Career Coaching: Creative Employment

Career Coaching: Creative Employment

Are you in a discouraging job search, convinced no one will ever hire you?  Creative employment is the answer!

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 will highlight two possibilities for creative employment below 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?”

Possibility #1: Networking is a critical element in a job search and I firmly believe that you should always focus on helping the other person, even if they’re employed and you’re in a search.  I have enjoyed some success finding companies which will pay a referral or finder’s fee for business you bring to them.  This should not be a random collection of businesses as that may damage your brand.  Instead, find companies which have a mission aligned with your passion.  Armed with 4-5 companies and perhaps mixing in a non-profit or two, you are almost guaranteed to have a resource which will benefit the person with whom you’re networking.  This very authentically shifts the conversation from, “I need a job.” To “I can help you with a challenge you have.”

Possibility #2: Find businesses with a mission that is aligned with your passion and job search.  Consider your unique skills and offer to help them with a challenge that showcases those skills.  When they ask how much that would cost, say that you won’t know until you look around.  Initially, you can suggest a modest retainer fee which would be a trivial expense for them.  The initial goal is not fair compensation, just exposure.  Do your best to leave them with a usable product when your effort is complete.  In a perfect world, they’ll love what you did and offer you a job.  In a somewhat less perfect world, you will have begun to build a business relationship and you will also find it easier to get their attention in the future.  Perhaps they’ll engage you as a paid consultant or even bring you onboard eventually.

Read more at creative employment and blue ocean strategy 

What they’re saying:

– I can’t thank you enough for the calming voice back then, and the helpful tips/leads you provided while I was in my search and starting to get “happy feet”….. Program/Project Manager, Naval Officer

– Ed is connector, mentor, and coach.  He is not like most other Coaches.  I found him through common business connections and engaged him as my Career Coach.  He is kind and thoughtful and has a business style that is trustworthy and effective….Senior Financial Leader

– Thank you for suggesting and making the quality introduction to Gail. Gail and I were able to connect on both our industry as well as functional experience. Unexpectedly, my networking with her supported my moving forward in several areas as relates to my current transition. I appreciate your facilitating this excellent networking contact….Senior HR Leader