Harvard MBA Professor To Her Students:'Stop Looking for a Job'

By , UniversityHerald Reporter

When students asks her what they can do to prepare themselves for their future careers, author and professor Diane Mulcahy simply answers, "Stop looking for jobs."

This seems odd coming from a professor and given to students taking up their MBA so that they can climb the corporate ladder. This means that finding the right job for their career path is critical.

Professor Mulcahy wrote in the Harvard Business Review, "The problem is, jobs aren't what they used to be. Growth in the number of jobs is stagnating and full-time jobs are both insecure and risky. Companies no longer make promises of either professional or financial security to today's workforce."

McKinsey's Global Institute reports that 20-30% of the working population is doing independent work and the number is increasing fast because both employers and workers prefer the "gig economy" because of its flexible working arrangements.

"The best preparation I can offer students is to help them cultivate the mindset, skills, and toolkit to succeed in this new world of independent work." Prof. Mulcahy said. She also offers 3 reasons why her MBA students should stop looking jobs.

1. Full time jobs are disappearing

Since the dotcom bust, the creation of full-time jobs have fallen below 2 % from 2-3 percent per year. It fell below 1% in 2008 and has remained that low until last year. Katz and Krueger explained this is because most of the employment growth from the last decade came from alternative working arrangements and not full-time employment.

There is also the emerging concept of job and work. While there are fewer full-time jobs, more and more people are working on projects or freelance basis, seasonal employees, outsourced service providers, private contractors and special consultants, third party vendors and many other 'work' that were once reserved to regular, full-time employees.

"Where there once were jobs, in the gig economy there is now just work." Said Prof. Mulcahy. Hence, "the advice I give my students is to look for plentiful work, not increasingly scarce jobs."

2. Full-time employees are becoming the worker of last resort

Full-time employees have specific job descriptions. Their functions and obligations to the company are often defined in the contract. They also have rights and other entitlements. In short, keeping full-time employees are costly and the terms of engagement are often rigid and limited only to what was initially defined and agreed upon.

This is the reason why more and more companies are seeking to build, or rebuild their business with no or as little full-time employees as possible. A full-time employee costs 30-40% more than a freelance worker.

While full-time employment is here to stay, those part of the management core for example, there is no stopping companies from engaging workers from the gig economy to take on jobs to keep the business running.

3. Traditional work isn't working for most Americans

With the loss of job security, lower wages, diminishing benefits and uncertain retirement, most worker have grown disengaged and dissatisfied with their jobs.

In stark contrast, workers in the gig economy are happier and more satisfied with their work that most of them no longer consider going back to full-time jobs. The gig economy offers most of the things that drive worker satisfaction: autonomy, flexibility, choice and control that full-time employment often lack.

"My students have a better chance of creating an engaging and satisfying work life if they focus on getting great work instead of a good job." Prof. Mulcahy said.

© 2023 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics