Saturday, August 26, 2006

Is Short the New Long?

Thinking about long term job security it seems to me that a pipeline of short term jobs or range of part time contracts are the answer. Several people have told me that these days the average tenure for a CMO is around 18 months. During that employed period there’s no time to think about what happens next and then you get left with the feeling why didn’t I think more about myself, the truth is you were flat out 100% committed to the corporation.

The refreshing honesty about short term contract work means that your relationship with your paymaster is all up-front, they expect you to consider your own future (which is not necessarily with them) and the focus is on the deliverables and getting the job done not on a phoney one way commitment to the corporation.

Another key benefit is you’re above the politics; you can generally punch above your weight with senior management because they perceive you differently, more as an expert or professional than just an employee where they have to manage your expectations.

Although there is a significant additional challenge in keep the pipeline full, you get better at doing that as you become infinitely more aware of the market and your own skills.

1 comment:

Paul Groves said...

I would agree, Keith. In a sense freelance or contract work is more secure than normal employment.

As a contractor you may have an agreed term, say 6 or 12 months, and both you and the employer know that you will be there for that period of time. As you say, you might be expected to need time to find your next contract and if you have been placed by an agency it is fairly normal to speak to the agency about potential next assignments.

As an employee you don't really have much job security. You could be made redundant or terminated almost at any point, maybe just on the legal minimum or one month's notice. If you wish to seek alternative employment, typically you will have to do so 'on the quiet', taking time off work and perhaps giving an evasive reason for doing so - not really conducive to a positive working relationship.