Structure Your Bridge into 2011

Nancy Anderson
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As engineers we all appreciate structure and reason. Now let’s begin to design the structure of our career with strategies to bridge the gap from JOB to “income strategies”! If after the exercises we discussed your answer is still “I’m an engineer”, great. Now you know that and you know your direction.

If in addition to that you also came up with “I’m an engineer and I want a full-time engineering job with an established company”, that’s good too. You have refined your direction even further! Enjoy your job search and land the position you always wanted. If that’s where you fit and are most comfortable and productive, go for it!

For those of us who came up with “I want to use my Engineering talents but need help bridging this employment gap”, that’s what we’ll talk about today. For many of us “boomers” who see birthday number 60 on the horizon, or even in the rear view mirror, converting this situation can be delicate.
We are senior members of the trade, highly skilled and likely, highly paid before our “displacement”.

Most of us have grown extremely tired of hearing the phrase “Over Qualified” when we interview for a job that would normally pay less than our former position. We feel like asking “So, since I worked my way up through multiple promotions to be discipline project manager for a $500 million high-rise projects, I can no longer be trusted to design a two story office building?” It all wears very thin after a while when you need to generate some income.

Your bridge to 2011 may actually develop a multifaceted pathway. Fast Company Magazine comments on the new workforce referred to as the Free Agent Nation as follows:

  • “If we add up the self-employed, the independent contractors, the temps -- a working definition of the population of Free Agent Nation -- we end up with more than 16% of the American workforce: roughly 25 million free agents in the United States, people who move from project to project and who work on their own, sometimes for months, sometimes for days”

So . . . welcome to the Free Agent Nation! Let’s use this displacement “opportunity” to our own advantage. We are NOT unemployed. We are Free Agents who can target work where we please, and seek the kind of work that we like to do. Sounds pretty good, right? If you are like many of us former senior employees, our level of expertise is only really useful during the concept and development phases. All the calculations and detail work was done by our delegates.

Think about this: What if you offered your services to many different companies, only for the part of the project that you were needed? A consultant? Maybe, but I’m talking about actually working as an extension of that company’s staff! Then you get paid and move on to the next project somewhere else.

We can do this! In coming articles we will discuss ways to format and market this line of income strategies! In the meantime, welcome to the 2011 Free Agent Movement!

K.B. Elliott is a Detroit area contributing writer for Nexxt. Having worked seats on both sides of the engineering trades for over 30 years gives a unique perspective to the work search process and the varieties of successes to be had.

Ready for that next project in engineering Free Agency? Find the path to the next phase of your career at:


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