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Aug 02, 2009

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From the unabashed perspective of an Executive Search professional, it's ALWAYS a good climate to consider (if not take) a career risk. Career growth CAN NOT HAPPEN without one taking calculated risks, whether that be volunteering to lead a project that will stretch one's comfort zone and abilities or deciding to work for a smaller company that has a disruptive market-strategy. This can be especially true in times of upheaval, whether due to an economic free fall (e.g. where one is likely to be RIFed), a change in governmental regulations (e.g. where your company's product or service is no longer protected from significant competition and the company's response is to stick it's head in the sand), M&A event, leadership change etc.

I counsel my candidates to weigh their risk tolerance of falling flat on their behinds with their desire to make a real difference and bring meaningful change to their profession. Sometimes, the smart money is on staying where one is despite the upheaval (have you learned all you can and need to learn where you currently work?), but if one's gut is telling them to charge the hill and they believe in the leadership, mission and their fellow comrades - they should go for it!

Keep your day job and look for a business opportunity you can build in addition to what you do.

Phil,

What astonishes me is that a number of companies recruited very heavily even as the crisis was unfolding. One would have thought that these companies are stars in their own right, and could weather the storm. Many of those companies have now started cutting back. That leaves me to wonder that these companies were not actually in a great position earlier, rather just naieve. Hence, I would be tread cautiosly with companies with mega-recruitment plans.

Also, especially, in the UK, if a company needs to make someone redundant, it the most economical to do it for new hires (less of 2 years stint with the company). Hence, it does make sense to stick around, unless you have doubts that your current org is going concern.

Regards,
Amit

Aha. The glory. Thanks: rowan at aaakpo.com

Phil,

I agree with the premise of your post, but who could have predicted the meltdown in the mortgage, banking, financial services industries? Kind of like having a business plan for aliens abducting your top 20 clients in my opinion. I think some companies need to look at their industry and make some tough decisions, but others have been one of many dominoes toppled by the collapse of the aforementioned industries. Managing expenses, defining your mission statement, being the best at what you do are all cliche', but many organizations with solid business plans can't do much more at this juncture. None of us can drive a global economic recovery, which would make even boring business plans look better. I believe the market will correct itself, but hopefully our business leaders and politicians have learned a lesson or two along the way. Not holding my breath on that one though.

Steve Brainard

Phil, If one gets an good opportunity now, I do not see any reason why he/she should not go for it. Companies who hire in the middle of a downturn are probably among the survivers, and are unlikely to reduce their workforce anyday soon.

Kari Vaananen

I believe the answer to these questions would lie in the following:

1) Is your current employer flexible enough and dynamic enough to change its vision and delivery to allign itself to the new opportunities and delivery model?

2) Are you a domain expert in your current domain?

3) Does your top leadership have a vision for re positioning the organisation do deal with emerging opportunities and challenges?

4) Is your work atmosphere conducive for creative thinking and out-of-the-box approaches?

If the answer to majority of these questions is yes, my advice is stick around, in case it is no, look out for a change.

Chayan

Phil,

My answer is "it depends." For a person in a bad company or situation, this is a good time to start looking. For a person in a good company and situation, it would be foolish to take a risk at this time,

Richard Kirby

Rowan,

Congratulations. I would send you a prize, but you haven't revealed any contact details, so enjoy the prestige of being a champion :)

PF

it's the sinclair c5. living in cambridge at the time enabled me to watch its launch. was funny when riders/users/drivers were stopped for drink driving and police weren't sure if they were bicycles or cars.

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