Finding Jobs vs. Finding a Job

Original Post: Here


Earlier this year Dale Dauten’s “Corporate Curmudgeon” column noted that “We have entered the Post-Employee Economy. There still will be organizations, and there still will be work to be done, but it’s time to understand that the concept of ‘employee,’ as we know it, is obsolete.”
He recently revisited this topic, and noted that the U.S. economy continues to progress toward his Post-Employee paradigm. Companies aren’t hiring, they’re downsizing. And they’re wringing as much work as they can out of their remaining staff.
Dauten added, “As companies reach their maximum output with their current employees, they’ll be slow to add new workers. Instead, they’ll outsource the mindless work and they’ll bring in consultants for the mindful work.”
And that’s where we fit in. I’ve spoken with quite a few freelancers who, sotto voce, have told me that they’re quite busy. The reason they’re being so sotto voce is that the current business meme is How Awful Everything Is, and you don’t dare speak against that. At least not publicly.
What these freelancers are reporting has been true in other economic downturns. Amidst all the plant closings, layoffs, reductions in hours, and furloughs, there is still work that needs to be done.
A good chunk of this work is project work, which means that organizations don’t need to keep your smiling face on the payroll once the gig is over. And, face it. If you’re a freelancer, you probably don’t want to be on one company’s payroll for the next five years or however long it takes to get vested in the pension plan. You want more adventure in your professional life.
So, what does it take to thrive in this brave new world? I recommend the following:
  1. A system for landing new business quickly. It might include cold calls, warm calls, working the networking mixers, using social media, advertising, or something else.
  2. A system for staying in touch with people you’ve worked with before. It might include an e-mail newsletter, a blog, a Twitter account, postcard mailings, or something else. The goal is to ensure that you stay on client radar screens when they have additional work that you could do.
  3. A first-class set of skills. This is an economy that favors those who are good at what they do.
  4. An ongoing effort to improve your skills – and add new ones. Know how to learn new things quickly. This may mean reading books, studying websites, taking short courses, watching video tutorials, or something else.
  5. The ability to filter out all the bad news and just get to work on finding jobs, doing them, and repeating this process. Wasn’t too long ago that I heard an architect friend note that, despite the fact that there’s a Bad Economy out there, he has his own economy. And that economy’s keeping him pretty busy.