When I was growing up, my father was in the construction business. Being a plumbing contractor or a consultant or even a job seeker these days isn’t all that different with respect to finding what I call “work opportunities.”
I sense from talking to many members that there are those among us who at times can be more than a little picky about the assignments they are willing to take, despite the fact that they aren’t working AT ALL.
One of the many lessons I draw from my father’s experience is that some of the jobs you find are short term, some are more fun than others, and some pay better than others. Still, the need to have your “crew” employed has to win out every time. While you can be choosey when you are flush with work, when times are thin you need to take everything that comes your way.
You learn something from just about everything you do. And, as long as the work itself is enjoyable (oh, give me a spreadsheet to do, please), and the people you are working with are pleasant, insisting on getting your “rate” may leave you with a lot of time on your hands.
The philosophy I follow and preach is that it is always better to be working at just about anything than sitting around with nothing to do. The interaction with others or the completion of a task, no matter how bland, is always better than doing nothing.
Furthermore, “nothing” is harder to sell in your quest for more meaningful assignments than a “beneath your dignity” work opportunity any day of the week.
As an example, years ago, to be able to wax eloquent about Sarbanes-Oxley when in fact you were doing the grunt work and not the oversight end, is still better than telling a potential employer that you “know” about Sarbanes-Oxley and you are sure you could handle it.
For our more senior members, it can often appear that employers perceive you as not having enough time left on your clock to be hired as a permanent addition to staff. Well, guess what? All jobs are temporary. (Have I mentioned this before?) Coming in as a consultant when this is the case can give you that “nose in the tent” leg up and you never know how long you may be there.
In The FECG, we actually had a consultant out on assignment for TWO years. I know far too many members, myself included, who have had W-2 jobs that lasted less than 6 months.
If I recall the Priceline commercials from years ago correctly, their pitch was that you could pick your own price. Sure, but you first had to find a willing seller. Just because you want to pay only $1 doesn’t mean that you were going to get the product or service.
Life is filled with choices. While I recommend weighing your alternatives, there are unfortunately times when you don’t have any. Work opportunities can at times be a brittle choice. It is often feast or famine.
When it is famine I would only suggest you keep in mind that it is ALWAYS better to be working.