Transitions are often not easy. Scott’s story provides a candid perspective on his recent career transition.
He began his career as a Sales Specialist and was promoted up through the ranks; to Regional Manager, Product and Marketing Manager, Director of Marketing and finally to Vice President of Global Marketing. He had no intention of leaving the company where he had worked for more than fifteen years and not once did he think he would be on the outside looking in. He thought this was the company from which he would retire. He had always done exceptionally well and was recognized for his accomplishments which included multiple marketing excellence and innovation awards. Then, as is common today, the company was reorganizing. Although there was opportunity to relocate and stay, Scott decided to take the buyout.
He couldn’t find an opportunity commensurate with his qualifications and leadership skills. He struggled for more than a year to find a job and was a “bridesmaid” six times. Here are his thoughts as he lived through his transition: “I think internal motivation is a key to making it through each day. Some days are much harder than others. I have to say that I have been working incredibly hard for a career landing place and the days can run together. I get up each day, work out, take my daughter to the bus stop and then start my day. I work the internet, I make phone calls, meet with networking opportunities and drive as much activity as I can. I join groups and work through LinkedIn connections daily. I do my best to meet people and make connections. Every day is different, yet every day is far too familiar.”
“I think I may be at this too long. There hasn’t been much traction and I find myself wanting. I have been through out-placement services, I have engaged with a service and the activity is limited. I follow the steps they have laid out. I pursue the activity each week; however, there just isn’t the level of interest that I would have expected given what I have accomplished and what I know I can do for an organization.”
There was a point where he had a revelation. Out of work for a period and managing as long as he did, he no longer wanted to chase people he didn’t want to work for anyway. All he wanted to do was work and he wanted to be in control of his own destiny. If he couldn’t find a job, he would create one. He investigated franchise opportunities and after considerable research and planning, he now runs his own company. He describes himself as being as happy as he can be because he is no longer in a situation where he is unhappy. His situation is far more unpredictable and though success is not happening as fast as he would like, he is now in control.
When I asked for his insight after this experience, he said, “When the chips fall where they fall and the walls that protected you at your job are no longer there, try your best to find what you want to do and what you do best rather than falling back into the same rut. If you think you are safe if you join a large company, you are not. No matter how good you are at your job, you are not safe. You’ve got to have your ears and eyes open. I wish I had been a better networker than I was.”
His biggest regret and his advice to us: When he got promoted, he said he should not have waited three years to look for a new opportunity within the company. “I was so comfortable, I never saw the wrecking ball coming and I was blindsided. You need to make yourself uncomfortable. Stretch yourself – see if you can move in a new direction. I got complacent because my job allowed me to. Always be on the lookout for opportunities.”