Over the last 18 months I’ve faced the biggest problem that every consultant has to deal with – contract uncertainty and potential unemployment.
My major client has experienced a series of events that can only be summed up as the Perfect Storm. New management, financial scrutiny, confusion of direction, unrealistic business objectives, restless staff and major personality clashes; a real horror run.
This has left our well entrenched consultancy tainted somewhat by simple association. We’ve done nothing wrong and it seems unfair, however it is often the lot of incumbent consultants to demonstrate their value to new management and weather diplomatically the curse of indecision from clients.
To say this has been unsettling and frustrating at times is an understatement.
My personal position is unique, both Crazy Cat Boy’s and my income can be significantly influenced by my client as they are a major player in the industry we work in. On the home front obviously I can’t share as what is playing out is highly confidential. So what’s a Crazy Cat Lady with a massive mortgage to do?
PLAN is the answer! Ever since I made the decision to re-join this industry I’ve made a concerted effort to up our “Fuck You” money. My aim is to have at least one years living expenses readily available to us should one of our jobs vanish. It’s more likely to be my job; we are a small agency, just my boss and me, and I’m tipping that he’ll outlast me as his name is on the door! LOL.
I used to have a big problem dealing with uncertainty, but the closer I get to our planned retirement, the less insecure I feel. I think this is a combination of knowing that the worst rarely happens and that when I take a risk and back myself, it usually pays off. Most of all though is the resistance to letting anyone else have the power in my life. I used to let my employer call the shots out of fear, but the control freak in me has become stronger over the years and that is no longer the case.
Sure I still get nervous. What if it really happens? Have I stayed to long in this job, will a new employer see me as stale? God, the last time I actively job hunted I was in my mid 30s, what if the over 40 horror stories are true? I know that these thoughts are just insecurity and that I’ve got a lot to offer, but they still pop up from time to time (usually every time I see a grey hair!).
I’ll soldier on, but I’ve made my action plan, you know the one that says, get a haircut, make sure I’ve got at least one interview suit ready to roll, subtly active on LinkedIn, quick research of agencies that might be a good fit, but most of all, every time I feel a bit insecure I pop out to the back yard and plant another row of carrots!