Be your own companyRoger Quinn ▼ | Sunday May 23, 2010 6:01PM ET
"Safe" and "secure" job doesn't exist anymore. Although we all know that, somewhere deep inside we still believe that big company and good salary is some kind of warranty that we'll retire happy and with some money to spend travelling around.
Consequently, when your company goes down you start to search for another job and another company. However, we must have two things in mind here: there's no "security" and "another company" is just one way out. So, why don't you think about consultancy?
In tough time companies cut down employees, no matter which department, but the business must go on. Outsourcing is the key because all those companies still need accountants, IT staff, operating officers, business advisors... Although outsourcing is with us for many decades, a surprisingly small number of people think about it as a viable business idea.
Outsourcing is not just moving your production to a less-developed country, outsourcing means "to give a job to somebody else because that will cost me less". And that opens the door to you to be that "somebody else".
We are accustomed to term "interim" something: interim CEO, interim CIO, interim general manager, and in fact at some point it was very fancy to be interim. You come, you did the job, you go. The company pays you your part and there's no pension or healthcare issues related. It's good for you, it's good for the company. And these days the fancy word is "consultancy".
Who can be a consultant? The answer is very simple but it has two sides. Any expert in its field can be a consultant, but this is a job like any other and should be treated like that. If you are a consultant in the interim between the old and the new job, that's a bad situation. You won't devote yourself to the job at hand and very soon it will be obvious that you are just searching for a new "secure" job.
Consultancy means to be prepared to work 24/7 a few months, and then to be free until a new job comes around the corner. Of course, if you are good new job will keep coming. This is one side of the coin: you never know when the new job will come. If you don't have good nerves, that's not the job for you.
In the other hand, consultancy means that you are doing what you know, when you want and where you want. There are many excellent consultants who took outsourced jobs and do it from their homes. Others are travelling around. Other mix those two approaches. The choice is yours, you just need to be good at your job.
Another good side of consultancy, or "outsourcing expert", is that you don't need to obey company rules and regulations, which in turn means a lot of freedom. You are asked to do the job and it's on you to organize it and do it. The company is not interested how, when and where, it wants the job to be done. This is a very rewarding situation for anybody who doesn't like strict rules and "9 to 5" philosophy.
So, even if you have a good job, stop for a minute and think about it. Maybe all constrains and frustration will go away when you sign the first deal as an independent businessman. After that - the sky is the limit. ■