Free Market PM: Getting your termination notice the day your hired!
I was lead to this revealing article from John Goodpasture’s blog about the new “Advanced Technology and Projects” group at Motorola Mobility which was acquired by Google back in May. What’s most relevant about the article for us is the section from the article outlining a new hiring strategy where employees are only hired for 2 years:
To foster innovation, Google created the group to drop a Silicon Valley-style start-up into a lumbering Midwestern company and recruited Regina Dugan from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, to run it.
Ms. Dugan, though coming from Washington, already speaks the language of Silicon Valley. “It’s a small, lean and agile group that is unafraid of failure,” she said, and it will “celebrate impatience.”
She is hiring metal scientists, acoustics engineers and artificial intelligence experts. They will work for her for only two years so they feel a sense of urgency, she said, an idea she borrowed from Darpa, where people wear their resignation date on their name tags.
Despite the lagging economy, there’s evidence that good high tech employees are still difficult to find. Yet the goal of the new group is to jettison employees after 2 years to instill a sense of urgency and to spark fast innovative thinking.
We’ll have to see how this plays out and if Google itself adopts this kind of hiring scheme as well as the rest of the tech titans such as Apple, Intel, etc. But given the average turn-over rate of 3 years or so within the tech sector and the constant restructuring, re-organization and layoff s that follow, it may make sense to just be upfront with your temporary status.
This may also mark the trend of making your employment pursuits into a true free market entity. For the free market PM, this entails that instead of pursing full time employment at a company, we will be pursing the best projects from companies and bidding for them based on our skills, negotiating abilities, and experience.
If you have not already done so, you need to start treating your employment like a small entrepreneurial business.
A recent book by Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman, who is the co-founder of LinkedIn, titled “The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career“, outlines the trend we are discussing right now in detail and provides a great introduction and strategy for those just starting out to start treating their careers as a small entrepreneurial business. I highly recommend reading this book for those just starting out (and even for those who have been practicing these strategies for reminders and some tips you may not have though about).