Free Agent!

Published on October 12, 2012 by

Are you a temporary or a permanent employee? Most of us, if asked, would proudly say, “My position isn’t a temp job—I am a permanent, full-time employee.” Fair enough--but what if I told you the question I posed is  actually a trick question--but asked with the best of intentions!

The truth is, thinking of yourself as a permanent employee can get you into trouble--really big trouble. In today's marketplace, companies and organizations don’t think in terms of permanence, and neither should you. I’m not advocating that you shouldn't be loyal to your current employer.

I'm saying  that you should think like a free agent. Do your best work where you are now...but keep your options open. Your first responsibility must be to yourself--after all--don't you think that your company is going to look after their best interest first?

So think of yourself as a free agent. To clarify, a free agent is someone not subject to commitments that restrict his or her actions. To put it in the positive, a free agent is someone who keeps all their options open. By all means, make and keep commitments to your employer—just not ones that restrict your options in the long run. The only real security you have are your skill sets, your work ethic, your imagination, your interpersonal skills and your emotional well as your ability to navigate the marketplace with agility.

Top companies want top talent, and they know that they can't do this by withholding opportunity from them Instead, they court their employees--oops!--free agents, with mutually rewarding agreements that allow both parties to continually monitor and negotiate the terms of employment. Companies and free agents alike should never take one another for granted. As with any relationship, the moment one party begins to lean too excessively on the other could be the moment someone wants out.

Is it time to update your strategy, your way of thinking and even your identity in the marketplace? Food for thought this weekend. Have a good one!

—Alan Allard, Free Agent!


  1. Rob S.

    Alan, thanks for the great post. A good characterization of the mobility in today's marketplace -- and reminder for both employers and employees to stay on their toes!

    • Alan Allard

      Rob, thanks for stopping by. I agree, both employees and employers need to stay on their toes!

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