For the last several months I have contemplated re-entering the traditional workforce, aka JOBland. I have leaned towards emigrating to JOBland for several reasons. First, a traditional job can often be less stressful (though sometimes less rewarding) than owning your own business. Second, it usually means greater stability. Why? Because working for someone else is not as volatile as hanging your own shingle (something that most entrepreneurs begin to relate to shortly after walking out of their last JOB). Third, most jobs come with a bevy of benefits, healthcare in particular. Most entrepreneurs are not able to come up with the extra $15,000.00 needed to keep their family covered. The final reason I have for returning to JOBland is to legitimize my resume.
“What is not legitimate about my resume now?”, you ask.
The two most important groups I will deal with in my profession as a business consultant/guide (colleagues and clients) will not recognize self-attained experience at the same level as ‘real’ experience.
In no way is the appearance of ‘self-employed’ looked well upon when a fellow professional is looking at your resume/curriculum vitae. They cannot verify your experience and responsibilities associated with your venture. Surely they can not compare the standards they are held to with the standards you are setting for yourself. So, from their point of view, anything you claim as ‘experience’ is suspect at best. This is especially true when there is little by way of any certification available for business consulting, at least any that make financial sense.
Down the road as I am consulting with others on their projects they will want to know where my expertise and training come from. If there is no professional company with ‘real’ standards in my background then I become suspect. And in a real way this is true. Without a consultant stepping foot in JOBland for experience, that consultant’s professionalism is limited. In my case I was a professional Archaeologist for nearly 10 years. While it is true that I have run my own business on the side and have had a hand in helping others move their projects forward, I am pulling most of my expertise at this point from my personal (do not read as ‘professional’) experiences and my educational background (traditional MBA coursework). If there can be negligent doctors who have earned an M.D., then you better bet there can be a lot of negligent consultants that have earned their M.B.A.! This is doubly true for those whose background has only been filled with self-attained experience.
So from the other members of the profession you will associate with to the clients you work with your experience should include experience from JOBland. A recent informational interview I went on two weeks ago, the CPA-credentialed business consultant I interviewed mentioned time and again about getting ‘real’ experience before consulting.
This is what I mean about legitimizing my resume. By getting that ‘real’ experience from JOBland I can give my self-attained experience the value it deserves. And, honestly, give myself the experience of meeting and exceeding professional standards.
While the M.B.A. degree can be a great point of pivot for those switching their careers (as I am doing), you will find that without having appropriate experience in JOBland you are doing yourself a disservice to your clients and yourself. Let me know what you think about ‘real’ versus ‘self-attained’ professional experience by leaving a comment below!