This is not the job I ordered

Written by Caroline Dowd-Higgins. Posted in Featured

Published on March 20, 2012 with No Comments

You’ve heard of the Plan A career path: Go to a good college and get a great professional job. It all sounds fabulous until you get pink slipped or laid-off, which is what happened to many during the recession.  

Perhaps you’ve even experienced the Plan B career path: Declare yourself a full-time entrepreneur.  Work twice as hard as you did as a professional, for half as much money.  So now you are tired and frustrated. Eventually you run out of money and close your business, broke. 

According to Dr. Erin Albert, author, professor, entrepreneur, and law student, you’ve got a new option. Albert has written about the new Plan Ccareer path:  Don’t leave your day job. Keep it. Don’t give up the entrepreneurial dream, either. Keep that, too. Do both.

In her new book, “Plan C: The Full-Time Employee and Part-Time Entrepreneur,” Albert redefines the American dream and its endless possibilities.

The New World of Entrepreneurship

I always knew my career path was different.  I thought I was alone as a Plan C professional who juggles a day job with a sideline business. Now I realize I am part of a growing population taking advantage of the financial stability of a full-time job while also pursuing a career passion in the form of an entrepreneurial venture.

It’s all about having choices. People have been creative and innovative with their careers since the economic downturn.  And the Plan C option empowers workers to design a scenario that taps their strengths and plays to their passions like never before.

The all-or-nothing entrepreneurial model used to curtail some budding business owners from flexing their solopreneurial muscles. This new concept allows for flexibility and a way for organizations to retain top talent on their payroll while encouraging their employees to pursue sideline ventures. The Plan C-ers benefit from seeing the bigger picture of big business by being entrepreneurs themselves. They also access networks, social capital, and connections in the community that bring value to their day job, according to Albert.

Don’t Put All Your Career Eggs in One Basket

Albert unearthed some interesting trends interviewing Plan C professionals for her book.
“Some view their entrepreneurial endeavor as an ‘investment’ in themselves and their futures.  For example, Brian Chamberlin of Atigo, Inc. lives frugally and invested a lot of his own personal capital into his business, which is working on a drowsy driving prevention technology for autos.  He’s investing in his future in his opinion, by working on his part-time business.”

But what about the endgame?  Can one be a lifelong Plan C-er? According to Albert:
“The Plan C-ers I interviewed ultimately wanted to end up down one of two distinct paths.  They either wanted to ultimately get to the goal of full-time entrepreneurship, or, they wanted to continue to keep the professional day job and grow the business of their own on the side.  Crystal Grave of had a plan in transitioning from her full-time day job into her part-time and ultimately full-time business.  She articulated a clear plan with her day job employer, and they worked with her, because she was a great employee, but she also became a client of her day job when she became a business owner.”

You Always Have Choices

The good news is that you never have to pick one lifelong profession. With Plan C you have the chance to test drive new options while keeping a stable day job and flexing your entrepreneurial muscles.

In this economy, having an additional income stream can also be a wise financial investment and may allow you to tap a creative side that is not being used in your full-time job. Plan C may empower you to generate some extra income and gratify you on a level that you never imagined possible. Here is a great example from Albert’s book:
“Roxanne Nicolas–a banking professional–is also a competitive ballroom dancer and dress designer.  She designs custom ballroom gowns for competitive dance competitions in her business, Glam Designs, LLC–so she literally is using her left-brain analytical banking skills, along with her right-brain creative and design skills at the same time in her business.  It’s a win-win for her, because she discovered how to pursue her passions and make money through her part time business and utilize both sets of skills–analytical and creative.”

Plan C Takes Professional Chutzpah

There is no doubt that pursuing a Plan C professional life takes energy, ambition, focus, and a tremendous amount of work. Albert provides expert advice in the book from a money expert, a business coach, and a lawyer to help you determine if the entrepreneurial road is right for you.

The Plan C option often appeals to those that have a drive, a need, or a passion to stretch their careers in different ways and to set and achieve self-directed goals.  From new college graduates searching for the dream job to mid-level professionals who are bored and unfulfilled with the day job, Plan C can provide an opportunity for creating the dream and working it while keeping the security of a stable job in place. Plan C is also an attractive option for those planning their business before they leave the workforce to prepare for full-time entrepreneurship after retirement.

What a comfort to know that the American dream has become more flexible and Plan C can empower you to design a career plan in which you can thrive. Entrepreneurship will certainly keep the economy moving forward and Plan C professionals have redefined the professional rule book.

Bravo to Dr. Erin Albert for this wonderful resource, available on and in electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes. For more information, visit 

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About Caroline Dowd-Higgins

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" (now in the 2ndedition) and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community Collegesystem and contributes to Huffington PostThrive GlobalEllevate Network,Mediumand The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana.Her online show:Thrive!about career & life empowerment for women is on YouTube. Caroline hosts the award winning podcast, Your Working Lifeon iTunesand SoundCloud. Follow her on FacebookLinkedIn,Google+,and Twitter.

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