As a mix between a case study on how the world of work has changed and a guide to improving your effectiveness as a person, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? grabbed my attention from the first paragraph until the very end. Seth shows the progression of jobs and careers through the rise of capitalism and discusses how the focus has become on employing more easily replaced laborers. He walks through ways of how to stand out, be a linchpin to your organization, make a difference and become indispensable to your employer and the world. I’ll touch on a few points of the book that I highlighted and keep going back to read when I’m either frustrated or stuck in a rut in my personal or professional life.
“People want to be told what to do because they are afraid (petrified) of figuring it out for themselves.”
When I was in high school and college I spent a lot time going to the guidance counselors and scheduling advisors. I wanted to see all of my different options for classes to take, majors to graduate with and careers to pursue. There was always a part of me though that just wanted one of them to tell me exactly what to do. “That would be way easier”, I thought to myself.
This thought stemmed from fear though. I was afraid of choosing the wrong path and didn’t want to worry about it any longer. I started to realize that you don’t just take a single path through your life, you take many. Once I understood this and started to figure out for myself what I wanted out of life I was much happier and satisfied.
“Groucho Marx famously said, ‘I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.’ The linchpin says, ‘I don’t want a job that a non-linchpin could get.’”
Groucho and Seth aren’t talking about a sense of entitlement here; they are focusing on setting the bar high and not settling on what you do with your life. If you are looking for the perfect job for you and you can’t find it, it may be because it doesn’t yet exist. Create it yourself and mold your life into what you want it to be. Don’t strive to be something you’re not because when you get there it may not be what you thought it would. Do what’s in your heart and you will become a linchpin that makes the world a better place to live in.
“A day’s work for a day’s pay (work = pay). I hate this approach to life. It cheapens us.”
Seth goes on to argue that when you sell your time for money you essentially stop being the artist you have the potential to be. When you are so focused on what you are getting paid to do you may lose focus on doing what makes us human: the ability to make and share art. Whether your art is how you handle an upset customer on the phone or creating a website for a client, art is everywhere. Look at how much heart and talent are poured into many things in the world that you may never have thought of as art before. When you begin to see that there is art all around, you may find that what you do is full of art after all.
Should you read this book?
If you are struggling to find meaning in your work or life and want to understand exactly why, I would recommend you read Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. I also highly recommend this book for any budding entrepreneurs or students in school. Reading this may open your eyes to other possibilities in your life. If what you are currently doing doesn’t feel right, this book will help you see a life that you really want to make for yourself.