I was having coffee with an old friend the other morning, sitting outside, as the weather was warm, and the scenery equally pleasant. We marveled at the abundance of attractive women that came and went. At the same time, the attire of many of the younger girls shocked us. We assumed they were young teens as they were young enough that they were being driven and accompanied by their moms. One such young girl, to be charitable, was dressed completely trashy, wearing a very short tight skirt, and a top that left little to the imagination.
A recent e-mail from my oldest friend, a college professor, stimulated me to reflect on how we search and find work, as well as in small business how we promote and sell ourselves. On this subject, I’ve observed my teen son’s failed efforts to find a summer job. And, finally, I’ve thought about my own recent efforts in designing and launching my own website (www.brucesallan.com). For me, throughout my life, there was only one thing that worked and it was persistence. I believe, especially in our present economic times, persistence is the primary thing that works.
My old friend the professor had a whole list of very sharp suggestions on how I could better brand (contemporary slang for identifying yourself or your company, as with Nike’s swoosh) my site, my work, and myself. They ranged from hiring a consultant to doing informational interviewing, as well as developing an “elevator speech” (means exactly what you’d expect—a short enough description of your work that could be told in an elevator ride), and much more. As I read and digested his suggestions, I was struck by the fact that my initial reaction was “this is just too much work” and “I like my style better.”
A recent visit to an old friend’s beautiful new home triggered a brief moment of envy for me. While I was extremely happy and proud of his accomplishment in creating such a lovely home, with so much care and detail, I also found myself longing for something similar in my life, instead of the present rental that we have. But, more importantly, I thought about how envy has occasionally motivated me to succeed and how I wonder if the same thing is happening to the present generation. Is envy a good thing?
To be very clear, I believe there’s a huge difference between envy and jealousy. Envy is not necessarily a bad thing, while jealousy is almost always bad. You can envy someone’s success, possessions, friends, or family, while still feeling positive towards him or her. Jealousy tends to have a component of dislike and negativity to it, directed at the person who has those things of which you’re jealous. Also, jealousy is usually directed towards a person vs. possessions or other qualities, as in being jealous of the attention your spouse receives from someone else.