Are You a Free Agent?
Are you tired of working hard for a company that lacks good leadership?
Are you disenchanted working for an organization that doesn’t share your values, but not quite ready to go it alone?
I work with many people who are considering working for themselves to make work more fulfilling, but the solitary path is not an easy one and it is certainly not for everyone. For many workers who are feeling stuck, there is a growing movement called the Free Agent economy. Free agents are people who work in flexible environments and set up their own work rules. They can operate within larger companies on a contract basis, or they can be self-employed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 40% of all U.S. workers now operate on a part-time or contract basis.
What exactly is a “free agent” and what is the advantage of being one?
Let me start by describing what free agents are not.
- Free agents are not traditional employees who work for one company for many years, playing politics and gaining skills to get promotions. Traditional employees often choose loyalty over autonomy for a sense of belongingness and security.
- Free agents are not Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs enjoy the thrill of creating and building new services or products. They see the world in a different way and endeavor to create their vision no matter what obstacles stand in their way. They literally rearrange the world to fit their vision.
In essence a free agent is an employee in a flexible work environment, and can dictate the needs of their work on a contractual basis. Common free agent roles are: software programmer, web designer, creative director, product manager, account manager, or marketing consultant.
What are the traits of a Free Agent?
- Flexibility. Work and play are integrated so that work becomes who they are at any given time of the day. For example, a free agent bookkeeper can contract with a payroll company, take a few private clients and volunteer as the treasuerer for the PTO.
- Adaptability. Free agents have varied work experiences and typically have held a variety of roles. They enjoy acquiring new skills. They tend to reinvent themselves and never stop dreaming. Often times they can shift from one expertise to another one quickly and easily.
- Expertise. As a free agent you own your skills and expertise and take them to many teams at once (as a consultant) or successively to one company at a time (as a serial employee). The key is that Free agent’s know their capabilities and can sell them well to the next employer or contractor.
- Meaningful Work. Free agents seek out meaningful work whether it is within a company, jumping around from organization to organization or by serving multiple clients at the same time in a consulting role.
So are you a Free agent?
The important thing to remember is that not everyone is an entrepreneur, but we also don’t have to be stuck in a company that is does not see or reflect who we really are. We can all find meaningful work if we stay true to what works for us.
If you would like to discover if Free Agency is for you, I can help.