Skip to content

The three jobs career model

February 26, 2009

I’m sure there is plenty of advice going around about how to “recession proof” your job.    Since I first entered the work force, I’ve found my next opportunities through a combination of personal networking and intuitive decision making.  

A manager once told me that the best way to make moves was to start doing the job you want next while performing  the job you have now.   Don’t apply for a job – demonstrate competance and readiness to perform and then it is easier to assume it than apply for it. 

Call this a two job model – working  the job you have and the next one you want.    This has been a fair recipe for my personal success to this point.   Aside from the time investment, there is really no downside to working outside your direct job scope yet within your sphere of influence.  But what should happen if the job you have today is eliminated before you are ready and able to assume the next one?    In this economy,  I think my model needs revision to include a third job – the contingency plan “B”  job.   

Plan B scenarios used to be idly discussed by people over coffee with a friend and was  often characterized by comments like  “I could always go back to school” or “Sometimes I miss teaching…”     These days,  Plan B  is less a vague notion and more a strategic imperative – a side business, a silent partnership, an actively pursued hedge.  

The three jobs success model might then be summarized:

  • Execute existing job responsibilities efficiently – focus on results and communication. 
  • Identify next most advantageous position – seek and perform additional work aligned with that position – demonstrate competence
  • Develop and execute a contingency plan.  Start a new job or business part time that you could expand  full time .   Don’t wait to start it during the crisis of displacement.  

As for me, I’m having a blast right now with my present responsibilities as well as some exploration at the edge of the envelope – who knows what might be possible in time – but I also need to carve out some personal time to realize and launch my plan B.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 27, 2009 2:07 am


    It sounds like you’ll be honing the SwissChamp on the grindstone soon.   I need to do the same.   The tools are there but it’s still up to me to make them sharp.

    My backup plans started a few years ago — long before the economy decided to crap all over itself.   However, even with backup plans in motion, I still can’t help but feel slightly unprepared.

    Given the number of irons I have in various fires, I think I’m at about a 3- to 4-job career model right now.   It was around a 2.75 until I got a hint of yet another possible path relayed to me in conversation last week and decided to rekindle an idea which I dropped a few years ago.   Which path I take is still unknown.   Each path carries potential factors of risk, fear, and uncertainty on their own, making sorting the wheat from the chaff even more important.

    Anymore, it seems like everything I do is done to apply to a future career in one way or another.   I miss the days when the future didn’t matter so much.   Then again, I look forward to the future no matter how uncertain it may be. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: