The 80/20 Rule

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Whether you are a student, an employee or a business owner, the 80/20 rule rubs on all you do.

When I was a student, 80% of my time was taken up by the tough 20% of the course contents. Out of the five years at university, I had four great years (with cummulative results in the dean's list, firstclass, range) and one bad year that dragged my graduating CGPA to 4.40/5.00. Again, 20% of the results ruined the entire 80% excellent one.

After school I got a good job instantly. Finished NYSC in February, resumed the job in March. In my first job, 20% of the staff did the work that brought in 80% of the company's revenue in Nigeria. I was part of the remaining 80% staff who did very little and got well paid. My second job, the table turned. I became part of the 20% doing 80% of the work. It wasn't fun. You work so crazy hard and see others doing company sponsored vacation for months in another country. Your take home barely takes you home while theirs is intact as company covers their accommodation, transport and daily expense. Yet you are the one working all the work. My third job was a nut job. I was in three different departments  and not one as my employment letter had said. In one of the departments, everyone had left and I had to take up all the department work (thank God for my automation skills); in the second department we were just three handling a department that will thoroughly use a dozen people and the third department was customer support (more like L1, L2, L3 & L4 support combined). There was hardly any resting moment from the morning till close of work. The 80/20 rule squeezed out a lot from me.

Now I run my own business and it just seems to get worse. Some jobs take up so much time for little or zero output. I no longer feel excited when people call me about an opportunity; the first thing I do is to run it through my profile of historical bad jobs. Will this fall in the good 20% or the time and resources sucking 80%. Since I know that I can't get out of the 80/20 rule, I should as well determine how bad the sucking part is. If what you want me to do is a hustling kind of work, creating something there's no market for because you've got an idea and I have got the technical skills, that falls into the sucking 80%. The jobs that get me 80% of my income are the easiest. Not too much talking to seal and requires not much resources to deliver it. They are the sweetest and are my main motivation for staying in the entrepreneurial race. There are good months and bad months, but the good months blow you away with excellent results. They come like 20% of the year.


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