Pick Yourself | #MyFridayStory №40

Frans Nel
3 min readJul 26, 2020


We can all remember playing games as children, where we picked teams.

Being picked first was an affirmation that you are ‘cool’, if picked last, it only served to reinforce your ‘un-coolness.’

Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001, increased the company’s value by 4000% during his tenure. He was famous for introducing initiatives such as Six Sigma quality, Globalisation and E-Business, which helped shape the company.

Another infamous initiative pioneered by ‘Neutron Jack,’ was the ‘20–70–10’ performance management system. It suggests that while the top 20% of people in an organisation are most productive, and 70% are performing adequately, it is the bottom 10% that are non-producers and they should be fired. Although the system is far from perfect and is open to discrimination — the concept has been dropped by most organisations today — there is merit to its thinking. If it was an unbiased process that didn’t involve any human intervention, and could be done fairly and accurately, it would work. In many cases, the bottom 10% are a bad fit and would be better off at another organisation anyway. They are likely to perform better at another company that is more suited to them.

But, as harsh as this system may seem, the reality is unemployment is far harsher at doing the ‘picking.’

Unemployment doesn’t play fair.

The South African unemployment rate has been hovering around 25% for the last 20 years. And, I’m afraid it doesn’t look like it is about to improve too soon. High schools and universities are generating thousands of graduates each year, all hoping to make their dent in the universe. The result is, many young adults are left jobless, regardless of their degrees and diplomas. Most have sacrificed for many years to obtain their qualification, only to be met with the cruel and harsh reality that their hard-earned knowledge has no place in the economy.

Most people are waiting to be picked.

If being picked is inherently biased and flawed, then why wait to be picked? As Seth Godin wrote in a 2011 blog post — Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself — we all want, and wait, to be picked. But it is when you pick yourself that you gain control over your life and can live with purpose. Picking yourself doesn’t need to mean you have to work for yourself, you pick yourself when you present Brand You to the world.

Pick yourself.

My advice to young adults — graduated, matriculated or entering the workplace — is to pick yourself. Don’t wait to be picked, you could wait a very long time. Picking yourself means you are stepping up to the plate and standing up to be counted. It can be scary, but I assure you, it is far more exciting than not being picked at all.

I’ve mentioned before about making sure your CV and profile are polished as well as providing some advice when asking for a job.

“If you want to be responsible for making music, make music. If you want to be responsible for writing, speaking, making change happen, go do that. Waiting to get picked is a form of hiding, not realism.”

Go on, pick yourself. You’re a sure bet.

Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 26, 2020.