MM a year you would be considered poor. The trouble is to get from the $200k to the $2MM there is typically risk involved and we all know that people don't like risk. So they typically stick to what they have as they are afraid of losing it. That's why there are far fewer people making$2MM than 200k. The people in the higher snack brackets are typically willing to take on more risk than their counterparts. In fact many have failed trying to attain their dreams and wind up below what they could have made had they stayed the safe course. In Canada 99 out of 100 businesses fail in the first 5 years. 90% of those fail within the first year.


So when deciding to take a job when graduating from MBA one must ask themself what your ultimate goal is? Is it good or is it great? If the answer is the latter than careful thought must be put into the skill set that is being acquired and how that fits into your ultimate goal. For example, you may be better off with a lower paying job that provides you with the free time to pursue your dream job. Or it may be to make as much money for a the next three years so you can go out on your own. Whatever your strategy is, make sure that you actually have one and that you are not just being satisfied with good and usurping a bunch of non achievers at your past employer.


Also, there is nothing wrong with consulting or investment banking if that's the path that you think you would be most happy with. I for one like working in my bunny slippers from home and vacationing at least three months a year all the while racing my car across North America. I think a lot of people would object to this lifestyle and that's why I choose to build my own businesses.


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By Andrew
Added May 27 '14

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