What Are My Options?

I cannot begin to tell you the number of times that I’ve heard this plea from a job seeker, “I just want a job that is stable, steady, and has a low level of stress.”  Or, “I’d like to find a job where I can spend the next few years not worried about whether the company will change things.”  Whew!  In today’s world, I can’t think of any jobs that fit those descriptions.

Long gone are the years where a person can work at the same organization for their entire careers…in fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (1/16/20) cited that the average younger baby boomer held 12.3 jobs from ages 18-52.  I’m sure the past year of pandemic stress has added to those statistics, however, there’s also an upside to today’s work ecosystem—there are many different ways to engage with it versus the traditional “corporate, 9-5” paradigm.

For the month of April, we are exploring several different ways that you might consider approaching work.  With today’s economy, there are many options beyond the world of occupations and career title, so as you Search and Select (Crossroads Career step 6 & step 7). We encourage you to explore these!

  • Side hustles—are jobs that people take on in addition to their primary job to supplement their income.  Informally, this may be referred to as moonlighting, and these jobs may have no correlation to the type of work being performed in a person’s primary job.
  • Gig jobs—are work people take on to make extra money. This can be anything from side-hustle jobs to freelance projects based on their professional skills. This work is usually short-term and specific in length. 
  • Independent Contractors—is one version of being self-employed. You earn money, but you don’t work as an employee for someone else’s organization. You provide a service for someone else on a contractual basis, and there are legal requirements to pass through to be recognized as an independent contractor.
  • Entrepreneurs—usually desire to be their own boss and have access to a product or service that others need that is not being adequately supplied. Some type of capital is usually needed to launch the business, and the economic model translates to this work being more than a hobby.  
  • Portfolio career—is a way to define a career that reflects a collection of several related or unrelated jobs.  These jobs usually are part-time and may be completely unrelated to one another. They may be occurring simultaneously or at different points in time.  A person’s business card may combinations such as Writer / Photographer or Accountant / Stylist. (now there’s a combo!)
  • Fractional work—is very similar to freelance or contract work.  It is a model where employees work part-time for several different employers at one time. This work typically does not represent project-based or interim work.  It is a longer term, part-time relationship with multiple employers. 

As you should expect to be the case, there are many pros and cons to each of these possibilities, and each person’s circumstances and aptitudes translate differently into what could work best for you.  

Throughout Scripture, careers and these terms aren’t mentioned. Instead, simple occupations are referenced… like shepherds, a seller of purple, tentmaker, baker, innkeeper, master of the feast, herders, and fisherman.  

Regardless of what we do to earn a living, Scripture tells us that God is much more concerned about our pursuit of Him.  Psalm 22:26 is just one of those verses:  “The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise Him – may your hearts live forever!”

Let’s keep our trust in Him throughout the search process and know that He will provide. Blessings!

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.


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