Why Unworking is Awesome

I recently read an article by Reid Hoffman called, Tours of Duty: How to Organize Modern Employment. Reid talks about “the tour of duty is a way of choreographing the progressive commitments that form the alliance between company and employee.”

… and it fits my own modern career to a “T.” As I sit here and write this blog from my swanky co-working space in Chicago, I think about how today’s careers are fluid, and companies are recognizing that they have to change they way they employ and develop their employees. This “Tour of Duty” environment allows the employer and employee the freedom to be completely transparent with one another about what they will each give and get out of a job.

Mr. Hoffman describes it like this,

“When I first founded LinkedIn, for example, I offered an explicit deal to talented employees. If they signed up for a tour of duty of between two to four years and made an important contribution to some part of the business, the company and I would help advance their careers, preferably in the form of another tour of duty at LinkedIn. This approach worked: the company got an engaged employee who worked to achieve tangible results for LinkedIn and who could be an advocate and resource for the company if he chose to leave after one or more tours of duty. The employee transformed his career by enhancing his portfolio of skills and experiences.”

At the end of this tour of duty? It’s up to both parties … either they identify another tour that is mutually beneficial, or both fire up their network to identify the next opportunity. Either way, both sides have achieved what they wanted:

The Employee Wins:

  • Predictability — The predictability of working in on clearly defined goals and objectives for a specified period of time.
  • Flexibility — Working on different projects in a flexible work environment.
  • Networking — Working in different facets of business opens you up to meeting some great people and connections. You’ll open up and improve your network of connections greatly.
  • Skills — Who doesn’t love learning a new set of skills? Working in a constant state of development and learning new skills sets up the employee for greater employability in the future.
  • Experience — Gain valuable work experience performing a variety of tasks.

The Employer Wins:

  • Trust — Trust in employees because they’re putting in the time and learning about you and your company performing a variety of jobs and tasks.
  • Better Talent — Attract and retain better talent with a fluid career flow.
  • Progressive Employment Model — People want to working in a progressive environment and set their own course for success.
  • New Products — With better talent and career flow your employees with build new products to increase revenue.
  • New Customers — New products bring new customers. Enough Said.
  • Increase in Profits — This is self explanatory.

Want to prepare for your next tour-of-duty interview? Find questions to ask and give the best answers. Use Your Question Rocks, the world’s largest crowd-sourced Q&A site for interview questions, to prepare for your next interview.


Originally published at yourquestionrocks.com on July 8, 2015.

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