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Re: Help in Tough Times

by sundialsvc4 (Monsignor)
on Mar 09, 2009 at 03:04 UTC ( #749194=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Help in Tough Times

This is an exceptionally nice “digest” of great links.

The biggest skill to learn, I think, is selling. ”Let's face it:   you're expensive.” If no one understands the value that you bring, and if you can't explain the benefits of “your product, i.e. you” without pulling-out a slide rule, then you plainly know nothing about selling.

Companies who are facing financial pressure – and these pressures are now extreme – feel pressured to cut costs anywhere they can, literally in order to remain solvent. (They're not joking about this.) You need not only selling-skills, but good selling-skills, to make the case that your job (or your department or whatever) is vital to help the company make money and avoid expense.

As an aside, I would caution you about “getting your desperate dreams up” about striking out on your own. This is not an advantageous time to take any sort of plunge along those lines, because funding for the kinds of projects that might get outsourced to people like you was probably the first thing to get frozen.


Comment on Re: Help in Tough Times
Re^2: Help in Tough Times
by talexb (Canon) on Mar 09, 2009 at 03:26 UTC
      The biggest skill to learn, I think, is selling. ”Let's face it: you're expensive.” If no one understands the value that you bring, and if you can't explain the benefits of “your product, i.e. you” without pulling-out a slide rule, then you plainly know nothing about selling.

    Very well put -- I think I'm going to have a chat with my manager tomorrow on that very point.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

Re^2: Help in Tough Times
by tilly (Archbishop) on Mar 09, 2009 at 10:05 UTC
    I have partial disagreement about contracting in this economy.

    The problem with contracting right now is that there are a lot of laid off people, and many of them are trying to go into contracting. So there is a lot of competition. However on the flip side a lot of companies who did layoffs have found, or will find, that they now have too few people for some key project X. They do not wish to hire full time employees at the moment, but the project is still necessary. As a result contract work is opening up.

    The question is who gets that work. First dibs tend to go to people who the companies in question know to be good. Which means that if you're fresh out of work and are looking for a break, you're going to have a lot of trouble. However anecdotal reports from some people I know says that people who have established a reputation for themselves are now busier than ever.

    Speaking personally I'm on both sides of this dynamic. I was not laid off, however my employer made me go part time for a few months. (I have been offered my full time job back starting in May.) I therefore have been looking for contracting. I'll be honest and say that coming up with contracts takes a lot of effort. But with what I've found already, I'm better off now than I was when I worked full time. Of course who knows how long that will last?

    For obvious reasons I would not recommend that anyone voluntarily quit their jobs in this market without a very good reason. However if you're without a job, don't automatically rule contracting out as a possibility. If you're interested in doing this, though, do everything in your power to make it happen. Post your resume on job boards. Register for sites like Sologig. Let your friends know that you're looking. And above all, take advantage of everything that Linked In has to offer. Update your profile and your friends will know you are looking. They have a job board and lots of people don't think to look there. Plus if you have a lead on anything, anywhere, go look up any names you hear about on Linked In. What you're looking for is to find out whether you're lucky enough to share any connections. If so, then try to get your connection to make a personal referral for you. When a hiring manager is looking at a stack of resumes, there is no simpler way to force him or her to look at one in the middle than to get a referral from a friend.

    Update: I added some advice for people who are on the market.

Re^2: Help in Tough Times
by dsheroh (Parson) on Mar 09, 2009 at 11:42 UTC
    As an aside, I would caution you about “getting your desperate dreams up” about striking out on your own. This is not an advantageous time to take any sort of plunge along those lines, because funding for the kinds of projects that might get outsourced to people like you was probably the first thing to get frozen.

    That's certainly a common assumption, at least. Personally, though, I've been freelancing for a bit over four years now and things don't seem any better or worse for me than usual at the moment. I've also seen a lot of people on the various freelance blogs and such saying that things have really been picking up for them lately - far more than are reporting harder-than-usual times.

    That said, though, I expect that tilly's theory is probably correct: If you have an established reputation, things are likely to be getting better. If you don't, you may be left out in the cold if you go for it on your own.

      You've been doing it for four years, and you started in a better economy. All that I am really saying is, “don't harbor any illusions.” Contracting is neither easy, nor certain, nor is it particularly attractive. I was meeting last night with an attorney (“attorneys make the big bucks, right? ...”) who's having a baby! Great news, huh? Uh uh. No insurance. Nor will they now be able to get any:   the future bambino is a “pre-existing condition.”

      You can set up a proper LLC, build up a customer base, and purchase insurance, and even write it off when you do. But all of that takes time. If you have never actually done it before...

      “Just no illusions, okay? Good luck! It may well be the best, or the only, chance you've got. But, no illusions.”

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