At least half the people I know are currently in newish jobs or in newish situations e.g. with new agents, new galleries or some form of new representation.
What is becoming more commonplace – and yet not talked about often – is that these new “permanent” situations are lasting for shorter periods of time.
- Based on my totally unscientific polls, the average length of time a new situation lasts now is 2 years maximum.
This got me to thinking about how people’s behavior will ultimately start to change when this new reality about the “impermanence of permanence” sinks in.
The approach I’ve seen the smartest perma-gig workers take is:
Permanent But Always On The Market
Based on my observations, the “permanent but always on the market” people remain in high demand even when they have a permanent job. And while it might seem disloyal – or simply exhausting – to live by this mantra – you must, if you want to work consistently. Once somebody has gone thru a handful of permanent jobs that ultimately turn out to be shortterm, the rationale for this kind of thinking becomes clear.
Also, let me explain more fully what I mean by this:
- It’s NOT tracking down headhunters and going on job interviews day after day while you are holding down a fabulous new job.
- It IS about maintaining a FREELANCE MINDSET at all times, not letting any slack set in just because you’re currently in a permanent situation.
Read on below for more on the freelance mindset and why it ultimately sets you free from the impermanence and instability of the workplace.
THE FREELANCE MINDSET: What It Means
1. Maintain a high-profile social media presence – 100% updated ALWAYS!
- This is absolutely crucial and yet many people no longer do this once they’ve signed on for a permanent job.
- I’ve seen this play out numerous times and it always ends badly with people having to scramble when the inevitable happens vs. those who’ve kept their profiles and networks updated at all times.
- Dedicate at least one hour a week to keeping your profiles on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter updated with fresh content.
- What this does is establishes your credentials and the breadth of your network to those within your current company as well as to others who may want collaborate with you in the future. It also communicates your thought leadership!
2. Keep your skills sharp and network active and up-to-date
- Find relevant conferences to attend (local ones if your company doesn’t have big travel budgets)
- Dedicate yourself to staying ahead of the curve for your industry – read, listen to podcasts, follow relevant people on social media.
- Develop your office/business relationships as you would if you were freelancing at that company. Be helpful, accommodating, inclusive, collaborative. Steer clear of office politics.
- Become the go-to person in your company for one or more areas of expertise.
3. Spend your money as a freelancer would .
- I’ve heard so many friends say “oh I would never have bought this apartment/house if I thought this job would only last 2 years….”
- LISTEN TO ME: Most jobs today will only last 2 years (if you’re lucky!!!)
This new way of thinking about permanent jobs in an impermanent world is crucially important – and even more so for workers in their 40’s and above.
Most of us in this age-bracket will find high-paying jobs increasingly scarce which makes living within/below our means essential.
But the most important advice is to maintain the FREELANCE MINDSET. Approach each day at your job as though you were freelancing there: Be helpful and collaborative, steer clear of office politics, and connect with/befriend co-workers up and and down the corporate ladder, including vendors and other corporate partners.