1. You want people to understand what you do.
It’s not like telling people you’re an architect. Anyone that’s held the title “Economic Developer” has a perfected 1-2 sentence explanation for what you do. As a consultant, mine goes something like “Communities hire us to study their economies and help them make decisions about how to grow and attract businesses.” Or if we’re in bar and it’s loud and the person really doesn’t care it’s, “I help create jobs.”
2. People aren’t your thing.
Is your dream house a shack in the middle of the woods where nobody can find you? Believe me, I get it! Some days farming kale in Vermont sounds pretty awesome, but if you don’t enjoy engaging and collaborating with LOTS of different people, economic development probably isn’t your thing. And that’s okay, embrace your inner hermit.
3. Data, also not your thing.
Okay, so nobody said you have to actually understand it – you just have to know where to obtain it and have pretty charts. [Kidding!] My advice: Make friends with a data geek that can help you measure your projects in a meaningful way. AND pretty charts DO tell a convincing story.
4. You don’t like competition.
There isn’t a participation trophy in ED. Have you heard of The Hunger Games? That’s how we grow our economy here in NY and as much as we all complain about it, there is a secret part inside each of us that loves to win and win big. $10 Million for 10 communities? GAME. ON.