So, the big opportunity you’ve been waiting for is here – they’re talking about redundancies, nice big severance packages to give you some breathing space while you get your new consultancy business established. You’re great at what you do, an expert in your field, and you’re fed up with working alongside high-paid consultants and contractors at a fraction of the daily rate they’re getting. So bring it on!!
Are you really ready for it? Let’s examine a few of the issues you’ll need to deal with.
What infrastructure are you going to need? For example, Who’s going to raise the invoices? Who’s going to chase the invoices? No friendly (to you, anyway) ‘accounts receivable’ team to rely on. Who’s going to make sure the bills get paid, and who’s going to decide which suppliers have to wait when cashflow doesn’t quite work out – as it won’t? No treasury department allowing you to ‘borrow just a bit’ from next month’s budget.
Who’s going to keep your computer running when it starts slowing down to a crawl, or make sure you can sync your e-mails to your crackberry or whyphone? No friendly (OK, not even to you) geeks in the IT department to ‘just make it work’. Talking of helpful people (yes, I know we weren’t), what about the grapevine – where’s your ‘market intel’ going to come from? No watercooler or coffee-machine moments for you now, just the morass of the ‘social media’ sites and the rampant cholesterol of breakfast networking.
What’s your marketing message going to be, your ‘unique proposition’? Who’s going to write it, and who’s going to design your website and your flyers? No ‘airy-fairy’ marketing department hanging on your every word (as if!). And what about new business – less euphemistically known as “Sales”? How are you going to keep the pipeline full AND deliver the work at the same time? No road warriors in their trusty Toymota repmobiles out there slaying the dragons of poverty for *you*.
OK, that may be slightly overstating the case, but if you’re not ready for more than a little uncertainty and isolation, then going out on your own may not be right for you.
Don’t get me wrong, anyone who’s been reading my work for any time at all will know that I’m all for people following their passion and doing work that makes their heart sing. It’s just that there may be other ways to acheive that, without launching yourself out into the void of self-unemployment.
Sometimes I have to tell clients to hold on, to learn (or maybe remember) how to enjoy their current work, while they plan their exit properly. They may see this opportunity to take a package as one that won’t come again – in my experience, it’s never that hard to become surplus to requirements if you really want to. And even if they’re right, they may still be better off right now, looking for another employed position to keep things running until the ‘big opportunity’ is really ready.
So before you grab at that shiny severance package with all those lovely zeros after it, maybe you’d better just ask yourself just why it’s there.