Traditionally, the job search golden egg has always been nabbing that full time job offer, which leads some job seekers to poo-poo the idea of contract-to-hire, freelance or temporary work.
The thinking: Why settle for what seemingly translates into no benefits, no bonuses and no promise of the coveted job security one can revel in as a full time employee?
Unless you slept through 2009 (tempting, I know)… you are somewhat aware of just how much the landscape of today’s workplace has changed.
Stability is a myth.
Upward mobility by ‘putting in your time’ went the way of Tom Cruise’s sex appeal, and companies, while starting to put money back into hiring, are still wary on investing in the right people. It’s why you never heard back from that interview after the CEO himself said he’d be in touch tomorrow …and tomorrow was 6 weeks ago.
The fact is: for many industries including advertising & marketing, hiring is on the rise; the jobs are out there. But here’s the thing – they’re not nearly at the pre-recession level they once were, and even those open positions with shiny new salaries and titles awaiting you really can’t promise you any level of security. Case in point – these guys.
Plenty of us are happily employed on a full-time basis across a number of industries, and many of them will stay that way. Others are choosing to avoid putting their eggs all in one basket (by nixing the norm of dedicating oneself to a solitary occupation) and instead are diversifying their skill sets and creating a multitude of revenue streams that allow them flex all their different creative muscles. The result?
Stability in the form of a professional fall-back safety net…the side-gig.
When it comes to job searching, today’s smart candidates understand the dangers of the eggs-all-in-one-basket tactic, like nixing the importance of networking and only focusing on the job boards.
One of the most crucial elements of a successful job search is strategically diversifying your efforts based on where you know the opportunities in your field are likely to be accessed. And that encompasses networking, searching the job boards, thought leadership & idea sharing, researching and following the companies that interest you – ‘a little of this, a little of that’.
The same goes for managing your career, and diversifying and maximizing your skills to create different revenue streams, so that you’re not solely reliant on and invested in one particular job. Because downsizing is a reality, layoffs happen, and companies close.
This is the modern job market.
And the reality is that if you lose your job, no one is going to take pity on you and hire you because you’re ‘desperate for work’. 6 months to a year-plus stints of unemployment are not uncommon. It’s about positioning yourself well to navigate those situations, while also upping your marketability and potential for uncovering new opportunities.
Now, it would not blow me away if your first thought was, “Why the hell would I want to create an additional job for myself when I’m already working 40+ hours a week?”
This is not a one-size-fits all strategy designed to suit everyone. But perhaps it’s your opportunity to really take seriously that idea you’ve had for awhile around starting a side business or project that could potentially turn into an additional income stream.
And for most people who end up going into business for themselves, the process begins this way. Maybe there’s an opportunity to work with a market segment that you don’t have the opportunity to engage with in your full time job. Or perhaps it’s about doing something to feel more challenged in ways that your 9-5 can’t, or doesn’t, fulfill.
Careers no longer have to be limited to one’s primary money-making occupation.
We can diversify and cover a lot of different ground, cater to different audiences and provide a variety of services and products under the same persona. There are opportunities out there we can expand to not only maximize our earning potential – and build a career safety net – but continue to build on new and existing skills that may open up additional doors for future opportunities.
And think about the growth potential you’re likely to see in your professional network as well!
In today’s competitive career landscape, creativity and the ability to innovate and reinvent ourselves is one of the most advantageous attributes we can possess as professionals.
Today’s careers are less about finding the opportunities, and more about creating them.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Aspyre Solutions!
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!