Thoughts on job search in the current economy: self-employment This Friday’s PDS features another dynamic duo, this time Loretta Hudelot and Don Winspear, talking about how they got into business for themselves (as small-scale marketing-research service providers). It occurs to me that this topic is particularly timely in the current perilous economic times, for the following reason… In talking with talented people who have recently been ousted from their salaried positions through no fault of their own, I have sensed a trend: there are not that many permanent, full-time positions out there. Companies are quite reluctant to make long-term commitments that are difficult and expensive to unmake, so they’re not making them. The result is that many of these jobless people are being forced into a kind of self-employment, offering their services on a contract basis. Many of them affiliate with other similarly situated individuals in loose consortia that allow them, collectively, to offer a much broader range of services than they can by themselves. Thus, in many ways, they operate like Middle Age artisans in guilds. (One of them referred me to a book on this topic by John Naisbitt, “Job Shift”, published several years ago.) This situation clearly affects people with a fair amount of experience more than those just entering the market from school, who are less expensive and easier to assimilate. But all job seekers may have to adjust their strategies to include some form of networked contract work as an option. There may be implications for MSMR students seeking internships as well as post-degree employment. I think all of you have a lot to learn from Loretta’s and Don’s experience, as they have built their practices in this way.