Charlie O’Donnell, a well-known entrepreneur and community organizer in NYC, wrote a great post about the entrepreneurial mentality can help in a recession:
You have a product–yourself–that you are solely responsible for. You have to discover, target, and pitch your prospects to survive. It’s like a new market where there aren’t any established sales channels and you’ve got to convince your first customer that spending money with you will bear both immediate and future benefit.
This is something few have ever been taught how to do–how to get someone to fight for you in the budget because they really need you. Anyone can get a job when there’s an opening, but can you get a company to create a position for you after they just cut 15% of their staff?
Enter the era of sink or swim–with a newfound focus on taking personal responsibility for outcomes. I’m seeing two types of people out on the job market right now. Some people are sitting by the phone waiting for offers or even interviews and other people are getting out there doing the interviewing themselves–informational interviews–and trying to drum up a sale. I suggested to a young professional last week that they get a blog with their own domain. Then I saw “learning about nameservers” (part of the technical process of getting a custom URL for your blog) in their Twitter account. That person doesn’t have to do a lot to convince me that they will make an immediate and positive ROI impact at their next job–and that’s the only thing that’s going to matter in his economy.
“How are you going to help us make more money than we’re spending on you?” is an interview question too few of us are prepping for. It’s not just a matter of having the right answer, but also having the skills to back it up. Do you know exactly what skills you’d need to have to get fought for in a budget meeting while layoffs are going on?