How to Create Your Own Position – Part Three


Last time I mentioned how most places wouldn’t turn away free help to create a new position. That is, not just volunteering your time to suggest what a new position would necessitate, but also to do the work for free. That’s one way to make it appealing to a company.

But there are lots more elements at play than just dollars and cents. For example, you should weigh whether it makes sense for the company do make such a move. As in, is it a good time for this position to be created?

“If your company is in the middle of a merger, a larger internal change out of the ordinary that comes on the radar probably won’t fly,” said author John Dowd Jr. “But if the department is making budget and everyone is happy, that can make the difference and selling up a change that could create more revenue or provide a solution that can create a tighter, more efficient ship that could save money [should work].”

So, let’s say the timing is right. I mentioned before that you should do a presentation, but what should it entail?

“Your presentation should first be verbal and in-person,” said Bettina Seidman, president of SEIDBET Associates Career Coaching. “Make sure you are talking to the appropriate person - a decision-maker who will understand your thinking.”

Above all else, with your presentation and in that initial meeting, be pragmatic and focus on how your work so far with the company (or experience outside it) have led you to draw this conclusion and why you believe the company you’re pitching is perfectly positioned to take on this challenge. Don’t focus on salary or how much you’ll need — think of it as an exploratory job interview: You’re approaching it from how you can help in the most hypothetical and ideal scenario. It’s your big shot, so shoot high and think about how else this could grow.

But you should also temper your expectations and understand that companies, even startups, may not be extremely nimble. It might take additional meetings on their side, and then more with you, to further discuss it. And then there’s all the bureaucracy involved with creating a position and working someone new into the organization. Be patient, and understand you might be starting off with a super-light version of what you envisioned originally. But like the kitty on the poster says: Hang in there.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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