Free Agency

There has been a lot of shake up at work, and although my number has not been called (knock on wood) it makes me and everyone wonder who is next. This has been a big one and whole departments get rearranged at a time. Seeing friends get eliminated or be retired jolts me to reassess where I am, what I do, and what would happen if this situation ends. But did I have any security anyway? Was I lulled into a false sense that I would work here for the rest of my career? Shouldn’t I really think of myself always as a free agent?

There is this great book called Abundance, Life is Better Than You Think, which in one part helps change your perspective that real security is not working with a large company forever, but rather from yourself, finding ways to add value and only being compensated for that value. I don’t know about you, but I see lots of time wasted in big companies, and perhaps the snap back activities going on right now in my company are meant to produce a leaner, meaner, and more productive company. Today I certainly see the first two.
My initial shock is from the disconnect in my future vision, where I thought this work, compensation, vacation, and commute would continue. And naturally I painted that picture over the next number of years. I don’t like to look at it this way, but it seems natural that what I have today, I would have tomorrow at the very least. Things are good enough that it would take a lot to rock the boat. There is so much to do already with so few people that time gets sucked up with work thoughts, issues, and activities. When my kids come to work, or when I work from home, they comment on how boring it is, meeting after meeting after meeting… It’s only between and after meetings when the work has time to get done.
So these shake ups do something, and it can be positive, especially if you’re in the cross hairs, but also for those nearby. I am looking at myself and wonder, what would I do next? It is interesting to think of is while I have a job. Am I being loyal or am I cheating on my company? The company seems to constantly be reassessing its work force, why not me?
That’s why I think about being a free agent. I provide service to this company and am compensated. But if the need for me goes away, I will find other needs and opportunities where I can add value. I am actually excited to think like that, and it reminds me that I need to add value where I am sitting right now. And sitting across from my buddies Dave and Scott on the train, we talk about potential needs and opportunities out there.
My fear is that I won’t find anything, and I could be one of those who drops out of the workforce, who actually make the unemployment reports sounds better because they shrink the work force. Or I fear I don’t find another situation as good as the one I have. But this is a little backwards. There is always opportunity and as a free agent, my job would be to find it, and add value by creating solutions. I don’t just have to find one, I could keep finding until I can find any more!
I am near my stop, and yet I want to not feel like a stop is the end, but instead a change point. If I hit a stop at my current work, I’ll pivot and find other opportunities where I can add value. Knowing this makes me feel better, and opens my eyes.
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