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Is Your Job Search A Build Or Buy?

May 26, 2021

It’s a classic tradeoff that every project manager knows: build vs buy. Should you pay for a product, or should you have your own developers create the product? There’s no right answer, of course. If you need an operating system? Obviously, you buy it. Need a product that stores your custom data and displays it in a custom interface that no one else on the planet needs? Yeah, that’s a build decision.

But, other times the decision is more nuanced. There are great CRM, or customer relationship management software. But, many times the CRM systems are not as customizable as you need. Do you build or buy?

Of course, it depends.

I was a program manager and a project manager. I’ve lead teams through the build/buy decision many times. I now find myself facing a unique build/buy decision.

As you know, if you’ve been following along here for the past week, I lost my job a couple weeks ago. I took a little time off, dusted off my resume and have been applying to various jobs. Of course, I also reached out to my friends. Some I’ve spoken to often over the years. Others were friends I haven’t seen in years.

One friend works at a company I applied to. We reconnected and talked about the position.

Another friend suggested a different route. He works with a company that has identified a need for some of their clients. His company can’t meet the need. He wants to set up a new company to meet that need. He has the sales guy and the tech guy and he just happened to need a project manager guy.

So now what? Do I jump back into a traditional company? I’m used to those. I’ve had great success at them. Oh, and I’ve gotten laid off and fired a couple times too. Or, should I strike out on the independent route? Should I team up with my friend and help build a company? The potential rewards are higher, but so are the risks. . .sort of.

When a startup fails, you don’t get fired. But, you are out of a job. Same difference.

So, here I am: do I go the route that already has the “product” built? That has a strategy, a service, staff, copiers, org charts? Or, do I “build” my own? Create the strategy, start the service, rent the copiers, define the org charts?

It’s an interesting problem to have. At least I’ve been trained for it.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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