In the face of the world disasters surrounding 2010 and 2011, the globe has experienced tsunami's, earthquakes, floods and fires that have destroyed communities, families and ecosystems at uncanny scales and frequencies. Conversely, in the face of unstable global economies, individuals and companies have experienced a myriad of personal and corporate disasters. In response we have witnessed rebuilding efforts on massive scales and reinvention has followed for the countries, regions, individuals and businesses affected.
Disaster and destruction are never permanent, something new always evolves in their paths. Not to wax scientific here, but lets just say that regeneration is mother nature's built-in and best defense. As nature rebuilds, people do too, when it comes to business and career, I like to think that reinvention is their best defense.
With executive level employees and their mandates being outsourced and downsized at alarming rates, we are seeing increasing numbers of people with 20+ years of work experience facing unexpected unemployment. A feeling of loss and failure coupled with worries about coming to an end of a cycle in their lives is inevitable. Many feel like their careers are over, there is a daunting sense of what's next, how will I survive? I liken this phase of an executive's career development to a personal tsunami. The wave has been building slowly and then suddenly it appears. There's little to no preparation for what has hit you.
Work force infographics tell us that executives facing weak markets for full-time employment have been forced to consider working freelance as either self-employed consultants or, as owner operators of their own businesses. Here is where we see a golden opportunity, an opportunity to reinvent. Forced maybe, but the outcome can be exhilarating and lead to a whole new way of life.
Reinvention doesn't have to be done solo, and at the executive level it shouldn't be. Coaches and Personal Branding Strategists are champions of hanging a shingle and going out on their own. The key here is embracing the option while bolstering confidence and strategy around the whole concept. Groups like HAPPEN across Canada for example, are phenomenal support groups.
As freelance and self-employed talent now floods the market, employers are building best practices around retention and attraction of self-employed talent. Between mitigating the risks of full-time hires and benefiting from the proven innovation and specialization offered by the self-employed workforce, we may be seeing more than just executives reinventing here. Companies like Microsoft and more recently, Caterpillar are driven mostly by self-employed talent.
As more and more large scale corporations make the choice to hire this way, we'll see the statistics reflected in work force and human capital studies. Here at our Interim Executive Management practice, we spend a large portion of our days working with individuals in transition and coaching them on the many benefits of working for yourself, as a sole proprietor or incorporated entity. Between the flexibility and tax breaks and the excitement of working with multiple clients, many executives who turn to being Interim Executives as a temporary option never turn back once they see the personal and financial benefits. On the flip side, many of our clients count on our interim talent for renewed business strategy, transformation and change.
As in life, all things are cyclical, and with every end, there is always a new beginning. If you experience a personal tsunami, having faith in knowing that you can rebuild and reinvent is half the battle. In fact, a journey to YouTube may do the trick, just punch in "reinvention" and enjoy the ride. Once you have the desire, there are a myriad ways to get started. Embrace the change and it will embrace you.
By the way, if you have reinvented yourself or have stories about companies who have, I'd like to hear from you or your colleagues.