The Corporate Law Group

Employment Leverage

We recently wrote to a person with an employment law question that unless they were indispensable to their employer they’d likely have to agree to a new employment regime being forced down on that company. Sounds kind of harsh. But that’s how markets are.

Since Facebook, Google, and Twitter, don’t offer employment contracts to everyone, no one gets them. Holding out for one is like refusing protective provisions to your VC or telling your landlord they don’t get late fees. It’s not usually done so it’s a tough sell.

What do you do? You want to be a smart market participant, to see what the market will bear, to use your competitive advantage. My suggestion is to (i) find market scarcity, or (ii) make yourself invaluable, or both.

The first of these, market scarcity, would lead a savvy participant to figure out what jobs will be hard to fill for the next 10 years. My first suggestion there would be AI. Become an expert at artificial intelligence, expert systems, machine learning, etc. Do you need a degree? Not necessarily. If jobs are in demand, experience might be as important as a degree. But do read and watch everything you can find that will teach you best practices. No matter what your job, at night read AI books and you’ll be fine.

The second of these, making yourself invaluable is not as hard as it sounds. Just focus and think. Every employer has problems. Things that didn’t go right; that need fixing; that aren’t working as expected; that jumped the tracks. Find them and put them back on the tracks. If everything seems to be on track think about it and find a way of shortening the tracks. Save money. Get it done faster.

Every employer on the planet is looking for that person and none would want to lose you. Make your boss’ life easier and you can write your own ticket. Too many employees are clock punchers doing the minimum. “It isn’t going to work that’s so hard, it’s that 8 hour wait before going home again that’s a killer, so I pretend to work and they pretend to pay me.”

“Hey boss do I need to sign that new form; it seems kind of manipulative to me to have everyone sign it after we all work here already.”

“No, that’s OK; that’s for the slackers.”