Anybody else have a love-hate relationship with Apple and the late Steve Jobs? Love the products, hate the smarter-than-you-are attitude the company exudes?
So I saw this blog post the other day that stopped me in my tracks — “If Steve Jobs applied for a job at Apple today, there’s no chance in hell he’d get hired.” What the heck, if the original smarty pants Steve Jobs couldn’t get a job at the company he started, what chance in heck did I have of finding work?
Sure, some fancy headline writer was working overtime to get Steve Jobs and hell into the same headline to make rubes like you and I stop in our tracks and search engine optimizers drool. But could it be true? Would Apple hire somebody as personally blunt but bold-mindedly brilliant as Steve Jobs in today’s economic atmosphere?
You have to ask, are rude and ruthless the new warm and fuzzy?
Well, probably not. And that’s sort of what the article goes on to say. Given his gotta-do-it-my-way attitude, Jobs would quickly be shown the door, or so the article says.
So that got me to thinking, what other fabulously successful folks who we have grown to worship over time would have trouble finding employment because of some fatal flaw — personal or professional. You think you’ve got demons in your professional closet, wait until you check out this list of characters.
That’s right, you get to play hiring manager.
I’ll throw out some background information, you tell me the name and if they’d be hirable today. Good luck.
So here’s candidate No. 1: Ivy-educated entrepreneur from Blue Blood stock; brilliant standardized test scores and an industry trailblazer at an early age. Pancakes anyone? He even created an algorithm to flip pancakes more efficiently.
Fatal flaw(s): Once lied to a microcomputer company to curry favor in order to gain access to the company’s computer network. Not bad enough? How about a summer-long ban from access to a computing system for exploiting bugs in the operating system?
Sorry genius, you just passed on Bill Gates.
Candidate No. 2: This guy is the ultimate home-schooler. In fact, he was pretty much self-taught and a good ‘rassler to boot. Lofty goals and dabbled in politics.
Fatal flaw: Self-taught lawyer. “I studied with nobody.”
Practicing law without proper training might get you arrested today, but in the 1800s it was good enough to earn Abraham Lincoln a spot on Mount Rushmore.
Candidate No. 3: A sure thing if ever there was one. Publisher, personality, socialite. Get this, she even organized birthday parties for Mickey Mantle’s kids. How would you like babysitter to the New York Yankees on your resume?
Fatal flaw: Oops, securities fraud and obstruction of justice convictions.
Yes, it’s going to be hard to get Martha Stewart past the board and make this hire.
Candidate No. 4: This guy is a shoo-in with nearly 1,100 patents to his name. Early pioneer in telecommunications. Ground floor in the energy industry.
Fatal flaw(s): Dropped out of school after only three months of formal education. Was fired after spilling sulfuric acid on the boss’s desk. Was thrown off a passenger train after his chemicals caught a boxcar on fire — luckily this was pre-9/11 and there was no Patriot Act.
That’s right, Thomas Edison would probably not make it past most security screenings today.
It just goes to show you, no matter how bad the things are that you’re hiding from a resume and the prying eyes of hiring managers, they probably pale compared to the mayhem caused by this list of characters. And yet, they are some of our great success stories.
I’m not saying it’s time to let all your warts show on a resume or LinkedIn profile. But I am saying you can bounce back and be a success, regardless of the hole you’ve dug for yourself.