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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Losing your construction marketing job: Creating your construction marketing opportunity

Today, I received emails from two individuals I know well who have just received the axe. One, a marketer who poured her heart and soul into helping an architectural practice grow, lost her employment as the partners decided they needed to cut back and trim virtually all non-billable employees.

In the second case, a marketer left a relatively secure employment to accept a new opportunity about a year ago, which included both salary compensation AND the opportunity for equity/partnership. The partnership agreement had an "out" clause, where either side could end the relationship without cost or vested rights within the first year. Towards the end of the year, the marketer discovered his erstwhile partners were growing cold and hiding information from him. Yes, he received the axe, just in time for the deadline.

I'm quite confident that both of these individuals are not slackers, they were truly contributing to the success of their respective enterprises, and the employers probably erred in dismissing them. I'm also reasonably confident both will land on their feet.

The question is:  Is there a better way? I've been perhaps spoiled by the self-employment mantra, drilled into my head from an early age by my now long-deceased father, who, working 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, kept a pharmacy going through good and hard times. No way did I want to follow his example -- stuck in a store virtually every waking hour most days. (And when he at one point hired someone to fill in for him, the pharmacist turned out to be an embezzler, stealing enough money to truly deplete our family's resources.)

Yet self-employment has its advantages, especially when you combine some systematization with reasonably honorable and fair hiring and employment/contracting policies. (The successful marketer who lost out in the partnership, left a successful engineering practice to take the new opportunity -- but he left on good terms, and the practice had enough capacity/backfill to replace him.) I can't say I've always made the right decisions or treated everyone who worked for our organization perfectly, but hopefully I've learned from my mistakes, without seizing up in fear to never take any hiring risks.

  • You are always better off in hard times if you have a solid network. Relevant trade associations are great places; you can hang your hat and as a volunteer during your unemployment, while retaining connections, respect and your credentials. However, you need to get involved when you think your job is secure to fully reap the rewards if things turn sour. (SMPS is great for this sort of networking.)
  • I've always believed you should work for love far more than money. This can be easier said than done when you need to meet basic needs, especially if you have dependents. If you can, take some risks to find what you really want to do.  
  • Self-employment isn't right for everyone, but ultimately provides the greatest job security for those who can manage it. After all, you have far more control over your circumstances when you make the decisions.
P.S.  If you have sales orientation/ability, please check our site, You might find a career opportunity worthy of consideration in Canada. If you are in the U.S. and are independent-minded and willing to explore an independent contractor (self-employment) approach, please email me at We'll run some tests (quick and easy) and explore options which may provide some income security as you get started if you qualify.

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