I’m confused by a term I’m seeing more and more among the freelancers and independent contractors I interact with on a regular basis. “Unemployable.”
Yet, each of the people using “unemployable” to describe themselves, has a steady pool of clients. So I ask you, if they are so unemployable, how are they able to find work on a regular basis?
You keep saying that word…
“Unemployable” is a dangerous concept
In case you missed the memo, I’m not fond of using negative terms to describe a positive situation. So if “unemployable” is being used to describe someone who would rather work independently devoid of “boss” or “office,” then we should say what we mean. Because saying one is “unemployable” simply because one prefers freelancing is misleading.
Do you really want to promote the romantic notion that being “unemployable” is a good thing? Do I want my almost teenager to aspire to be “unemployable” one day? Frankly, I don’t even know that I would ever consider being “unemployable” something to brag about.
No one is unemployable
I firmly believe everyone can do something. It may not be a job you like, need, or enjoy, but there is something out there. Whether you’re a rocket scientist, freelance writer, or you flip burgers, you are employable. “Unemployable” is a lazy excuse used by people who want to justify a current employment status.
I’m not unsympathetic. I know that times are tough and for some industries finding work is a challenge. However, not being able to find a job in one’s industry doesn’t make one “unemployable.” It means that there aren’t as many jobs available. If that’s the case, your options are to continue trying for something in your industry and hope it comes along, or to change your mindset, analyze your skills and think of something else you can do. “Unemployable” shouldn’t be a consideration when one is out of work.
Almost everyone has had to do a job he or she doesn’t want to do at one time or another. However, that doesn’t make one “unemployable.” It simply mean the job you’re doing isn’t the right fit. Saying you’re unemployable simply because you find an available opportunity to be unattractive or beneath you, is just an excuse not to take a job. I’m not saying you should take a job you don’t want, I’m just saying to stop using “unemployable” as an excuse.
Independent doesn’t mean unemployable
Up until 13 years ago, I worked in traditional office jobs and hated every single one of them. It was my dream to freelance as a writer, and I’m so happy to have made that happen. I would rather stick pins in my eyes than to have to enter that type of situation again. I don’t enjoy commuting, I don’t enjoy having people stand over me or wasting hours at a time in inefficient meetings. I don’t enjoy petty office gossip, office politics, climbing and backstabbing. The traditional office place is not for me.
However, that doesn’t make me unemployable. I know that I can go back to working in an office if my family depends on it. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to.
At 50 years old, I found it a challenge to find full time employment in my chosen field. However, that didn’t make me unemployable. I could take a cut in pay. I could do something that is beneath my current skill set. I chose not to take a step down simply because I’m older than most people in my industry.
There were always jobs for me. I wasn’t unemployable.
I currently work full time as an independent contractor. It is a situation that works best for me. I enjoy picking and choosing my clients. I am fortunate to work for people and places I enjoy. I am happy to work from my home, my back deck, and my coffee shop. However, this doesn’t make me unemployable.
Just because one likes to freelance and doesn’t want to deal with permanent employment, doesn’t mean one is unemployable. If you can land clients, you’re employable. You can go to work in a traditional office place, choosing not to doesn’t mean “unemployable.”
Unemployable isn’t something to be proud of
Let’s please think about what we’re saying so we don’t glorify the practice of not looking for work to a generation that already has a reputation for slacking.
It’s not awesome to be unemployable.
- If you are having trouble finding work in your current field, say so. “Unemployed” and “Unemployable” are two different things.
- If you would rather work independently, sell that. Working for one’s self on a freelance basis doesn’t mean “unemployable.”
- If you have any kind of skills at all, whether it’s cooking, cleaning, baking, raking, or typing, you are not unemployable.
- If you are unable to keep a job, determine the reasons why and work to fix it. Saying you’re “unemployable” in this type of situation only means you’re unaccountable.
“Unemployable” shouldn’t be used to sell a lifestyle. Let’s be careful of the message we’re putting out there for our young people.