Recently, a client came to me with a dilemma. He had been laid off – a casualty of the economic downturn – and was concerned about finding new work. Then he was offered a temporary position in a respectable company, but doing a job that wasn’t his ideal. The question he was grappling with was this: whether to take the job, or to hold out for something more suitable and hopefully more permanent.
My question back to him was – how permanent is “permanent”? In this day and age, few jobs can realistically be considered permanent (and this has little to do with the recession). The days of “a job for life” are long gone, with most people changing jobs on a fairly regular basis, and many people opting for a “portfolio career”: one made up of several income streams. In addition, temporary jobs nowadays are often seen as being just as viable and significant as permanent ones, and they can provide an excellent way of building up a rich and impressive CV.
My second question was – what does “ideal” mean for you? Anyone looking for a job that’s a precise match for all of their specific talents, interests and abilities – or an exact replica of the job they just left - might have a long wait, especially in this economy. That’s not being defeatist, it’s being realistic – and realism opens the door for practical action.
We spent some time examining his current priorities, and drew up a list of pros and cons of taking the position. What stuck out for him were two notable “pros”: firstly, that his chances of securing something better would probably be enhanced by being in employment in the first place, and secondly, that he needed to keep earning a living, since his savings were dwindling.
He opted to take the position, and consider it a “good enough job” that would put him in a good place ready for his next move. I encouraged him to consider two other things:
Firstly, if the job was horrendous, he shouldn’t stay. No job is worth losing your health or sanity over. A “good enough temporary job” is one that helps you to pay the bills, doesn’t drive you to the brink of depression or insanity, and which leaves you with enough leisure time to pursue your interests (and to find more permanent work, if that’s what you want).
Secondly, that he do some concentrated work on building up a clearer picture of what his ideal job might look like. With that picture in mind, the chances of spotting it if it happened along would be greatly increased. And if it didn’t happen along? Well, he’d have a terrific blueprint to help him get out there to find it – or create it!
I’m currently developing an interactive coaching programme which will help clients – and readers of this blog – to find or create their ideal work. Watch this space for more information.
For some interesting facts on temporary work (and the debunking of some persistent fallacies), take a look at this article on the subject.
© Brian Cormack Carr, 2010