Good news in troubled times (1)

Yesterday, I heard from three clients, each with good news. At least, we think it is good news. Because each reflects a reality of today’s job market, I am going to describe each situation in a separate blog posting, starting with this one.

Marie is an architect. She lost her job in a private sector firm a few months ago. Marie had changed jobs before, and it never took very long to get a new one.. She said the technique of getting a new position was the same: you get in touch with former employers, you have lunch with a few people, and before you know it, usually within a few weeks, you hear about a new opportunity, for which your colleagues are happy to recommend you. Business was good and unending.

She did the same she had done before, got in touch with her connections. Now nothing seemed to happen. So she put herself on Craigslist.

Marie was contacted by a firm which was looking for an architect for federal projects. She pursued the lead and went on an interview. The agency loved the fact that she was free effectively immediately. It was also a plus that Marie was willing to accept a temporary job. Yes, temporary. The job should last a few months.

Marie’s attitude was good, she treated this temporary job as an important goal, and pursued it in a professional manner, taking a portfolio, providing references, not complaining about the temporary nature. And the job is hers.

A perfect solution? No, far from it. But Marie’s story reflects two significant elements of this recession: in hard times, there are temporary opportunities and there are successful contracting firms.

Jobs like Marie’s new one are not accurately represented in labor market statistics. I hope that all job-seekers will be creative enough to see the opportunities in temporary and contract work. The new employer may love you enough to keep you on when their budgets allow it. And meanwhile, you have a new position to add to your resume.

Temporary work: still an effective gateway to solid employment.

Contract work: still the most flexible way to get in the door.

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2 Responses to “Good news in troubled times (1)”

  1. Scot Herrick Says:

    More people would welcome this type of job opportunity if there was universal health care and not dependent on employer health care.

    What people need to overcome with this type of position is an unwillingness to work as a consultant. Consultants are constantly networking, looking for opportunities and have enough faith in their skills that they know they will find the next gig.

    But, for someone who has been full-time with a company, this is a hard mindset to overcome. Especially when consultants rarely find their next gig until the last week before their current one ends.

    After this ugly recession, more companies will be operating on these limited engagements. We all need to be consultants.

    Good observations in this post. Thanks for writing it.

  2. Marie Says:

    Anne:

    After four months, the company offered me benefits and full-time employment. Apparently, they did not want to lose me. The other temporary workers here have not fared as well. The company has let their contracts through the temp agencies run out, but have not offered them benefits.

    On a lighter note, I recently had an opportunity to consider hiring the company that had laid me off as a subcontractor to my new one (!). Imagine becoming the boss of the person who (fired?), err, laid you off? More good news in troubled times.

    Thanks for your guidance, Anne!

    -Marie

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