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Cats and Dogs

When I was a kid I made the observation that some people acted like cats and some people acted like dogs. Cat people were independent and maybe even a bit unreliable. Dog people were amazingly loyal and steadfast. You could really count on your dog friends, but there was something elusive about the cat friends, which was strangely appealing.
I still think about this categorization process from time to time. There are cat people and dog people in my life today. And, just like my actual feline and canine family members I appreciate what each brings to the relationship. It is great that cats can take care of themselves so well, but it is also great that a dog can make such a faithful companion.
The same set of characteristics that differentiate a Maine Coon from a Chesapeake Retriever also apply in the work place. Some are really good on their own and some need to belong. One dimension of this is related to the type of employment that is desirable. For example, for those of you who are facing the prospect of an impending layoff you may be pondering the opportunities provided by free lancing rather than looking for another employer.
For some the idea of being on one’s own is extremely appealing – no boss, no politics, no working for somebody else. For others this is terrifying – no security, no coworkers, no regular income. I think this is one of those dog and cat differences. Cats are going to be more comfortable on their own. Dogs are going to look for another place to join.
I have had the chance to work in both situations and I have discovered that I am definitely a dog – perhaps a German Shepherd, but with the desire to run with a pack. There are benefits in numbers. But I have friends who do better and are more comfortable running their own show. If you are not sure where you fall on the continuum it can be a risky experiment. However, if you do some self reflection and you come back with the feeling that going out as an independent consultant fits you, I strongly encourage it. If you get squeamish, it is probably better for you to be banging on the job boards.
Good luck with your decision.


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