Dear Guru – I’ve had a pretty great marketing career when you look at it on paper:
- I’ve worked at three Fortune 500 companies and several start ups.
- I have a successful record of achievement.
- I have positively impacted those that worked for me.
- I have 60+ recommendations on LinkedIn.
- And to top it off, I’ve made pretty good money.
So what’s my problem? Unfortunately, I find myself at a familiar yet uncomfortable cross roads. I recently lost my job. This is the 4th time (in a row) I have “lost a job”:
- The first time it happened, I was an independent contributor and the project I was working on was de-prioritized.
- The second time it happened there was a re-org that would put me under a previous manager and we really didn’t work well together.
- The third time it happened, my boss died unexpectedly and his replacement took sides in an ongoing conflict with a peer and chose to remove me instead of address the name calling that I could not tolerate.
- And this last time, my position was simply eliminated. It was a start up. I knew it wasn’t a fit when I took the job, but I needed to pay the bills.
I hate sounding like such a victim – poor pitiful me – but the truth of the matter is that my career path has taken it’s toll on me. I struggle with how to explain my career transitions without sounding like I might be the problem. I’ve removed months from my resume timeline, but you still get asked why you left. Plus I live in an expensive small town in California (population 400K) where the opportunities are limited and people talk.
I’m at least 10 years from retirement and I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to sacrifice happiness for financial security either. I really do love what I do and my husband and I really don’t want to move if we don’t have to.
So my question for you, guru, is two-fold
- how can I position my transitions in a way that opens doors for me to
- find a 6-figure remote job? With all the technology these days, remote really seems like it is a realistic option and it would address the issue of limited opportunities in my market.
Sincerely, In Search of a 6-Figure Remote Job
p.s. do you outsource your content marketing, looking for an advice columnist to help out? I can see myself providing this sort of advice, my friends and colleagues tell me I’m great at it.
Dear In Search Of A 6-Figure Remote Job,
Working remotely is a great, viable option for you. You are right that it will open up doors and provide you with more opportunities and types of positions.
That said, working remotely usually does not entail a salary, much less a 6 figure one. Most remote work is contract— meaning you would be paid per project or per hour. While some of these remote jobs pay quite well, you’ll need to factor in taxes since they won’t be taken out of your paychecks. You’ll also need to factor in health care since it would not be included in a contract position. All in all, about a third of each paycheck would probably go towards taxes/healthcare.
If you are willing to work around these factors, though, you’ll find that there are a wealth of opportunities out there for contractors! If you work in tech, a great option for finding a position is AngelList. Here is a list of niche job boards where you’ll find positions in very specific industries. On most job boards you can filter results by “type” and put “remote” or “contract”.
This could also be an opportunity for you to transition out of a single full-time role into multiple consulting/freelancing roles. Especially considering how far along in your career you are, many companies would probably love to take you on as an advisor or consultant. Taking on multiple roles will boost your resume, as well as provide you with a certain amount of security— if you lose one job you are not in dire straits because you have three other positions to turn to.
As far as positioning yourself positively to apply for these roles: spin your transitions as indicative of your passion and restlessness. You only take jobs that you’re highly interested in, and you like to do many things at once, which is why you’re transitioning into remote/contract jobs. If this is blatantly not true, you could also blame it on the transient nature of startups— focus on your last job being eliminated, and imply that similar unfortunate occurrences happened in previous jobs.
From what you say, transitioning into remote work and doing multiple part-time projects could be the ideal career transition for you.
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Happy job hunting,