"I think there is a major paradigm shift going on in 2010 as a result of the great recession -- this is a defining moment in work-force history. There has already been a breakdown in the past years of the marriage between employer and employee; you are no longer guaranteed a job for life," says Lynn Taylor, author of 'Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job' (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009).
Growth of entrepreneurs
Our unstable economy is producing ample opportunities for entrepreneurs who do not require 9-5 office jobs as a guaranteed source of income. According to a the most recent job market index by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas: "The percentage of unemployed workers starting their own business rose to an average of 8.6 percent in 2009... up 69 percent from 2008, when the start-up rate was just 5.1 percent, the lowest annual average in the history of the Index. The biggest surge in entrepreneurial activity occurred in the third quarter, when 11.8 percent of job seekers started their own firms."
Clearly more and more people are beginning to think that their best chances for remaining gainfully employed are to be their own bosses. Employees benefit by experiencing fewer swings in layoffs, and employers like to use self-employed workers because it helps them cut down on overhead expenses associated with having full-time employees on staff.
Add to that the fact that there is more outsourcing these days, as well as major layoffs occurring in industries such as IT and banking, and it is no wonder more people find being self-employed more attractive than the alternatives.
More Baby Boomers will be working
Taylor also points to another source of manpower that will change the dynamic of the work force in the next few years: the "unretired". This group of seniors represents people who will be returning to work, because of personal or financial reasons, in the upcoming years. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) echoes Taylor's sentiments and cites that as many as eight out of 10 Baby Boomers will work part- or full-time, rather than opting to retire. That means that over 64 million Americans will not retire or will reenter the work force, representing a major demographic shift in the nation's work force.
What is a 'tempreneur'?
With the combination of all these factors coming to a head this year -- and playing out over the next few years -- Taylor believes it has set the stage for what she has trademarked, the "tempreneur."
A tempreneur is a person who is half temporary worker, or temp, and half entrepreneur, or self-made businessperson who runs her own business endeavor or shop on the side. According to Taylor, tempreneurs work more mid-level projects by, "gauging what they can do based on what the market demands and what opportunities are present."
This is a growing trend within the American work force, and as Taylor comments, "its all about the flexibility. Being a tempreneur can be whatever you choose to make it." Working the temp side will ensure that you have a steady income flow as long as you are working projects and meeting deadlines, while the entrepreneur side is what takes over when you need to constantly make new contacts with clients, follow up and get in front of people to ensure that your pipeline always has future "potential" jobs available; this is when you need to run your "temp" assignments like a businessperson. This way, you are not a gigger who gets easy-to-land, low-level assignments, but a businessperson who is focused on developing long-term relationships with people who can be lifelong clients.
How to maintain your job security
These are Taylor's recommendations for how to increase your job security in today's changing and challenging workplace:
- Maintain your contacts.
- Go to events, network and develop warm leads when possible.
- Become indispensible. Align yourself with your boss's large objectives and learn to step up to stand out.
- Expand your skills. "Be the 2.0 you; do not become complacent."
- Take initiative.
- Take the high road because positivity is contagious.
- Take advantage of how much clout you have as an employee to manage your relationship with your boss. Be proactive, not reactive. In a January 2010 study conducted by Taylor, she found that: "U.S. employees spend as much as 19.2 hours per week worrying about what a boss says or does." Those wasted hours could be more effectively expended, says Taylor.
- Think about how you communicate and how the recipient will feel.
The future of America's work force
In the February issue of 'Human Resources' magazine, writer Rita Zeidner examined the issue of whether it is better to rely on temporary workers or hire full-time staff employees. She found that "employers are increasingly reliant on a blended work force where long-time employees work side-by-side with -- or one cubicle, hospital bed or classroom away from -- a temp who has a different boss."
'The Age of Paradox' (Harvard University Press, 1995) represents the work of Charles Handy who, 15 years ago, predicted: "Organizations will organize, but to do so they will no longer need to employ." Now it appears that his 15-year-old prediction has finally begun to come to fruition.
The key question is, do you have what it takes to be tempreneur and enter in the work force is a new and different way?