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Rock And A Hard Place: Denis Roberts

The dilemma. Do I continue to seek employment in a receding job market or pursue the sometimes rocky and longer road to building a secure and independent business?

Any of us who have faced; are facing; or have been through redundancy will know that resolving this key dilemma will be one of your first major challenges; and for the older employee the choice will be likely to be heavily weighted to moving into self-employment and making building a successful independent business work.

To be stuck on the horns of this particular dilemma is an especially unpleasant one … hopping between competing for extremely scarce jobs … and nervous about plunging into the uncertain world of self-employment with the not knowing of whether or not you will succeed as an independent … not knowing which way to turn … really feeling the financial pressures growing day-by-day and … going round in ever decreasing circles … and beginning to fear you have hit a dead-end … lost without hope.

You are not alone and anyone who has made a successful transition into self-employment and building an independent business will have found a way of addressing this particular challenge.

The context. This is a challenge that more and more people will be facing as employment per se becomes increasingly redundant.  The current Internet revolution is fuelling the eventual redundancy of employment itself via a pincer process:

1)       One the one hand, the infrastructure now exists that enables the self-employed individual to become the fundamental business unit and build a global business from home.

2)       On the other hand, virtual organisation and automation will strip out whole swathes of middle management and staff by:

a)      Replacing staff with top flight and interactive information and training videos

b)      Globally outsourcing other functions to independent contractors operating from within the cheapest labour markets (call centres being a good example).

c)      Automation – i.e. purchasing your cinema ticket online and paying a premium for the privilege.

The Purpose – To share support and advice. The above dilemma represents a critical milestone for anyone on the journey from a job you can no longer depend on to becoming self-employed and independent.  The purpose of this article is to share support and advice surrounding this particular dilemma; and, more important, open a discussion in which you can seek and share mutual support and advice from your own experience.

I hope you will find the following support and advice useful:

1) Firstly, I would like to send a gift of good will and hope that you will be able to find whatever strength and support it takes to hang on in there; and not be afraid to ask for support and advice.

2) Next, I would like to introduce you to an ancient Chinese saying that roughly translates “Crisis is Opportunity”.

3) Then, invite you to create a suitable space and quality of attention to dig deep and reflect and contemplate on the following questions:

a) What do I most want to do with my life?
b) Where can I be of most service?
c) What is it that I do best that enables me to be of most value?
d) Who would I most like to work with?
e) What is my goal in work and what would I most like to achieve?

Answering these questions will enable you to form a vision of what you want to do – a vision that will be there to constantly draw upon and illuminate the path towards your goals.

4) Write your vision statement and start your day by reading / refining it

Remember, success is merely a state-of-mind and one that is achieved by building and maintaining an increasingly sustainable positive outlook.

5) Success is achieved through the twin-discipline of only focusing on the positive track and being decisive. This means solely focusing on your vision, goals and what you want to achieve and not wasting a single ounce of energy on something you do not want; as this is only likely to open the door to undermining negative thoughts and prevarication.

If you have opted for the job-hunting market, then the same independent and positive approach is still required.  You will still be seeking the job that most closely matches your vision and passion.  There is a very simple exercise you can carry out to build your positivity. When you first pick up that job advert what is the first piece of information you head for … Is it what you can do or what you can’t do? If it is what you can’t do then you are approaching job hunting from a negative viewpoint and quite possibly are eliminating viable opportunities before you even get started.

6) Through this simple yet difficult exercise reverse your behaviour and habit. Start with what most appeals about the job and then, feature-by-feature and requirement-by-requirement; work your way through listing each feature and requirement in an order that reflects what you most like about the job; and what fits most closely with your goals and what you want to achieve. (At this stage in the process suspend judgement on what you think you can and cannot do.)

Next, review your capabilities and identify essential and desirable requirements. Let’s imagine you have a perfect match, bar one particular essential requirement – experience / qualification in a specific piece of software – and then ask yourself the question how am I going to address this? Where there is a will there is a way and most likely there is a training programme you can commit to and perhaps even complete prior to the start date?

7) Create a team support and development mechanism for yourself such as building a peer-mentoring relationship. Isolation can be a real killer resulting in loss of motivation, confidence and direction; and be aware that the degree to which you feel you might of hit a dead-end is predominantly a measure of your isolation and a signal to make contact. Teaming up, having a sounding board and someone to encourage you and share the load; someone to make public your commitments to; a witness to hold you accountable to the pledges you make to yourselves in your journey to success … can all contribute to reinforcing commitment and galvanising crucial decisions and actions.  A relationship that will provide structure as you pass the various milestones in your transition and transformation from a job you can no longer depend on to achieving independence (or to asserting and negotiating the criteria of a job you really want to do).

For further information please contact me at enquiries@peermenta.me.uk

If you think I can be of service, please let me know in what way you would like me to be of use?

Please contact me at enquiries@menta.me.uk.   As part of my practice, I have set aside a limited number of 30 min Vocational Mentoring Sessions at no charge and subject to availability. Please email me to apply and let me know in what way you would like me to be of use?

Wishing You Every Success!

Denis Roberts

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