With more bad news from BBDO, The Richards Group and the entire media industry, the pink slip craze is alive and kicking. Layoffs still lurk on every corner. Hiring agencies are still hard to come by.
So if you’re fortunate enough to get a job offer, by all means, pop some champagne. Hundreds of thousands of us want what you’ve got. You are the few. The proud. The employed.
But let’s say, hypothetically, you lost your job in that last March wave of quarterly cuts. Over the course of the last few months, you may have picked up a contract gig or two, organically expanding your network while searching for a full time job. Maybe you connected with a project manager, and instead of solo freelance assignments, your team started getting gigs. Then, just as you were gaining momentum and feeling confident in your ability to earn a living (and dare I say, be happy), BLAM! … an agency fucks it all up with an offer.
What do you do? On one hand, you’ve proven to yourself that you are in control of your own livelihood. You’ve been able to thrive in one of the recession’s hardest-hit industries. Calling your own shots. Making your own hours. You are the few. The proud. The self employed.
On the other hand, a job offer gets you back in the game. Health insurance and paid holidays. Projects with creative opportunity and real budgets. Semi-predictable hours and frequent flier miles.
It’s a tough decision, but don’t allow either scenario to lull you into a false sense of security. Self employment is a hump. You have to hustle for every dollar, attend every networking event and glad hand every potential source of revenue. You’re only as secure as the amount of work you’re willing to put in.
Whereas full time employment is only as secure as your relationships and accounts. If nothing else, this recession has proved that quality of work is only one factor when deciding who gets got. Even if you take another full time job, odds are fairly certain that your new agency will have to make cuts during your tenure.
So pick your pois…er, opportunity. Personally, I’d rather rely on my own ability to generate revenue than on the whims of agency wins and losses. Sure, it’s a constant, frightening race against my dwindling bank account. And at the moment, self employment seems anything but secure.
But then again, neither is looking over your shoulder as one account after another pulls its business in house.