People Mis-Using My Book to Get a Job

People Mis-Using My Book to Get a Job

I wish I were making this up. I really, really do. I now have heard too many anecdotes about BigCo refugees citing their ‘enthusiasm’ for my book as dubious social proof that they ‘totally get it’ and ‘are totally ready’ for startup life after working for years for a boutique benefits package and a six-figure salary inside a Fortune 500 bureaucracy the size of a smallish African country.

Riiiiight. If you believe these people without any other corroborating evidence, understand that I’m always here at 1-800-345-6789 to sell you some very cheap swampland in Florida. Don’t worry, I cleared the alligators out last month.  

These crafty, often financially desperate, BigCo refugees believe that they can negotiate for a BigCo salary from your barely break-even early-stage business. They will flock to you the minute there is any kind of public funding announcement, assuming that the $1.5 million easily accommodates their $200K salary. Easily.  

Why are these people so clueless? Many are just young. 

But they’ve also never looked at a business P&L.  

I mean a complete one, not the high-level one they saw at BigCo inside the marketing organization. They also don’t understand the cash flow dynamics of a company with relatively high cost of goods due to very low volume.  

I actively steer more talented folks like this way up the value chain to mid-market private companies where they will actually be able to function and NOT drive the founder insane with their entitlement.  

I’ll say it again. Do NOT hire anyone straight from BigCo who has not already worked successfully at one startup before.  

Successfully means what, exactly? 

  • they love the brand they worked at before 
  • they didn’t quit because they didn’t have a path to their old BigCo salary 
  • works well without a lot of human resources or budget 
  • figures out less expensive but equally effective ways to get things done 
  • moves fast and doesn’t ask permission as a way of absolving themselves of responsibility (the #1 evil of BigCo bureaucrats) 
  • not an egotist resting on twenty-year-old theory, but someone actively learning how to execute better all the time 
  • a doer, not a PowerPoint politician 
  • not bringing up salary like every couple of weeks  
  • displays respect for the prior founder they worked for despite leaving for justifiable reasons 
  • someone who answers the question “what would you do if the toilet was plugged in the office?” by saying, “I’d take of it myself right away, obviously, with whatever tool I could fashion.”  

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  

Dr. James Richardson

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