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Hire People Who Have a Chip On Their Shoulder...

Short post today.  

Hire people who have a chip on their shoulder.  Those who might be from the wrong side of the tracks (wrong side only in the "I <and my parents> don't belong to a country club" sense), but have done all the right things, are smart and have a history of getting things done.

I don't care what school you went to.  Community college before you picked up the degree from a non-descript state school?  Perfect.  Worked retail during school and after you got your degree because the market was tight?  Nice.

As long as you can show me you've got a track history of getting things done, are quick on the uptake and hungry, it actually works to your advantage.  You're not from the wrong side of the tracks.  You're practical and not part of a big ponzi scheme outlined here by Mark Cuban (you should read the post at that link - for real)

You don't have to have gone to an SEC school if I'm recruiting in the Southeast.  Kennesaw State, Troy University and UAB work just fine - as long as the other things are there.

Can I ask you how much debt you have if you went to a private school I've never heard of?  Probably not, and it's in bad taste.  But I'm thinking whether your parents just dropped 200K on a school that I've rarely heard of or if you already have the equivalent of a big home mortgage for a degree that simply allows you to interview for entry-level, white-collar jobs.

If you went to a public school that isn't a A-lister, don't apologize.  Tell me why the fancy degree doesn't mean anything.  Show me what you've done that the rich kids haven't.  

HIre a bootstrapper.  If all the intangibles are there, it's a pretty smart thing to do.



I think people who have a chip on their shoulder make others around them better. They force you to be results and outcome oriented by downplaying the status quo or consensus, because they've taken a different path to success and prefer the underdog route. They challenge norms, are thick skinned, don't take things personal and force you to be the same to accept and appreciate them. They don't always give you the warm and fuzzy because many times they have to work harder for what they've achieved, have been on the short end of the stick and understand that uncomfortableness builds character.

Most importantly, people with a chip on their shoulder often times make great leaders because they are tough enough to have difficult conversations and can eliminate roadblocks to their people's success because they understand the struggle and can relate. They also typically have alot of stretch because they don't take anything for granted and are never satisfied.


From my experience in the Manufacturing Industry it depends on the person, however more often in this industry a person with a chip on their shoulder can destroy the Team Chemistry that has been developed and create animosity and even division. I wonder would I want a Doctor with a chip on their shoulder to perform a life saving Operation on one of my loved ones with a Team in the operating room. It's a scary thought.

Corey Harlock

Love the idea of this article - more people should understand the value in hiring people who have had to "fight" for what they have and where they have gotten.

I used to always have a "project." Someone who no one would give a chance and that you can shape, mold and mentor.

The one key is being crystal clear where they can "challenge" the system and where they can't.

All too often we hire people for their fire and then spend the next 3 months trying to put it out!

Jocelyn Aucoin

This is great, but the tip of the iceberg. And why I love the KD...

I liked that post about the chip on the shoulder, save the part about men having daddy issues because I think it was a bit short-sighted in light of all the women out there with mommy issues.

BUT issues aside, we all have to own ours and not let them hold us down but let them propel us - fuel us - be the impetus to greatness! Love your POV KD! Killer. Orca. WAT!

Joihn Hollon

Great observation, Kris. I ALWAYS have a chip on my shoulder. You know why -- and the guy who put it there.


You know what I took away from this article, and it wasn't the chip on the shoulder. It was don't worry about the paper but worry about the drive and capability to deliver. Look for people who are practical and focused. The chip on the shoulder doesn't work for me, find it is usually accompanied by an attitude and lack of consideration for others, usually delays getting the results you need, and has people questioning whether they want to work with you. Also find it is usually those with power, money or connections that can get away with this. Most don't survive with this attitude regardless of culture.

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