Need a job? Find a problem you can solve

Henry Kaiser had a basic formula for success: ''Find a need and fill it.'' By doing exactly that, he founded an industrial empire and made himself a multimillionaire. Even more important, Henry Kaiser created thousands of jobs.

You may not want an industrial empire or even a small business, but you can create a job for yourself by means of the same formula.

Why does an employer hire anybody? Generally he is not in the business of dispensing charity, so he must have an ulterior motive. Think about it. When you need gas, you drive into a service station. You don't go there just because business is dropping off and the owner needs customers.

Your house needs painting. You hire a painter. When you pay the bill, you find a large item marked ''labor.'' You have, then, actually paid the wages of that painter. But you generally don't pay such charges unless you want something done.

Nor do you go to an attorney because he wants a new car or a trip to the Caribbean. You pay him for something you want done. For a brief time, you have hired an attorney.

In all these cases you have created a job because you had a need. Temporarily , you were the employer. In the same manner, other employers hire because they need something done - not because you need a job.

Employers hire because they have problems that need solving: problems in marketing their products, problems in keeping track of paper work, problems in supervising employees, problems in sweeping the floor, problems in meeting deadlines, and on and on. If you can solve some kind of problem plaguing the employer, you have a job.

Think of yourself, then, in the role of a problem-solver, not a problem-carrier.

Look around you with the eyes of the employer. What work is stacking up? What emergencies are inadequately covered? Where are operations bogging down? Where can you be a definite asset?

It can be something as simple as this: A young woman - call her Ellen - was making some purchases in a small hobby shop operated solely by the owner. In the course of the conversation, she learned that the owner had no time off for lunch and had difficulty getting to the bank during business hours. Ellen offered to come in each day at noon to wait on customers. The owner agreed.

As business picked up, Ellen was hired for half days, and finally the time came when the shop was prosperous enough for a full-time clerk. Ellen had found a need and filled it.

And then there was Ed, a vigorous 60-year-old businessman who found retirement not to his liking. Looking around for something to do, he noticed that often the houses belonging to his age group needed reroofing. He also observed that his peers preferred to do business with a more mature adult rather than a younger salesman.

So Ed approached a major roofing company with his idea: He would sell reroofing to the older customers. The company agreed to let him try. The idea worked so well that in a short time Ed became the top salesman in the company. He, too, had found a need and filled it.

An endless number of problem-solving jobs exist. With imagination and perseverance, you may be able to uncover one for yourself.

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