A friend said on the weekend that they want to leave their job & do consulting work.

My advice – don’t do it. This is not the time.
I tried long term contracting last year and it was a learning experience.

I have 3 outstanding invoices. On one I don’t expect to get paid. That is really disrespectful, but what does one do? It is the reality of being self employed though. The other is that I owe 49% of my income from last year as income taxes and that doesn’t include health insurance or retirement.

What was the question again?

If you have a position in a company seriously consider how you can help them evolve into this new world of interacting with their customers online. There are so many opportunities, but you really need to move within your organization.

I have a fascination with all of the aspects surrounding talent management in the evolving social media roles. My speaking this year is as much on that as it is on the community role.McKinsey Quarterly published an article in the end of December that makes suggestions to companies. I really like the suggestion of:

using cost-cutting efforts as an opportunity to redesign jobs so that they become more engaging for the people undertaking them.A job’s level of responsibility, degree of autonomy, and span of control all contribute to employee satisfaction. Head count reductions provide a powerful incentive to use existing resources better by breaking down silos and increasing the span of control for challenging managerial roles—thus improving the odds of engaging key talent in the redesigned jobs.

Isn’t that a great idea? Redesign jobs – I love it!

There is also the suggestion to strategically retain individuals that offer long term value:

They should assess which types of talent drive business value today and which will drive it three years from now, as well as which talent segments are currently available and which will be in the future—keeping in mind, for example, that new MBAs will be equally available in two years.

So your skills and knowledge of the culture of the company are very much assets that new MBA’s don’t have. Or if you’re like me I don’t have an MBA and didn’t have an MLS when I was at the library. But you know, it was ok.

So before you consider leaping into consulting take a look around your workplace. You should be anticipating your employer’s needs in regard to social media anyway. How can you help them? How can you reinvent yourself to better accommodate your employer?