With today’s rapid advances in IT technology, science, marketing and an ever-evolving art world it is possible to invent marketable jobs to capitalize on in a variety of ways.
Company owners and managers recognize that change is an inescapable part of today’s business world. Forward thinking individuals who can conceive of new products, business methods and new ways to present their companies in an increasingly competitive market are worth bringing into the organization. Those who can present a compelling case that their particular mix of knowledge and skills can be of value can often design their own positions and make themselves indispensable parts of the business.
A necessary part of this approach is that these individuals will have established their credibility by assembling a body of work that is related to the positions they propose to improve a company’s bottom line. Publishing a book, making a prototype, initiating a patent, inventing a new look in art or fashion or having a particular mix of useful skills are demonstrably useful in making the case that they are uniquely qualified to hold these new jobs.
In my own case, I invented the position of Information Scientist for a multinational corporation after first working as a consultant and then becoming an employee. This position capitalized on my having scientific qualifications, previously published a book on the industry, my ability to translate patents from foreign languages and as a writer had learned to organize materials. This position took advantage of several skills that I possessed and helped me develop others.
Advancing Within Organizational Structures
If you are already working for a company that you like, but feel that you can make more of a contribution that your present position allows, think about what new position would allow you to capitalize on your particular skill set, enhance it through further experience or training and offer more value to the company. In almost every company there is a position of Project Manager or Team Leader. Perhaps you have successfully participated in several such teams and your contributions have been previously acknowledged in the way of incentive pay or awards. If so, is one of these present or past efforts so compelling to you that you think it should go forward under your leadership to make a more significant impact on the company’s bottom line? If true, this is a good reason that you should be allowed to manage such a project and bring it to its full potential.
The how, the mechanics of managing the project that you propose, must be well in hand before you make your pitch. Exactly what is it that you propose to do? The project objective needs to be crystal clear in your mind, and you must be prepared to defend your proposal. Is the project place specific? Do you or some part of the company need to move to another location? What are your personnel needs? Do you want to incorporate people or services from other departments within the company? What are your budgetary needs?
Such a pre-presentation process needs to be as complete as if you were independently offering this concept as a business plan to a venture capitalists or a bank. In fact, if your concept is rejected at your present company, you might well decide to offer it to another company or start your venture on your own. It is an unfortunate reality that most new ideas are immediately killed, not because of the merit of the project, but because others in the corporation are protecting their own jobs and see your project as a threat.
Use rejections as a proofing tool to perfect your concept. Change your concept to overcome their objections and after reworking the project again, try it a second time. If your concept gets rejected again for reasons that do not relate to the merits of the project, it is time to consider leaving the company and offering your thought-child to another company or starting out on your own. You may have signed a non-disclosure agreement when you were hired. Patents started which might have incorporated portions of your idea would certainly be covered under such an agreement. Lawyers could likely make the case that anything you presented to company structure, whether acted on or not, was your employers’ property – not yours. In short you are screwed, unless there is a time limit on such disclosures. It may be that after two years, or five years, you will be able to approach other companies with your presented, but not-acted-on concept. Otherwise, you can apply for and get disclosure permission for your project concept that your former company thought so little of that they never acted on it. The smaller the company, the more likely it is that the rights to continue your project with another company would be allowed. Perhaps even a joint-venture arrangement might be arranged between the two companies about your project.
Approaching Another Company
“Why did you leave your old company?” Is likely to be among the first questions asked when you offer your concept to another company. A second would be about the details of how you developed your new idea, and if it is covered by any pre-existing agreements, patents or trade secrets. Perhaps the only thing that might be salvaged from your previous concept is that the good idea that you developed was rejected for insufficient reasons. This demonstrates that you are an inventive person who is capable of coming up with new concepts. This is a weak argument so it is best reinforced with an independent concept that is not tainted by relating too closely with your past employer.
Deriving a “Plan B” will require some time because the project will need to be even better thought out. You are presenting it to strangers, rather than to people who already know your work. After having your other concept twice rejected, this new concept needs to be untainted by any previous association with your former company. Nothing about it was done on company computers, put on company letterhead or used company-furnished products. This concept is all yours. This is similar to a screen-play writer offering his movie concept to different studios. A rejection by one does not restrict him from offering what he hopes to be his Oscar-winning movie to another studio or to TV producers.
Starting Out On Your Own
This is the approach that I take in my most recent business book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” In the book I advocate starting businesses as and when you need them to accomplish your life goals at the moment and develop longer-term businesses for the future. This book goes through the mechanics of selecting appropriate businesses for the moment, making plans for others and ultimately discovering your “Business of Passion” that you love so much that you would work at it even if no one paid you. This business is identified and run at a low level while you are employed by another company. Then should your job be shipped to India, you have your own business already started and developed to fall back on. You can find out more about my book at https//createyourownjobsecurity.com.
In whatever work environment you are in now, thoughtfully look around. Is there an unmet need that your unique training, skills and personality would allow you to fill better than anyone else? If so, with some forethought, perhaps a little extra training and the willingness to act, you can design your own job.
This is part of the introductory material that I will be presenting in Augusta, Georgia, on March 15. Part of the event will be a workshop that will allow people to list and rank what their job possibilities are or might be. Five attendees will receive on-stage consultations on the best way to go forward with their job/business aspirations. The free two-hour presentation will be held in Music Room B at the Salvation Army building on 1833 Broad Street. The event starts at 7:00 PM and concludes at 9:00 PM. Although the event is free, space is limited. If you are coming, please send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Augusta Presentation in the subject line. Those who might wish me to give presentations at other locations can contact me using the same address.
Create Your Own Job Security
Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.