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Thread: How to get back in the workforce if self employment doesn't work out

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    root Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Default How to get back in the workforce if self employment doesn't work out

    I know we all hope that we'll always be self employed, but life and reality have a funny way of happening in spite of what you want.
    I think all the time about what I'd do if I had to get a job. Resume'? Haven't needed one in over 10 years.

    Came across this Fast Company article about getting back out there with some advice from 4 people who had to do it.
    https://www.fastcompany.com/40443199...elf-employment

    Do you guys think if you had to, that you could get right back out there?
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    I don't think I could. I hope I never have to find out, but I can't see myself going into work every day on someone else's schedule. I would look for every other possible solution before I'd look for a job.
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    I have been full time in my business since 2010. I know that I could write that into my resume as experience (and I have). Getting full time employment is a bit of a let down though, and all paths have led back to being self employed. I like it. I like the flexibility. I'm not sure that I could or ever need to go back.
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    For me being self employed is the only option. There are no jobs around for me to work around school and school holidays. I don't have family around and I am not working for the same or less money to pay someone else to look after them. Plus money doesn't bring up children to be the adult I want them to become - well rounded and able to contribute to society.

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    I believe it is a thought all self employed have time to time. All I know is my product and niche industry, it might be difficult to get a job, and it might be more difficult to acclimate to that job (schedules, meetings, quotas). Like Vangogh said I would try every other option before giving in.

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    We have a common theme here, no one wants to go back. I actually tried it but it's a long story I'll shorten with just the cliff notes.

    I ran my first company from 1986 to 1993. Lack of marketing savvy in a business that suddenly got flooded with competition that did know how to market changed things drastically and quickly and I just got burned out trying to fight. I was doing signs and graphics which required talent before computerized sign making made it possible for untalented people to sell visual pollution. They were great at marketing though so they could sell lots of crap. That's also how I later decided I needed to learn marketing. If they could do that well selling BS, I ought to be able to kill it selling real value.

    Anyway, I bounced around various jobs until late 2001 and 2002. Trying to find a job in areas I was qualified for proved difficult given the reeling economy after 911. I finally decided all that effort going to waste trying to find a job could be better invested building a business. In early 2002 that's what I did.

    The moral of that story is even if you did go back the the job market, that entrepreneurial spirit that drove you to self employment is going to reassert itself eventually and you'll end up giving it another go. There's a certain appeal to being able to clock out and not take the job home with you, but eventually you'll wake back up and say, "Why am I building someone else's dream?"
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    Let me add my experience as someone who still is doing a "day job" (formerly a career, but I don't think of it that way anymore) in the corporate world. Even with a "fresh" resume and more than 25 years of experience in the corporate career space, job hunting is a miserable and depressing thing. It's gotten beyond cut-throat out there. Just a few examples of why:

    1. To qualify for a job, you have to have demonstrated proof that you've done every aspect of that job recently. Or in other words, you have to prove that you are already doing the job you're asking for. That sounds reasonable until you think about it: if I'm already doing the job at Company X, why would I want to do it at Company Y? Dunno about you, but I'd want to learn NEW things and have more responsibilities.

    2. Companies are excruciatingly precise in the requirements they post for open jobs, and they will nix your candidacy without even talking to you if you don't match 99-100%. I've seen companies cancel job openings and just go without if they couldn't find that exact match.

    3. If you do get a job, welcome to being pigeon-holed as long as you work there. No matter what they say they don't want people who are innovative or solve problems and suggest better business processes. Unless you figure out how to get a lot of political clout with management, they want you to just shut up and do what you're told. And this is even in "thinking" jobs like IT!

    4. Promotion? Nope. It's common knowledge that the only way to grow your corporate career is to leave for another company. However, see the first point.

    All of those things added up for me to make a 25-year pigeon-holed career. It was great in some aspects, I admit. But I went from saying "Eww, I don't want to be a Cobol programmer" in college to 20 years later finding myself STILL a Cobol programmer. Never could get away from it, until I dropped out of programming altogether. And now that I'm firmly in business analysis territory I feel like I'm getting pigeon-holed as an "old timer" who can't use modern technology and tools because so far every company I've been a BA with has had shitty procedures and won't let us use anything other than Word and Excel. I can't get a job using modern requirements gathering/management software because I don't have demonstrated history of using them in my resume.

    I never realized that I was capable of so much more until I got my board seats on small nonprofits. Then I was doing whatever I wanted: treasury, governance, recruiting and managing volunteers, organizing events, fundraising, running events.... In just two years of that I had stretched myself more than 20 years of my paid career. That's when I got a light bulb moment that I had the entrepreneurial spirit and can do so much better on my own. Now I see how much my corporate career has actually held me back - it has neither challenged me nor grew my talents.
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    once you start working on your own you'd never want to work for someone else and that would be extremely difficult for you to do so

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    Quote Originally Posted by SumpinSpecial View Post
    Let me add my experience as someone who still is doing a "day job" (formerly a career, but I don't think of it that way anymore) in the corporate world. Even with a "fresh" resume and more than 25 years of experience in the corporate career space, job hunting is a miserable and depressing thing. It's gotten beyond cut-throat out there. Just a few examples of why:

    1. To qualify for a job, you have to have demonstrated proof that you've done every aspect of that job recently. Or in other words, you have to prove that you are already doing the job you're asking for. That sounds reasonable until you think about it: if I'm already doing the job at Company X, why would I want to do it at Company Y? Dunno about you, but I'd want to learn NEW things and have more responsibilities.

    2. Companies are excruciatingly precise in the requirements they post for open jobs, and they will nix your candidacy without even talking to you if you don't match 99-100%. I've seen companies cancel job openings and just go without if they couldn't find that exact match.

    3. If you do get a job, welcome to being pigeon-holed as long as you work there. No matter what they say they don't want people who are innovative or solve problems and suggest better business processes. Unless you figure out how to get a lot of political clout with management, they want you to just shut up and do what you're told. And this is even in "thinking" jobs like IT!

    4. Promotion? Nope. It's common knowledge that the only way to grow your corporate career is to leave for another company. However, see the first point.

    All of those things added up for me to make a 25-year pigeon-holed career. It was great in some aspects, I admit. But I went from saying "Eww, I don't want to be a Cobol programmer" in college to 20 years later finding myself STILL a Cobol programmer. Never could get away from it, until I dropped out of programming altogether. And now that I'm firmly in business analysis territory I feel like I'm getting pigeon-holed as an "old timer" who can't use modern technology and tools because so far every company I've been a BA with has had shitty procedures and won't let us use anything other than Word and Excel. I can't get a job using modern requirements gathering/management software because I don't have demonstrated history of using them in my resume.

    I never realized that I was capable of so much more until I got my board seats on small nonprofits. Then I was doing whatever I wanted: treasury, governance, recruiting and managing volunteers, organizing events, fundraising, running events.... In just two years of that I had stretched myself more than 20 years of my paid career. That's when I got a light bulb moment that I had the entrepreneurial spirit and can do so much better on my own. Now I see how much my corporate career has actually held me back - it has neither challenged me nor grew my talents.
    I had a very different experience in the corporate world. I think the difference is that it was a relatively small company compared to fortune 500 types. Even starting at a relatively lowly position I was able to work with the owners everyday. I was able to learn every aspect of the business from top to bottom, inside and out, the good the bad and the ugly. The more I learned the more they let me do. It was a major furniture retail chain. I learned everything from finance, management, sales, dealing with vendors, shipping, properties etc and even dealt with some of the “bent nose” types. I worked my butt off. I never treated it like a “job”. I was happy to be part of a successful business. I eventually became VP and ended up with a very cushy deal. With no possibility for any more advancement I got bored and went off on my own. It was actually an emotional departure but I left with the owner’s blessing and an investment. I stayed available to help transition my responsibilities and they continued to support me with contacts and references.

    I can understand how working in a larger company can bury a person and hamper advancement. On the other hand some people like to be “hidden” in the massiveness of a large company. You can’t hide in smaller companies but you can learn alot and expand your abilities.

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