An Adroit Way to Shape-Shift

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Here's an elegant answer to a dilemma that confronts many a pro in transition: the ambiguity associated with operating a consulting business while simultaneously seeking a full-time job.

Many financial market professionals I speak with regularly saw their last permanent paycheck in the fall of 2008 - nearly a year ago. When a transition extends that long, doing consulting work in the interim often becomes essential for economic as well as career management reasons.

But it can get awkward when a client you're pitching asks how committed you are to your consulting venture. Or when an interviewer hints she views the "XYZ Consulting" line on your resume as a euphemism for "unemployed."

A former colleague came up with a convincing way of finessing the issue. His email signature line states the purpose of his independent forecasting vehicle is "to provide continued and uninterrupted service to all of our valued clients."

"We have received many business requests, we continue to explore them, and hope to align our efforts with one client," the message continues. "Our main goal remains to provide the best service to our valued clients."

If you're in the same boat, consider making similar wording part of your communications. You'll be advertising to one and all that you're open to full-time work under the right conditions, but are serious about your responsibilities to the clients who are paying you now.

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