Chapter 4: A Futile Chore
Footnote: Employee-Plus Approach
The driving principle of free market capitalism is to get as much as possible for as little as possible. In a buyer's market this means the buyer gets more and the seller gets less. Employment is always a buyer's market. The employee who offers most gets the job. Here is how I tried to offer more.
For too long I had failed to get work either as an employee or as a self-employed service provider. I therefore decided to explore a new approach which I am given to understand has worked well in America for older more experienced people. This approach is to offer the prospective employer not only a new employee, but a complete package comprising:
- A new innovative product design.
- A project plan for realising its development, production and marketing.
- A commercial proposition for financing and carrying out the above plan.
- A skilled and experienced key employee to set it up and run it.
It was hoped that the opportunity this offered a prospective employer to diversify into a new market with a new product would prompt him to take me on.
For my first attempt at obtaining work by this approach I chose to use my knowledge and experience of air navigation. I therefore spent 4 weeks in February/March 1993 formally documenting my air navigation knowledge. I then decided to use this knowledge to design what I thought would become a commercially attractive product for the nineties. I therefore spent the rest of May 1993 designing an innovative navigation product which I decided to call Nomad. For it I produced a:
- Technical Outline which defined and specified the product.
- Commercial Outline for producing and marketing it with me as a key employee.
- Project Outline which specified the product, how it could be realised through appropriate commercial liaisons, and how its entire life-cycle would be managed.
During June 1993 I contacted the following organisations whom I thought
could help me present it to the right people:
- Hertfordshire TEC (Training & Enterprise Council)
- The Local Authority
- Hertfordshire Development Organisation
- Hertfordshire Investors in Business
- Virgin Airlines
- Other relevant individuals and consultancies
Also during June 1993 I produced a small program which ran on Microsoft Windows to demonstrate one of the functions of the proposed product. [I later rewrote and extended this as a
Java applet.] July and August were spent developing and maintaining contacts. My most extensive and encouraging contact was with the Hertfordshire Development Organisation.
I spent September and half of October going through the same
process for another product. This was a database-driven communications system which I code-named Nexus. However, six months later, when I had completed about 80% of the Technical Outline for Nexus, it became obvious from the organisations I had contacted that nobody was interested in Nomad. I therefore decided to halt work on the Nexus documents.
I later discovered that a less ambitious version of Nomad was about to be launched by a well-known American avionics company, so I can't have been too far off target. That is intellectually comforting but it does not feed the kids. My conclusion is therefore that this 'employee-plus' approach to finding a job is also futile. It requires far too many resources for a long-term unemployed person like me to muster.
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© May 1998 Robert John Morton