Cast adrift in a fierce and churning sea of competition, how do job seekers who are self-employed grab a toehold in the dwindling pool of jobs? Read on for some thoughts on the plight of the self-employed job seeker.
As I’m bouncing on my heels outside the major retail stores this Christmas season for “door buster” sales, I’ll be viewing my shopping experience a bit differently than usual. As a writer of professional career documents acutely aware of the difficulties now facing job seekers, and dealing with them on a daily basis, I’ll be seeing the crowd as job hopefuls. Crowded around the doors, they’ll salivate for the moment that the emporium flings wide the doors to rush forward and fight tooth and nail for the goodies therein, in the fear that others will snatch them first. If I think of employers as retailers and job openings as door buster sales, it takes no stretch of the imagination to envision the sea of candidates surging forth with hope, fear, and determination.
Among that crowd will be the odd man and the odd woman out. I’m speaking not, specifically, of older employees and not of those seeking to transition their skills acquired in Corporate America into another company of respectable size. I’m talking about the entrepreneur forced to close his or her business and seek employment, perhaps for the first time, with an established firm. In this pitiful economy, the challenges faced by the self-employed are unique and twice as problematic as those confronted by more mainstream job seekers.
The greatest hurdles over which the self-employed must leap are the perceptions of those empowered to hire. These include and are not limited to:
- The notion that the candidate will never be a team player, having founded and managed his/her own business.
- The fear that he/she is not accustomed to maneuvering within the structured society of a business organization with a well-established hierarchy, and will rock the boat, ruffle feathers, be a fish out of water and every other cliché of this nature detrimental to “the big picture” (i.e., the bottom line).
- The assumption that he/she cannot take orders, as the business owner was so used to giving them.
- Ye Olde Apples and Oranges Conundrum. If the candidate generated half a million dollars in business volume over the life of his company, this achievement, which can be notable, is meaningless to a larger company whose sales figures are in the millions and perhaps even higher.
- The trepidation that the candidate is simply seeking a position through which to pay her bills and will, once a better (read: more autonomous) job comes along, leave the employer as fast she would a rotten lover.
If one is self-employed, then, how does one begin to jump into the foray of the door buster analogy, where few jobs await the many who want them?
There are several ways that an entrepreneur can arm himself or herself, and in future articles, we will examine those.