Jobs are dead. Long live the contract-driven economy.
This is a guest post by Rebecca Rachmany. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
Let’s start with why you’re looking for a job in the first place. That’s obvious, you say. It’s because you need to make a living.
I’m with you on that one, but let’s just look a tad deeper. What you really want is financial security. Let’s face it. A job is good today, but you want long-term financial security, not just a job today.
A few years ago, someone interviewing me for a job asked me why I move companies so often. I said, the average time on a job is a year and a half, so I’m not far off that average. See, this startup failed, and that one moved the department offshore, and I got a better offer here. Nothing strange.
The only strange thing, I realized, was that every time I had a job, I thought I had a job.
What I actually had was a contract.
Wait, it’s worse than that. Not only do you only have a contract, you only have a contract for as much money as you need this month. You aren’t putting anything aside for the next interruption in your job, are you? Remember, the job is going to last an average of 1.5 years, so you better be saving enough for those 3 months between jobs that are coming up in another year or two.
Should you be a freelancer? Start your own business?
I would say yes. Actually, I would say you already are your own business. You are just a contractor. Companies take you on temporarily to fill a particular temporary position. It’s temporary for a variety of reasons, not least because the company itself is temporary.
If you have the skills to do so, start your own business.
If you don’t, get those skills.
I was chatting with a product manager one day, and I commented that he seemed like he should be in a more senior position. He said that he had carefully turned down promotions throughout his career.
He chose to stay at a medium-level salary, with no promotions, because he knew there would always be openings for product managers. There aren’t as many openings for VP. If you want to be fairly secure in your career, that’s not a bad way to go.
Note, however, that you have not made great progress towards financial security. Especially as you pass age 50. If you lose your job after age 50, no matter what your profession, you’ll have difficulty finding a new job. Let’s see. That’s 15 years before retirement. What are the chances you’ll lose a job in a span of 15 years. Pretty close to 100%.
Again, you have moved away from financial security, in particular in the years you are going to most need it – when you’re getting older.
Do you know why people keep saying that there are no jobs? It’s because you didn’t listen the first time.
Of course there are jobs. The main reason there are jobs is because of small companies, not big companies. Small business is responsible for most of the job creation. The statistics speak for themselves. Most new jobs are created by small companies. This article says that these jobs are short-lived, but we’ve just established that almost all jobs are short-lived.
If you want to succeed in creating financial security for yourself and your family, it’s time to learn business skills. I know you think you aren’t the entrepreneurial type. You think that because you’ve been educated your whole life to be an employee, not because of your natural tendencies.
Our educational system still insists on educating employees rather than entrepreneurs. Fortunately, you can learn the skills to be an entrepreneur at any time. Whether you decide to stay in a regular (temporary) job or not, these skills will serve you for the rest of your life.
If you are a programmer, this article isn’t talking to you. You will always be able to find a job if you follow these two rules:
If you follow those rules and stay in high-demand positions, you’ll always have a job. Note that I didn’t say “do excellent work”. It goes without saying that you should be at least “good” at your job.
Learning entrepreneurial skills won’t hurt you, even in the most stable of jobs. It certainly will benefit the company you are working for if you develop these skills, and at the end of the day, if you benefit your company, you’re making your job more stable.
If you recognize that you may become an entrepreneur or freelancer, either by choice or by force, following are the skills you’ll need to learn.
Find someone who already runs their own business and see if you can join forces. Get a job for now, knowing it’s temporary, while you brush up your business skills.
Or just go for it anyway. You might not be ready to work for yourself, but today’s reality calls for it.
Rebecca Rachmany is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of Tech-Tav Documentation, providing content marketing and social media marketing to high-tech companies. She has more than 20 years of marketing and management experience in the high-tech industry. She has been a partner in two successful services businesses, founded her own startup and served as VP Marketing on Plicto, a startup which was sold to Bittorrent. She holds a BA from Rutgers College and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. Her professional blog can be found at www.rebeccarachmany.com and her personal blog is at www.rebeccarachmany.org.
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Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.