Sunday, February 15, 2009

Don't Feel Like The Lone Ranger

So I'm sitting there minding my own business a couple of days ago and up pops the following email from someone who found their way to me I know not how.

"Hi Dave, I am a weary 10-year veteran of commercial banking, seeking a new career opportunity in Jacksonville. Do you have any suggestions?"
At first I thought it might be from an ExecuNet member, but when I checked out the name and email address nothing rang a bell. What did ring a bell however was the fact that the issue of specific geography was something that comes up a lot, and when I talk or correspond with members it is certainly understandable as to why it would.

First of all, most of us by the time we're 10 or 20+ years into a career are usually reasonably "settled" in a lot of facets of our lives and unless we were born with an overdoes of a wanderlust gene picking up and moving doesn't top the list of things we most want to do.

In fact and while I don't remember where I first saw it, I somehow recall that on the list of things that cause the highest degree of emotional trauma for us, moving was like fourth and only preceded by death of a spouse, divorce, and loss of a job.

Given that list, it is even more understandable why none of us would be really psyched to combine #3 and #4, so to put it mildly, I could relate profoundly to the issue.

So for whatever it's worth and to those who might in some way be in the same boat, here is what I tried to convey to this person when I responded:

The process of making a change is, more often than not, about connections [particularly at senior levels] - some call it networking, the term really isn't important. What is important is if and when you see or hear about opportunities for which you know you are really qualified and save for the location or compensation or whatever would otherwise be of keen interest to you, I would urge you to raise your hand. Here's why:

1. No one has asked you to move anywhere yet, take a lower salary, etc. and you can always say no. Job specs are written in the abstract. Once you put two people in a room, all kinds of things can and do change.

2. If it is a search firm, they are often working on other assignments, and these could well be at the level you want or with the type of company in which you would be interested, only you'll never know because you didn't respond in the first place.

3. Even if the foregoing doesn't happen immediately, if they do a lot of work in the industry segment in which your background is very strong (and many do)then they may well contact you down the road on something else.

At ExecuNet, our members have had any or all of these things happen all the time, but if you don't take the first step, everything else that might have happened as a result of that first "link" will go by the boards.

Said differently, there is a line attributed to Wayne Gretzky that says it all: "You miss 100% of the shots you never take."

Am I saying blanket the world? Absolutely not. What I am saying is put on your executive decision maker hat. Examine the spec and say to yourself if I saw this resume in response to this spec is this someone I would want to know more about? If the answer is yes, go for it. If the answer is no, then move on.

1 comment:

reinkefj said...

Sympathetically, especially with us older "turkeys", geography lashes us to the deck of the Titanic as the band plays sadly "Nearer My God To Thee". Commitments are the tiny threads that continually add to bind us to our geographic comfort zone. The Youth just out of school don't even consider it; the Old "turkey" has no choice but to. Old parents, children, and supportive friends are the "ball and chain" of our thinking.

Sad to say, I understand not being able to flit around the countryside, hither and yon, pursung the gold that's in "them thar hills". When you have responsibilities, you have to be responsible.

Hopefully, one can blend all the "requirements" and be open to the opportunities that the Universe giving you. It's always what you need; not necessarily what you want. If you can recognize it. Sometimes it's a wake up call to face facts. An old stuck-in-the-jobsearch-mud "turkey" is just that. Stuck in the mud. Being sucked down, hardening, and fixating that poor bird to a spot where one has to take what's offered. Even if it's just the greeter at WalMart.

Beware callow youth where you take your first job. It just might be that first thread that ties you down. For sixty or seventy years! Be sure you like that dirt under your feet. You my be there a long long time.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,
the big fat old turkey hisself
stuck in the mud in Nu Jerzee