Episode 31 - Me Inc: Opting for short term contract work
If you could make a cartoon of me during my first meeting with Jacinta Whelan, this is what it would like: me listening intently, with ears twice the size of my body! That day I walked out of our meeting, found a quiet cafe, and wrote down everything I could remember about what she said. The next day, I had a newly designed resume based on her feedback. And a year later, when she hired me, and we worked together for 2 months, it was the same: I listened and learned a lot!
So this is why I wanted to have Jacinta at this point as a guest of the podcast. We timed it, I planned it, so that we could have this exact conversation, right now. It gave her time to re-adjust to the new COVID job market situation and be able to get back to us with the best possible intelligence.
Jacinta is a Partner at Watermark Search International, a recruitment firm specializing in C-level and senior executive appointments. Watermark's parent company, Ambition, is a listed Australian company with recruitment offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, London, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and they cater to recruitment needs from admin support to mid-management.
Jacinta is an expert in the gig economy, portfolio career strategies, and interim executive contract work. We discuss how and if contract work can suit us at the moment and if the gig economy will be the way we work in the future.
Regardless of where you are and what you want in your career, I bet you will take a few tips and ideas from this chat!
Transcript of this episode
Renata: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Job hunting podcast. In this episode we are interviewing Jacinta Whelan. An executive search professional or head hunter specialised in interim executive search. Interim executive search is more mature in some markets than others. I would say that in Australia it's probably still growing. It has a lot of growth yet to come. And I wanted to interview Jacinta because there was a lot of growth and interest right before coverage and I wanted her experience. I wanted to hear from her what her forecast was on how that growth and that market demand and supply would pan out following covid and if the interest was going to grow or diminish, I'm pretty sure it's going to grow for the reason that there are so many good professionals now in the market and so much uncertainty in the market that the situation lends itself well for an interest in hiring people for shorter periods of time so that we can make use of that excellent workforce and then decide how the organisation is going to grow, where it's going to go.
Renata: It's all pretty much new grounds for many industries and sectors at the moment. However, the challenge for somebody like Jacinta is that people that are interested in being a candidate for interim executive search have usually opted into it for a lifestyle reason and to build a portfolio career. So for example, I am a candidate for interim executive search. I am on the bench, I have done contracts in the past and I really enjoy it because I can step into an organisation, not as a consultant but as an operational member of the team. Somebody who is going to lead a project, get their hands dirty and be leading a team or a group of people or a specific project as I said, and we'll be there for a period of time and then we'll step out. And the reason why I enjoy that is because I have a finger in many pies.
Renata: I have this project the podcast, I do career coaching, I do consultancy in business transformation and I work with Mind tribes, in the culture and diversity space as well. And I want to have additional time to spend with my family and fly overseas to see my parents when I'm able to do that. Again, who knows when that's going to happen? But that's the idea. The idea was that I was going to become a portfolio professional. Somebody who has the command and control over their time and how they want to spend it and with whom. Whereas in the past I have worked as a permanent employee and had to work full time and could only have a certain amount of annual leave per year and so on. So that, you know, as I got older and my parents got older and my interests changed, that wasn't suitable for me anymore, at least not for now.
Renata: You know, those things can change over time and it could be that I want to have a full time employment in the future. Right now for me, I'm really enjoying the flexibility that I have at the moment. So in addition to people like myself who are the candidates for entering executive placements, we now have a large number of professionals who could be coming into the market, possibly preferring permanent roles but could access short term contracts so that they can have an income for a short period of time and get a foot in the door of an organisation. And Jacinta would be the right person to be asking those questions. How are we going to manage that excess supply? And is there an interest in the demand side for that excess supply? So stick around and hear what she has to say.
Renata: Another interesting aspect of interim executive work is that it has this hybrid situation where it's partly to do and involved in executive search and partly to do and involved in with contract work. And contract work or freelance work, it goes all the way from, you know, your Uber driver, your creative freelancer working from home all the way to a senior executive with a C level experience who now wants to step in as an interim CEO or an interim head of operations for example, and help an organisation for three, four, six months and then step out. So it's a new way of engaging people and things are changing quite rapidly in that space. Legislation has to kind of follow suit and make sure that people that didn't decide to opt into this, you know, the casual workforce has the, all the benefits that it needs to have and the safety nets that it needs to have to support families, support individuals who are in a more precarious situation than they would have been if they had a permanent employment with all the, the benefits of that comes with full time employment.
Renata: Whereas, people like me, we decided that we want it to be freelancers and, and it's not just because we're older. You know, my son who is 26, is a freelancer as well, and works for himself, has his own company. So it's something that we need to think. It's something that comes with being in the 21st century and post covid. I think it's a conversation that we will need to have and a plan that we need to incorporate as part of our career.
Renata: Before we dive in. A quick note about the Job hunting podcast and recent changes and evolutions that it went through doing this covid quarantine. So the job hunting podcast is now listened to in over 50 countries, which is amazing, really for a podcast done in Melbourne, Australia. Most of the listeners are from the U S and Australia. It's a week equally divided between the two, but we do have quite a large number of listeners from all over the world and that's really fantastic to hear. Hundreds of downloads each week, which is also amazing. And most of the downloads are still from the very first episodes. The first episodes were all very much focused on job interviews and I think that listeners are voting with their feet and I will go back into the basics of job interviewing, resume building, and all of those important things that we need to start doing now as we go back into post locked down, go back into the workforce, go back into job hunting. And I want to support people all over the world, professionals all over the world with those very important aspects of job hunting. So keep around
Renata: So stick around and you will find some interesting episodes coming up. There has been a decrease in numbers of listeners doing the covid right at the beginning of March, mid-March. And that was a bit scary for me, but we have since recovered and listeners are back listening again and I can understand that. And I know that this is not just the Job hunting podcast that happened throughout the podcasting world when people switched off of podcasts and started listening to the news as they should, and now it's time for us to go back to our podcasts and start learning again or entertaining ourselves again, which is fantastic. So welcome back if you've been away. I'm glad that people are coming back and listening again. Thank you so much for the loyalty that many of the listeners have shown over the past few weeks.
Renata: And I'm really excited to have such a large number of listeners. I have since changed the episodes to be released on Tuesdays. And the reason being is that I also do live coaching sessions every week and I have done the new sort of schedule for my week so that we have a podcasting episode launched on Tuesday and the live coaching sessions on Thursdays. And it means I have two touch points with my followers every, every week. And I think that that's great. So the episodes are now available on many more places in addition to iTunes and Spotify, Google group podcasts has become quite big all of a sudden, a podbean is where I host the podcast and many people still access via podbean, but YouTube has become quite interesting for us were adding YouTube to the picture more and more because with covid, we've been filming some of the episodes, so if you want to watch us talk, not in this episode as such, but many others have been recorded with video.
Renata: So you can go to YouTube. And also YouTube has the live coaching recordings as well. But most importantly, the podcast website is fantastic because it has everything. It has the podcast, it has the live coaching sessions. And if I do TV interviews or radio interviews, we, if we get the footage we add to the website as well. So all of the content is there for you. So how you can keep up to date is by following the podcast, wherever you like to listen to it and signing up to the newsletter because I could then send each new episode for you every Tuesday morning in addition to the live coaching recordings from the previous Thursday. And I could let you know what the next live coaching will be about so that we know the topics ahead of time. And if it's an interesting topic for you, you might want to join live.
Renata: They are recorded but you can watch live on my Facebook page, my Facebook group and Instagram. So that's another way for you to be engaged with me. And also the newsletter means that you have this direct line with me. You can reply back with ideas or questions if you want to. I get lots of feedback that way. It really helps me build the content for the podcast, for the newsletter, the life coaching sessions, and everything else that I do. Go to my website because there you will find everything that I do. My coaching, the online course, the new services that I'm developing, now I'm making the coaching more and more accessible. And I know that many people think that career coaching can be expensive, but what I'm trying to do is really democratise something that I think is really important for professionals and making it as accessible as I can for you. So in addition to a lot of free content via the podcast and the live coaching that I do, I'm offering a range of very cost effective services that you will be able to find out more when you go to my website, including things like LinkedIn audits and hourly sessions. Just things that can really make a difference when you're negotiating a salary or getting ready for a job interview or just making sure that you're on track when you're going through your job hunting pursuits or planning your careers. Go to my website, see what I can offer. And it might be that I'm just having that little bit of investment could make a huge difference in the outcome of your job hunting.
Renata: So here's my chat with Jacinta Whelan, talking about interim work, contract work, why professionals opt into this type of work, the growth and supply of candidates and demand from employers and our best guess for what the market for interim work will be like post-covid. I hope you enjoy the chat. Please stick around, subscribe and keep in touch and know that all the links that I mentioned in this introduction are on the episode show notes, links to my website, to sign up to the newsletter, where to find this podcast. It's all in the episode show notes. Okay, bye for now.
Renata: How have you been?
Jacinta: Yeah, good really good. We got some assignments coming through and we're still talking to lots of people, but it feels like the beginning of activities. So that's nice. Lots of volume but you know, trickling through one or two a week, which is great.
Renata: Have you noticed that after this initial period where nobody knew what to do, things are going back to normal or people are taking more action now? A few weeks after the initial lockdown?
Jacinta: I feel like people are, not in a scared state, they're not in a frozen state, so they have some sort of forward motion and then that's a bit different for everyone. But before it just got like pure survival so people couldn't really sort of just move through some of the normal business decisions you need to make. So it feels like it was starting to get back to that. But I'm not seeing sort of huge waves of brand. You have to be, you're just picking up, picking up where they executive work. I think that's impossible. But they're picking up their business.
Renata: And are the assignments covid related assignments or are they just assignments that you would have at any given time?
Jacinta: Just assignments we have at any given time.
Renata: Right. Interesting. Isn't it? That's what I'm seeing also in the jobs that are currently advertised on LinkedIn. Lots of interesting jobs advertised on LinkedIn, but they just look like normal jobs that were just like, okay, we were hoping to get this person in might as well, you know, but the job ad out there and see what we can fish out of the market that they didn't look like they were. But quickly put together, you know, they were thought through job applications and new positions that probably have been decided months ago.
Jacinta: Exactly. And they're the ones, so the gen search, we're working on some really senior people for the [inaudible] and they're, you know, they're government jobs. They're not, they're not rushed decisions. These are positions that are needed. This is just happens to be the time they need them. We're doing some interim CEOs, not the profits and mental health, which has a big caseload, but they've always been busy. And so this person just isn't the right fit to take it forward, but it's not specific to covid that it's more just a natural business cycle and need.
Renata: I see. Let's talk about your career Jac. Tell the listeners this podcast how you came about to become one of the key partners in interim executive management in Australia. What led you to where you are today?
Jacinta: I think a lot of serendipity, Renata. I think most people would probably share that about their career. I'm an accountant by background, so that's a long way from where I am today. But I love the journey and, and what I've enjoyed. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship straight out of school. And so I went and studied with an accounting firm and six years where you'd study at night and work with them during the day. So did that for six years and it was pretty high. We'd go overseas as a young Aussie as we do and got a job in banking and doing temping in London as most people could relate to that experience. And on my way home from London, stopped off in Hong Kong just for often a day. And the person I was travelling with was called into the page, to go through a job interview and I'm sitting in reception waiting for them so we could go on now to a phone call and someone came out of that office and said, are you here for a job?
Jacinta: You get the same skills as the other person we're meeting. I said, I am the same skills, but I'm not here for a job. And they said, we're really busy in Hong Kong. Could you interview for a couple of jobs? I sort of thought, why not? That day, 12 and two years later, they asked me if I would start from its inception, their interim or their contracting business in Hong Kong. And that came out of the blue. I had no inclination, had no reason why they should have asked me. I clearly saw something there that I hadn't considered. I said, look, I'm on my way home to Australia. A better, a better, at least do that. Haven't been around for many years. So let me think about it. Can you give me, this was the 1st of December, can you get me to the 24th of December and I’ll decide.
Jacinta: And so I went back to Australia and thought that seems as good as opportunity as any, and it saves me having to come home and grow up. , so why not? So I rang them back on the 24th of December and said I'll take it and went back a couple of weeks later. That was in 1997, went up there without knowing the soul and started what was the interim contracting desk in Asia. So that was an interesting time. The Asian financial crisis zone hitting it was the handover time, the Hong Kong back to China. So really fascinating time to be in Asia and starting interim business in that market where there's a whole lot of social implications to having a permanent job versus an interim job in an Asian context. And you know, this is all new to save face and different things like that in that marketplace.
Jacinta: So to introduce a brand new concept, there was a challenge. I didn't know any different, which is probably lucky. Didn't know how hard I had to work. And after three years of doing that, I'm thinking of opening the same operation in New York and they asked me to go and stop in New York. It's hard to believe that in 2000 New York didn't have an interim or contract market as we know it now. It seems such a common passion how we will work that just think that these had to be set up at some stage. , it feels like a long time ago and it is a long time ago now. So I was in New York for a period of time during that New York and then, in Australia it's my home. That's where I wanted to base set up. This is my third interim business. Either that's a 20 year journey. So I've always been really passionate about my interim section of the market. I always sat within a more search type business where you had interim hire.
Jacinta: I've always been the early adopter in known markets. , all the new product or a business, which is the venture market. So I've got a real passion for the setup phase. Love it. , love the, the education piece of interim. , love the matching pace, love hearing people's stories. That’s, you know, I get the beauty of telling my kids that I meet interesting people every day. , so that's, that's the beginning of my journey. , and so I've always been in term across my whole 20 year journey and it's been fascinating to watch that space grow from what was a really small part of the market. I'm going to say 2-3% of the sort of employment market to a sort of a really slurred field that's sort of here, maybe up to 5% and then 10% to where we are now. , which is sort of, you know, some of the statistics around the world would suggest that sort of 40 to 50% of the marketplace is now engaged in a contingent manner.
Jacinta: And that continued to all the things that we can go through that. But my piece of the business has been on a really slow and steady rise for a long time. And I saw a tipping point in Australia. Different markets hadn't priced differently. So you're sort of has embraced the concept of interim probably much earlier. I think the JFC for the rest of the world was the tipping point for embracing interim and in Australia we probably didn't have to embrace it as quickly. The whole order of, economic reasons. , and then what I saw about two or maybe three years ago now was a real tipping point in Australia. The people embrace it and what you needed. You always need supply and demand of a marketplace, but to really thrive. So you could argue that prior to the tipping point in Australia you had either the demand side where clients and companies wanted talent, , engaged contingently but the supply side, which is the people and the individuals and you and I, didn't necessarily want to engage that way.
Jacinta: And, and the real change has come because the supply side or the people side of it are saying, actually this is a way that's really interesting for me to engage in how I work. , that would be helped a lot by demographics and a whole lot of other factors that come in, to why we think differently in our stage of life. I think that tipping point happened about three years ago in Australia with caught up to the rest of the world. And I think covid will actually be the piece that really takes away any final underlying reservations.
Jacinta: Yeah. All of this as a way of working. And the biggest theme I see coming out of that is, is what kids learn up for want of a better word is the pair. The contractual arrangements happen between how someone engages in meaningful work is no longer relevant. So people want interesting work. Companies want talent to deliver on business initiatives. And in the past there was only one acceptable way that that happens. But a company employed you under full time engagement. And that was sort of it. And what we've now seen is that organisations are saying, we still want the same outcome. We want the work done and you want the interesting work. , what does it matter how that arrangement looks at the back end? So what, what does it matter what the contract looks like, whether it's a permanent, whether it’s fixed term whether it's a contract. We now have to be very odd when companies have to be very open to saying, we'll get the talent here, retain. , and that is being met by a supply side of people saying, I'm open to work in an interest in work. It matters less to me. Whether that is how that contractual arrangement looks.
Renata: So let me stop now and just kind of, bring some definitions to the table for the listeners as well. So if we think about contingency workforce as a workforce that is brought into an organisation to work without a permanent contract and they could be from the casuals and the freelancers and the contractors that come in for projects to interim executive, which is what you work with and , and focus on. So there's a, a range of contingency type workers that can come in. You would think that the entering executives are sort of the senior leaders that could come into the organisation to support leadership and operations. How would that group, let's compare and contrast interim executives with permanent hires in that sphere, what is different between hiring somebody permanently or on a longer contract? Very rarely you would find senior executives hired permanently these days. It's a three year contract or five year contract if they're lucky. Right? What's different about interim?
Jacinta: It probably is fundamentally the engagement contract. So to your point, the average tenure of the CEO, from the motor statistics gathered around the world is, is somewhere between two and three years, depending on what country. But that's not, that's not a forever proposition by any stretch. So I think we're probably further along in the acceptance of, executive level roles are a certain tenure and that tenure has been reduced. Now, the difference between interim, I would argue that your outfit is still the same. You are being asked to deliver a certain output based on your skillset. , and the key difference between someone who's permanent will be in an interim will be how they're engaged with the company. But most people would probably sort of that, that's one aspect of it. Most people would probably also then sort of challenge and say that you've got your business as usual people.
Jacinta: So you've got business continuity and history, , of an organisation or that, , for the most part probably fits with your permanent staff because they are the ones that are there setting strategy, executing strategy, seeing strategy through and you know, over a period of time and an interim will be boarding for points in time to deliver a skillset. So it might be that a business has a strategy and they will at any point in that strategy, Jill. And there are skills that are needed or pieces of that strategy to roll out. And so you can borrow talent and a skill that's right for the time. And that's lucky for Katie when she will have ongoing permanent employees who are there to see the strategy right through. , and you'll then borrow shorter term bite size chunks of skill sets to be able to say we need. , and it can be anything from, you know, it might mean you a change management executive or procurement person or an I.T. person at different parts of your business journey. So that's I think the key difference.
Renata: So I'm an interim candidate. Yes. I consider myself on the bench at the moment. , the reason why I've decided a year ago, a year or so ago to come and see you and talk about this and position myself as a potential interim CEO or head of, , transformation and other roles that you and your clients might find suitable for, for me to come in and support them is because I wanted flexibility. I opted it to have flexibility in the types of work that I that I do. And ironically, the flexibility I needed was so that I could travel back to see my parents, something that I won't be able to do for the foreseeable future. But that was a really important thing for me. As I get older and they get older, I wanted to more and more position myself and build that reputation as somebody that can, can step in and out of roles for eight months, six months, and then step out and have a break and, and care for my parents. What are the other reasons why candidates would opt into what is a very volatile way of getting income, isn't it?
Jacinta: The volatility of income would be probably one of the bigger pushback ones that we get from people because we are very, the normalised situation for us is that we are, the social engagement we've been engaged in says that we sign up with an employer, we agree a salary and they drip feed that salary to us once a month or once every two weeks for a period of time. So there's a lot of society framed around that. , and then to have sort of a volatility of your income, does require some different thinking. , so to come back to, to your question, what are the traits or one of the reasons that people choose to do interim? For the most part I find and, just also coming back I work with senior executive people. So, you know, my reference point for this discussion will be, , the sort of the same executive market but happy to sort of talk a little bit broader about what it means on a stage of life people.
Jacinta: But in the interim executive market, it's often a stage of life. So some of the things that people tell us are that certainly weren't variety flexibility and their stage of life that they can, they have risk profile says that they can afford this, afford this and more than just money terms. They are now at the stage of life that is saying things like the kids have grown up. The mortgage is may be under control. I've got elder care issues, I want some flexibility for a whole host of things. Yours was travel, some people is to run their run marathons, some is to write a book. So people are at a stage of life more than age, I think. And that's the bit that often gets, I guess lumped in together that you have to be a certain age for this. It's really not, everyone's circumstances are so unique and it's, it's what are your personal drivers that weigh out whether this is right for you?
Jacinta: But what are the common traits of the individuals I find we do well at this. , they are mostly the people who were thrown at problems in an organisation. So even when you're in your permanent job, you were the person who was given the hard to solve the one who would deal well in an ambiguity sort of not necessarily need or crave the business as usual environment where you sort of know the end of every month you do your accounts or at the end of every, either every other Thursday you run the payroll. So the traits of people who really enjoy an interim lifestyle means that you've got to hit the ground running in often given all the not through any sort of intention, not give the parameters, but you're in real time situations where things change. And so you need to be quite a nimble, agile thinker of how you solve problems.
Jacinta: The interim executive level pool often come with a wealth of experience, 20, 25, 30 year experience. So over that lifetime is not what you haven't seen, but the real reason the client is buying your skills for point in time or borrowing them this way would sort of say is because you are bringing in a currency and a recency to a problem that they're trying to solve. And your combination of your long tenure and history and some really recent skills is really interesting to the company. And they're saying, we don't have that sitting around now that I'm going to pool of people. We want to compliment the very good executives, we've got like you as an interim of bringing something that we don't have to the table and we'd love to borrow. So there's some of the sort of the traits or the reasons that people get into this. , but an overarching thing is often a stage of life that people act to even start to think about this.
Renata: Mm. Yes. This, this has been a trend and something that has been flourishing pre-covid. As you said, you've been working on this for over 20 years. Some countries have been early adopters and in you've been the igniter of countries and regions that, you know, decided it was time for them to adopt interim executive management as part of their portfolio. Now we have this situation in Australia where we were working towards developing a better understanding of this. In fact, you with Watermark made a submission to the Senate on the future of work committee on this issue. In fact, how do you see that submission and that work that the Senate inquiry is doing now that we have covid happening? What would be the next step for employers and policymakers to think about on how we progress our thinking about engaging contract workers?
Jacinta: You know, it's, it's a lovely, , and pleasing to know that the government are putting thought into , an awareness, sometimes step back and awareness that the way we work is changing. And then putting the thought around what that means for us as an economy and importantly what safety measures and safety nets that we put in as a society to make sure that this is well serving for us as a community. As a society. So the inquiry was probably the government sort of first initial step of acknowledging that this is a big part about the way we work now. And the submission was pulling together the different viewpoints of what this is so that they can frame up some policy and some rules and some regulations around the gig economy. And the gig economy is really broad, it goes from everything from your uber driver, you know, the Airbnb host right through to an interim CEO, which is the area that we would work in.
Jacinta: The gig economy is so broad that it's often all lumped up together. So when people, there's no one word that's been settled on for the gig economy, we would call out people, interim executives or portfolio professionals. , I'm not sure that's how Uber drivers, you know, what they're called, but they're all lumped into this word called gig. And so I think the society hasn't hit, defined the levels within what a gig economy means and the Senate inquiries one basis and one for my way of being able to do that. , and so it's a very early stage, really important that the government even as acknowledge it, that's a real good submission. Scroll everything from the either at lessons and the Airbnb's and Uber's, , through to the unions and their view on what it is, , to, you know, business models like ours that have made a, , a commercial business around, , what this is so that there's, there's all these different lenses looking at what the gig economy is.
Jacinta: So I'm really aware that ours has one lens. The Senate inquiry, tries to bring all of those viewpoints together and start to give, get a national discussion about how we, how we regulate this. And always think of it in terms of this is almost the Uberization of work because the regulation always follows the innovation. You would have never set up the rules Uber before it existed because it just wouldn't have made sense. But what happened is a market force comes in and people have a view, whether it is right or wrong, but a market force comes into play. And then the government sort of, says we've got to catch up with some rules here. And that's what regulation is. Regulation will always follow an innovative idea and it's the right way to do it. You need to know that it's got some currency you need to know, but it's sort of going to stick around. You need to know that it becomes legitimate and only then do you put loops around it. So this, the Senate inquiry was almost acknowledging that the uberization of the way we work in saying let's follow up this market force that's coming down the line with some rules.
Renata: Yes. Because what we've described before about the , , I wouldn't say the typical entering worker, but the one that opt in to interim executive is a very privileged position is somebody that has been proactive and has a very, , big level of control over their portfolio career and how they go about managing that. I've worked with you before and I have seen professionals that have lost their jobs and feel very unsettled about their next career steps and not knowing if they will get a permanent job then opt into interim as what they think is an easier step. You and I know that it's not, so we can unpack that, but I'm, I'm wondering what interim executive management and recruitment will look like post covid? If we will see more of that. , now that companies don't have good forecasting tools, you know, we're looking at the, you know, more rapid decision making and maybe the inability to think too far ahead and lock somebody in for two years. They might bring somebody on board for shorter amount of times. Is that what you thinking as well? I mean, I'm thinking out loud here, I'm just brainstorming with you, but I want to kind of think about the candidates that are not opting into interim by choice like I did, but because of the situation that we have we have now, and what sort of advice you would give them if they're in this kind of in between position where they would prefer a permanent role but they don't have it and it's not there for them.
Jacinta: Yeah. And, , I think, , to share, we're absolutely hearing from our clients that they're going to be thinking on shorter, , horizons that they, they, they, they just don’t, have the ability, , at the moment to sort of forecast out, you know, straight little on five years. So I think businesses are going to, you know, I would say agile, but agile has sort of become a buzzword. But when I think of agile, I think of this interim process, we have to sort of have bite sized chunks. I could do things in a timeframe that you can test, learn. Either go forward or retreat. And away you go again. So under that framework of the post covid world, I think what we're going to have is these essentially two streams of interims. I think you're going to have the interims who like yourself are very deliberate and charging and thoughtful.
Jacinta: And it's been long planning, sort of a career that is a portfolio career or do a combination of things. But I absolutely see in here, sort of another time, which is almost like a hybrid executives, of someone who finds themselves in the marketplace at this point in time through circumstance. , their ideal is back into a permanent role because that's our frame of reference. , I, when we talked through what an interim is, the most people when they hadn't really considered it most are, Oh, that's what it is. I hadn't thought of that before because all I've ever thought about is permanent. I didn't know there were other options. So you have people who have given it a lot of thought, and you know, set up their own business and already doing this practically themselves. , and they, any market evolves.
Jacinta: So you have a self-sustainable early market, which is probably people like you. But I think we're in this sort of really fascinating point where, , the, the people who had never considered this before, , because I've never had to be considering it. And I think, they’ll be considering it and that will move what the market wants from people. So they'll be coming to us and they already are, clients are coming to us and saying, you must have good people in the market because we were seeing, who's out there were seeing people available. , you know, can we have a look at who's in the marketplace ready to go pretty quickly because we need them to underground pretty quickly. And, and that's the piece where I feel a bit that's off the table is how do I engage them? That's almost the second discussion.
Jacinta: We have the first discussion. Clients come to us and say, I need someone, I need this skill set to help me. It's like, all right, we can help you with that skill set. And only once we've identified the skillset and we all get together and say, how does this person want to be engaged with you? Now it all fine was high. Well everyone wants to be permanently employed and for some, and for many that's still the case, but for the same outcome and the same person at the same result you might be the person that I choose Renata and you might say the major duties, this piece of work, I choose to do it through my own company. How can we get you Renata, you’re the one we want? , so I think what coded essentially changes forever is the nature of the engagement of the contract engagement. It doesn't change the outcome of what your skills are and what you deliver.
Renata: Yeah, no, that will be very interesting to see. I will be watching this closely. Won't we? And, do you, you know, as we kind of get to the tail end of this interview, do you have any advice for those who are listening and are in between jobs, not just the ones that are in the C level and heads off role, but you know, we have a lot of people that are mid-career rising stars. They may, they might be project managers, they might be HR partners, advisors, officers who are kind of up and coming. And, again, we'll be considering either moving into sort of gig roles or permanent roles. Do you have any advice for them as they move into this new era of employment?
Jacinta: Two things. I've got some advice but I'll also sort of, while I work with people at the , my businesses working with people at the top end of the sort of employment chain, , what I am seeing is that the younger generation coming through us entering the marketplace with a gig mindset. So for anyone who is below a gen X, they would look at the idea of one company for life or for, you know, time. It's just so old fashioned it’s silly, ridiculous, not something they contemplate or enjoy. So my part of the world is working with people who are the paradigm shifted in the middle of the game, whereas for others in this podcast, this probably seems so normal and so natural. This is how you work now. So I think the advice to people about if this is how you work now, you become skilled at your craft.
Jacinta: Whatever your craft is, you have a real commitment to yourself to stay ahead of the curve you do, to continually learn, and define what you do in terms of what would someone buy from you. And you say, almost have to think of yourself as meeting or a product because people are going to be borrowing bite size chunks of what you do for them. So how do you define what it is you do and how do you stand out in the marketplace, with a really crisp product so that people can understand how they can engage you. And, the challenge we often have coming from the paradigm with nine, which has always gone for permanent job is permanent jobs essentially a buying your generalist skills. Often they're buying your runway. So they buying your potential and they're buying your most roles or aspirations.
Jacinta: You want to be the CEO or the CFO or you want to be this role. So for the most part, you're taking their steps and there's a gap in the businesses allowing that gap to happen because I'll train you up and, and coach you. A lot of that training up capacity sits back with us now. So you have to own your interest, you have to stay ahead. You can't sit back and sort of think that it's anyone else's job to keep you courage. , and that would be my biggest advice. Think of what your product, , the real beauty is we'll be, we'll be able to do the pieces of work that we enjoy doing. When you're in a forever role, a permanent role is parts of every role that you enjoy. And these parts of every role that is sort of the more tedious.
Jacinta: And if you’re biting you’re of bite size chunks and you decided to work the six, eight months of the year, you know, the, the four to six months you don't work is the stuff you didn't like doing. If you can really play this game well, you're doing the pieces you like. And I, there was a really, this article by the Harvard business review and all without, if you want that refer to this as the Hollywood model. Because Hollywood, the ultimate in getting the right people together for a project. They know how to pull the best screenwriter, the best makeup artists, the best director, the best actors, and they produce a product and then they all understand. And, and that's essentially what interim is you have to know. Do you choose to be the best makeup artist or director of bright and then be your craft?
Jacinta: And your craft is a lot of out of work actors in Hollywood, right? Because you have to be the top of your game to get the gig. , and I think it won't be any different in, in the world. We will work, you have to stay ahead. You have to put yourself on the projects that surround yourself with other people who you do learn from. But your craft is your craft and you keep developing it and you learn the responsibility. I think for many years we sort of joined an organisation here as at that maybe a graduate and then it was, there was a two way contract that says I'll be loyal to you for 30 years. Have you trained me up and keep finding my next job? And somewhere on the way that no longer exists, rightly or wrongly. But if that doesn't exist then its no one else's responsibilities but yours to drive your own career and no one is interested. He's interested in you doing interesting work as yourself.
Renata: This is great. Jacinta thank you so much for this interview. I think it's going to be one of the most popular ones out there. For sure.
Jacinta: My absolute pleasure. Thanks Renata.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, , on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
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