I Too Want A Big Picture Job

TJIC has a great link to an article about a guy who doesn't want to grub around in the details, but wants a job to help a company see the big picture and move forward.  LOL.  I can't tell you how many times I get a request for that job.  People are always saying they want a job doing "business development**" or "coordination" or "performance reviews."  The common denominator when I ask people to explain to me what these jobs actually would do is that they involve driving around a lot to different recreation sites I run or might run and "checking things out."

I tell people there is no such job.  I tell them I don't have that job, and I own the company.   It's a TV-inspired view of business, like Dynasty or Dallas, where the protagonists run around and do all kinds of stuff that doesn't look like real work.

Yeah, I get to enjoy some perks now and do some cool stuff running my company.  But how did I get here?   Well, the whole story is too boring to tell, but here is one vignette:  In March of 2003 I spent about 6 straight 90-hour weeks trying to get my new company registered on the fly in 12 states and about 30 counties for tax withholding, sales tax, occupancy licenses, unemployment taxes, workers compensation, and even egg licenses just so I could use the assets I just purchased.  This was at the same time I was programming some add-ons to Quickbooks so the finances could be tracked and setting up some of our first web sites.  All while I tried to keep an unfamiliar company running.  And, oh yeah, while I was thinking all that big picture stuff.  Yes, I think about the big picture - and in fact, I have radically reshaped the positioning of this company over the past five years.  But that is what you do in the shower or on the stationary bike.

I don't explain all of this, of course, I just tell people that I don't have a big picture job to offer them.   TJIC, as usual, is a bit more direct:

Or, phrased another way: you're a useless drama queen who - instead of
compromising your principals and taking a job that doesn't match the
job title you want, and then growing the job position around your
abilities - you'd rather stay home and live off your wife's salary.

** The world's one great moment for such jobs was in the late 90's Internet craze, when every soon-to-be-on-FuckedCompany.com startup employed hordes of business development guys who ran around making grand press-release inducing deals that generated absolutely no money.  "Let's trade our proprietary online merchant services framework no one wants to buy for your proprietary online price management algorithm no one wants to buy.  OK, cool."  When I came into the waning stages of several such companies, the first thing I did was blow all these guys away, followed by a quick inventory of our soft and hard assets to see if we actually had anything anyone wanted to, you know, pay money for.  I still think the whole IT world is tainted by the memory of these glory days for produce-nothings.  Everyone wants to be Steve Jobs without having to actually first produce a salable new technology with their own hands in their garage.

  • Well, there are some "Big Picture" jobs. Most of these are consulting gigs where you come in, try to realign a business area to be more "efficient" (not necessarily laying off people, but sometimes that's what's needed).

    Of course, to get a job as a business consultant, you either have to be very, very smart and a good salesman (selling yourself), or you have to have years and years of experience and contacts.

    But consulting itself isn't a big picture job. You either work for yourself and have to deal with all of the crap of being self-employed (paperwork, taxes, receipts, self-motivation, chasing after clients to pay) or work for someone else and deal with the small-picture crap they make you do (pretty much the same as being self-employed, but 30 to 60 percent of your billing goes into someone else's pocket.)

  • TCO

    McKinsey fed into a lot of that shit. Found them low on inquisitiveness.

  • I love anything that pokes holes in "big picture" people. With more than a decade in high level sales and yes "Business Development" I have met a ton of "big picture people". Here's what they really are: Credit seekers who are too stupid and too lazy to actually come up with a strategy and the tactical road map to see it to fruition.

    These personality types pursue constant validation and are credit seekers. They tend to inject ideas (even bad ones) into others tactics/strategies in order to be able to harvest credit later if those ideas pay dividends. Think of Johnny Appleseed...this personality wants to inject as many ideas as they can into as many strategies as they can to ensure a greater credit harvest later on. Never mind that the ideas are simply more variables that add complexity to any effort without necessarily improving anything.

    The credit seeker will claim they are a "big picture" person. What they mean is they are willing to put effort into tasks that are going to get people's attention and make them look good. Tedious, but necessary projects and tasks are always delegated to someone else. The person motivated by notoriety loves high visibility work and hates doing the unglamorous detail work--hence the "big picture". It's the high visibility stuff that gets accolades.

    Show me a "big picture guy" and I'll show you a former jock from a big school that used to have all the other kids do his homework for him so he could focus on winning the big game. Gosh...does this seem familiar to anyone else???

  • littleblackduck

    Funny, I don't recall a Jeff Gordon in my former place of employment 😉 I'd add to your comment, but you really nailed it.

    I do once recall one person who really did have such a 'big picture' job. A very, very senior position (though he was only about 34) and he spent most of the day sitting around on his ass schmoozing. He hired 'consultants' to do his actual job to the tune of £900 a week. Nice work if you can get it. Needless to say, this was not a genuinely private enterprise.