The New Normal Entrepreneurial Employee
The term “entrepreneurial employee” sounds like some sort of paradox, but it need not be. During a training forum for employees on how to cope with the New Normal, it became clear that the dependent employee of the past would not fit into the New Normal environment. The old paradigm on the employee’s complete reliance, dependence and “allegiance” to an employer was put to question. The fact that the nature of employment has changed means that employees also need to change with the times. Depending on your employer to pay your rent, insurance, health care, mortgage payment and secure your bank loan has been put in serious jeopardy.
COVID-19 has provided two signals that the New Normal employee needs to consider seriously. The first is that you can lose your job. In fact, the job is not yours and was not yours in the first place! Second, your terms of engagement can change. Indeed, many employees are either on a reduced pay structure just to allow them to keep a job. Two things emerge from this scenario. First the employee has more time on their hands and two, employees need to manage and supervise themselves. In other words, employee dependence on the employers has shifted to managing their own time and productive activity. If you haven’t got it yet, all I am saying is that employees have been forced into the realm of personal enterprise.
In the realm of enterprise, you must think for yourself, plan for yourself and work for yourself. A major shift from the old days of employment. In the world of enterprise, the employee thinks like an entrepreneur and plans his day, organizes his time and engages income generating activities. If you have a contractual obligation to work half-day, you can use the other half of the day to engage in other productive activity. You can plant a kitchen garden or “balcony garden” in couple of pots around the house to get some food on the table and help you spend less on groceries.
You can engage in teaching and home schooling your children to read. You can also coach the neighbour’s kids to play the violin at a fee. You can negotiate with your employer as an independent contractor to assign you other jobs apart from your previous position. You may, for example, take over the office cleaning contract or take up a commission sales assignment to drive your personal enterprise. This will require both humility and flexibility on your part. If you believe you are an accountant by birth, by design and by death you may never be able to humble yourself to a salesman position.
As an entrepreneur you must think about investment and multiply your sources of income. You must build your own house and look after your own enterprise to survive the long term. You must look after your own interests as much as you receive a wage for the services you provide to your former full-time employer. Many employees struggle with this form of “disloyalty”, but the reality is unless you look out for yourself no one else will. You simply must become an entrepreneurial employee.