Do you have the Mentality of a Free Agent?


The term “free agent” was originally coined to describe the shift in major league baseball that allowed players to switch teams on their own. Free agents view themselves as equal partners of their employers, and take responsibility for their personal career management. The relationship between their company and them is changing from paternalism (loyalty) to partnership. Their assets are their deep structure interests, values, skills, knowledge, expertise, personal characteristics, and the like.

On one hand, free agents have a sense of freedom and independence. On the other hand, they hold on to their commitments to serve their partners and the community. To be the best free agent, they need to know about themselves as well as they need to know about what is out there in the business world. In order to make the best “free agent” career-related decisions in the future, they need to research emerging markets, re-evaluate their skills, and learn new skills to ensure future employability. They cannot avoid change, but they can manage change and transition. Free agents expect to continue to learn. They must always be prepared to leverage their assets—values, skills, knowledge, expertise, personal characteristics—to achieve their professional goals. They need to use their gifts, talents, and deep interests to their full potentials to serve their customers, employers or partners, and the community.

Their core interests, abilities (what they are good at), temperament (what kind of activity they are naturally suited to), and assets (special knowledge, skill or experience) are their resources. They utilize their resources to meet the needs in the market. When they see themselves as “delivering a quality service” rather than “doing a job,” they are in business for themselves, no matter whether they work inside the company or outside it. In doing so, their mindset shifts from that of an employee who does a job to that of a free agent who provides a customer with value. They break away from the corporate mentality and think like an entrepreneur. When they think like a CEO of a company, they will deliver the best value to the company. Thus, they increase their marketability. If the companies where they work do not promote them, some other companies will.