John Kogan, CEO of Proformative, relayed a heart-breaking, and all-too-common story in a recent post. These are folks I hear from on a regular basis and without fail they say … I never saw it coming. Even in finance, even a top Finance Executive, can be caught unaware and find himself ill-prepared for the journey he’s now on – through no choice, and most often no fault, of his own.
I’ve been evangelizing for more years than I know that any “job security” one might think they have is merely an illusion. The ONLY security one has is to be sure – while they are gainfully and happily employed – that they are proactively managing their careers from the driver’s seat. If you aren’t executing good career management habits on a regular basis – while you are gainfully and happily – employed, then you aren’t driving your career and you will find yourself way behind the car, running at full-speed, just trying to catch up.
It is a disadvantaged place to find yourself because it usually means …
– you’ve been too busy in your job to build a network
– you have no (or outdated, maybe even poor) marketing documents
– you’ve ignored your Linkedin profile, if you have one, because after all, you have a job
and, for most men, you’ve now lost your identity because you no longer have a job title. Worse still, is now you are thrown into the train wreck of job searching with desperation as a motivator.
The reality is that 9/11 dealt a blow to the job market that we are still feeling 12 years later.
– Companies are desperate to hire the right top talent -and- so cautious it can take them months to make a decision.
– The job search process is a train wreck, made more so by the illusion that posted positions on job boards will make job hunting easy.
– Streamlined teams mean the CFO and other Finance Executives are holding more and more responsibilities for things outside finance, which means 60-80 hour work weeks are the norm.
The flip side of the last bullet is that those very additional responsibilities, when framed in problem-solving leading to tangible impacts, are the very things that you make the CFO even more marketable. But only, if people know about the great things you’ve done … internally and externally.
If you don’t know your marketable value proposition, and no one else knows it either, and you’re let go unexpectedly – and yes it does happen – it will rock your world in ways you didn’t expect and can’t even fathom on this side of the equation.
Resolve to do one thing today to take control of your career. Just one thing. Today.