Race and gender are pretty hot-button topics today. For probably the first time in US history, a woman and a black man are in contention for the presidency.
On the business front, one question apparently facing many companies are gender and race–based quotas. I’ll show why such quotas are increasingly needed in today’s global business environment. In short, I’ll show why these quotas must exist.
As businesses tap the opportunities created by the Internet, such as the possibility of a worldwide reach, they will need a better understanding of their different markets. It is not politically incorrect to realize that the assumptions and perceptions of an Indian are definitely different than a Filipino’s.
This is where a need for a race-based quota exists. A company that relies on constant and effective marketing must hire people that are representative of the areas where the business wants to set up shop. In other words, hire enough Indians to craft an effective marketing campaign for Indians, and hire enough Filipinos to provide more effective market research in their own community.
Gender represents another significant human difference, which means it also needs its own representatives within a business. Wouldn’t a woman be more effective at communicating or dealing with another woman? Thus gender quotas must exist too.
To be clear, setting up a varied workforce shouldn’t be for the sake of finding the weak spots of each demographic. Ensuring that enough people of a certain race and gender are in your company should be oriented towards creating more understanding for customers.
Configuring a workforce based on political correctness, and not on business realities, will never lead to anything. As Aesop so wisely said a long time ago, you can’t please everyone. So why not just concentrate on making your company as effective as possible? By setting concrete quotas that the whole organization can focus on, getting the right people for the job becomes much much easier.
Why Fame Doesn’t Matter
One genre that dominates the Internet right now is the celebrity snark. The formula is pretty simple: Get a picture of a celebrity, infer some deviant or stupid activity from it, and write about your shock at the celebrity’s lack of shame. The wittier the better! Despite this, many people (including freelancers and contract workers) place too much importance on celebrity status and/or fame.
And who could blame them? The general impression is that a freelancer’s potential client base is dependent on how many people know him. Yet it’s a fact of life that, the more noticeable you are, the more you have to deal with.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with engaging in dialog and accepting criticism. But, as the Internet proves, not every sort of public intercourse is that constructive. Why would anyone want to deal with the numerous personal and nonsensical attacks that come with fame?
The same is true for freelancers. If we’re famous among the general public, we’ll find ourselves answering inquiries, comments, and attacks that have practically nothing to do with our craft. Which of course is a waste of time, because it keeps us from concentrating on what we were meant to do.
It should be a case of quality over quantity. Instead of working to become generally famous, why not just concentrate on the right people? In the case of a freelancer, this means building business contacts only with those who have something to contribute to their field, which includes clients, other freelancers in the same industry, established experts, etc. This minimizes the irrelevant interactions, leaving you only with you can use to further your freelance career.
So, as you begin your work week fellow freelancers, we must remember that fame doesn’t matter, because we can go a long way publicizing who we are and what we do only to those who matter.