Creative employment

by Edward Henkler on February 11, 2014

Have you seen all of the great news recently about the unemployment rate, which is steadily dropping down and is now below 7%?  It’s very encouraging, if you believe it.  The problem is that I don’t believe it.  It is my belief that if you asked experienced people how their current compensation compares to what they made 5 years ago, you would find much higher numbers of un- and under-employed.  It gets worse for individuals who are visually impaired with unemployment figures of 70% or higher.  That’s the reality and it might at least double the unemployment figures if you included everyone who has given up plus those who are significantly under-employed.  That’s the downside but if you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m an eternal optimist.  And that’s where creative employment arises.

I think both employer and potential employee need to think more creatively about employment.  That doesn’t suggest that job seekers should forego meaningful compensation or work 80 hours a week.  Instead, we need to accept the new reality and find ways to benefit.  Should an experienced worker consider a role as an independent consultant or as a member of a larger consulting organization?  Should long term unemployed start their own business or find more creative consult/contract-to-hire roles.  Perhaps you need to offer to work for free for a few weeks to prove your worth?  That can be viewed as diminishing your intrinsic value but if you’re trying to break out of a cycle you need to try different things.

I’d like to highlight two possibilities for creative employment and suggest this is just the tip of the iceberg.  To uncover more of that iceberg, you need to ask new questions.  Shift from “Why won’t anyone hire me?” to “If I didn’t need to work, what would I be doing?”  And from “Why won’t anyone hire an older worker?” to “Which young person that used to work for me could use a mentor?”  And finally, from “Why won’t companies hire someone who is disabled?” to “How can I help companies recognize the ROI in hiring someone who is disabled?”

YourEncore

The first highlight is YourEncore, which links independent consultants or retired and semi-retired “experts” with short term consulting opportunities.  This venue provides part time employment for deeply experienced scientists and engineers who may have limited business development skills but would value some additional engagement and income.  YourEncore is for subject matter experts but the concept could be applied to other short term labor needs.

 Mom Corps

The second highlight is Mom Corps, which links talented professionals seeking flexible work opportunities with businesses seeking exceptional individuals.  Much like YourEncore, Mom Corps revises the concept of traditional employment, creating opportunities to raise a family while remaining engaged in the workplace.

The possibilities are endless – employer or potential employee – how can you uncover creative employment opportunities?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John Casey February 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Ed,

Great article. Sounded as if you were speaking of and to me. Been “in between contracts” for over a year now and began doubting myself. You’ve given me plenty of food for thought. I almost feel invigorated. Almost. But i forge ahead now with some additional vigor.

Thanks Classmate.

Face ’78

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Edward Henkler February 17, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Thanks again for this comment. It can get tough a positive attitude takes you a long way, then a creative approach to proving the worth that I’m certain you represent. I look forward to catching up!

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