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The Recession, Jobs, and Conversations
for Entrepreneurship

by Caela Farren, Ph.D., MasteryWorks, Inc.


    If there’s one thing we have learned from watching nearly 5 million jobs disappear in the last year, - unless you’re a banker bailing out of the top floor of a Wall Street building with a golden parachute - jobs are leaving town. And many of them won’t be back. If you’re looking for a job to provide you security, forget it. Innovation and entrepreneurship are the conversations for you. The trend toward “leaner, meaner and greener” organizations is more like a tsunami than a shift.
"in case you didn't get the message, jobs are dead."

Kate Phillips, a personal and business trainer recently commented in, that “in case you didn’t get the message, jobs are dead.” It’s true that we are no longer in a job culture, that manufacturing jobs have moved overseas, service industries have gone global, and the corner store has disappeared into the mega-retailers like Walmart, Home Depot and Good job reviews, high engagement scores and innovation are no longer enough. Watching many of the best and the brightest handed pink slips over the past year, we now know that the only ones we can count on is ourselves for job security. And it’s not job security that we should have sought, but income security is the only security we need or should ever want.

The answer to income security lies within us. In these extraordinary times, there’s an opportunity to take control of your own destiny and become job independent. In this economy, the entrepreneur rules the way. Start conversations for innovation now – inside or outside of your organization.

Entrepreneurs recognize needs and create, innovate and produce products and services to address those needs:

  • Trouble buttoning clothes? - Velcro;
  • Need a car for a few hours? - Zip Car;
  • Leaving town? - Walk Your Pet Service;
  • Software problems? - Geeks on Call;
  • Weight loss issues? - Diets to Go;
  • No time to shop for dinner? - Take Out Taxi;
  • Need job connections? -, etc.

Entrepreneurs don’t wait for someone else to point out needs – they see them, hear them, feel them and think of creative solutions and services to address them.

Admittedly, being your own boss is risky. But so is working for disrupted institutions. Wherever you are on the ladder, jobs are flying out the window at a fast and furious pace. If you manage to stay within your organization this month, your workload is is bound to grow and change. Have a plan, throw the dice, be a self-starter and find or create a niche for yourself. Use the current economic downturn to open your eyes and minds to all the needs of your profession, trade and industry.

The "How To?" - Conversations for Possibilities:
Catch a trend.
Trends come from a variety of sources and forms – customers, countries, organizations, think tanks, society, technology, etc. These trends, when caught and used, open the door for new ideas, proposals and options.
ACTION: Write down three trends that you believe will change your profession, trade, organization or industry in the next three years and talk with colleagues/mentors about these trends.

Anticipate New Niches. Entrepreneurs not only recognize trends, but also anticipate specific new niches that can be developed. They frequently use skills from several fields to create new products or services.
ACTION: Choose a trend you have passion for addressing. Think of ten ways you could address that trend with a new or improved product or service. Run it by some colleagues you trust.

Propose New Solutions. Many people see opportunities, but few take the time to carefully craft a novel and creative proposal. Be specific. Make a written proposal.
ACTION: Choose one exciting option or solution and craft a specific written proposal, identifying your target group. Discuss with those who challenge and think creatively.

Analyze the Benefits. Learn all you can about the individual, company, industry, or target groups to whom you’re making the proposal. Do at least a threefold analysis: 1) benefits to the company, 2) benefits to the customer, and 3) benefits to the industry.
ACTION: Write a threefold analysis and quantify your report where possible. Talk with your trusted advisors and enhance.

Bolster Your Case. Write an exciting bio as part of your proposal to promote yourself. Buttress your proposal with previous accomplishments and prior experiences that will assure your credibility.
ACTION: List your accomplishments, contributions, experiences and competencies and make links to the proposal you’re making.

Leverage Your Reputation. Survey your network of people. Get blurbs and endorsements from past employers, masters, leaders, managers, customers, colleagues in the industry. Who is willing to put their name on the line for you?
ACTION: List the names of people you can count on. Tell them about your idea and ask for their sponsorship or partnership.

Engage Your Services. Even before your proposal is accepted, think about what you need in return. What sort of environment do you need? Colleagues? Hours? Location? Technology? Compensation – stock, bonus, percentage of profits, patent or trademark?
ACTION: Put your proposal in writing. Be clear. Be fair and be able to support your recommendations.

Be CAPABLE and use this recession to bolster your entrepreneurial skills. Create new jobs, services or products that help others.

About the Author
Caela Farren, Ph.D. is President of MasteryWorks, Inc. - a leading Career Development solution to large to mid-size companies including Sprint, Lockheed-Martin, and Capitol One. MasteryWorks provides enterprise web portals, training, consulting, and an assessment framework for employees and managers.  For more than 30 years, Caela has been a tireless advocate around complex issues redefining the workplace. She presaged the current climate by more than a decade, when she published the book, “Who is Running Your Career: Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times” (Bard Press, 1997). Through MasteryWorks, she oversees solutions that create the foundation for impactful “career conversations” - centered on increased contribution, performance, and fit. Her strategic approach consistently delivers on employee engagement and retention goals for her clients.

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