Hey, I’ve started reading Swedish newspapers!!! Not yet criticizing style or correcting commata. But it’s fun (more about the f-word later). Bit like reading poetry. Wondering what the author wants to tell you, etc. Here’s the piece I tried my heuristic powers on this morning. Nima Sanandaji in SvD writes an op-ed about career, life, realistic and unrealistic expectations. Key message: Not everyone can have a hipster job.
Not sure what a hipster is, really. Have been assured that this lady fits the bill. This wikihow tells you everything you need to know to become a hipster. Been thinking of trying it myself but was… erm… dissuaded.
So what’s the message for students in stratcom and strategic PR?
1) Most Swedish people aren’t primarily looking for good income and safety when it comes to jobs but want to work with people they like and want to do something ‘important’ or meaningful. In that way they’re markedly different from people in Finland or Germany – who mostly look for income and safety first.
I World Value Survey svarar drygt tre fjärdedelar av svenskarna att det viktigaste när de söker jobb är att arbeta med människor de gillar eller att göra ett viktigt arbete. Det är förstås mycket hedervärda perspektiv. Bara knappt en fjärdedel uppger att de i första hand vill ha en god inkomst eller arbetstrygghet.
2) Jobs that have something to do with (social?) media are considered coveted hipster jobs, apparently. And that’s why there is a lot of competition even though they are often not that well-paid (especially in the beginning), insecure, stressful.
Problemet är att utbildningar som kan leda till realistiska klassresor ofta väljs bort. Ibland ratas till och med de enda jobb som erbjuds. Många väljer att läsa spännande linjer inom t ex media, trots att jobben i branschen är kraftigt begränsade jämfört med hur många som söker dem.
3) Young people in Sweden are looking for status and self-fulfilment when it comes to their jobs, it seems. Sometimes quite unrealistically so, according to Nima Sanandaji (my bold print).
Samtidigt har mentaliteten att man ”måste förverkliga sig själv” gått till överdrift. I dagens Sverige ger det låg status att jobba som plåtslagare, hur viktigt det arbete som utförs än är. Det är synd. Vi har all anledning att uppmuntra realistiska klassresor. Det är inte fult att i första hand gå efter jobb som efterfrågas och som ger hyfsad lön. Alla kan inte ha hipster-jobb.
Now I’ve spent the last week listening to our master students pitching campaigns in a course with the poetic name SKPM02 – and I didn’t see much hipsterish self-fulfilment here.
For six of the seven groups the task was to create a sustainable competitive advantage for a fictitious company called Volksauto entering the electro-mobility-market (it’s based on a real company, but psst!). The seventh group took the role of an activist organization (green in colour but not peaceful in disposition). This formidable combo with students from Denmark, Japan, Italy and Germany made sure the car-people don’t get cocky about ‘sustainable’ without backing it up with facts.
Positive lesson here, btw: Danes surely don’t mind rocking the boat 😉
Now this e-mobility-business is the stuff where you sit down and do research for a week before you even begin to get a grip on the problem. Are lithium-ion-batteries sustainable? This is the stuff where business strategy comes first. Is it smart to cannibalize your own customer base? You think competition. Should we venture into BMW-country? You talk deliverables. BSCs, Strategy Maps, Value Chains. Numbers. We’re not talking spin crowd here.
Listening, I was reminded of one thing. Communication is d…hard work. A fun campaign is serious stuff. And the more fun it is, the harder the work behind it was. Employers know that, of course. But there is also an interest in keeping up the self-fulfilment-status-hipster-image – since it keeps entry salaries down.
What I take away after a week is: Our students’ focus was not on self-fulfilment, status, fun. Our students’ focus is on getting results. For their employers, for their clients, for life on earth in all its diversity. So, employers, clients, atman, let’s get one thing straight: If you want communication people who mean business, don’t try to pay them with self-fulfilment.
The hipster-part’s okay, I guess, as long as it’s not considered immaterial salary. Nothing against fun as long as it doesn’t drag the prices down.
Hipst-bosons don’t lie.