Do You Have a Plan B for Your Career?
You have probably been told that you should have a Plan B. What if something does not work out?
How about having a Plan B for your career?
I entered the job market in the 1970s when I expected to work for one employer for most of my career. Well, that lasted 22 years and I have had six in the last 18 years. Most of those transitions were planned, which means I planned very well, or that I was lucky!
Every move I made was my choice. I was only laid off once and I volunteered for that one.
Did I always have a Plan B? I had several career failures but I recovered from all of them. It was always better to have a Plan B.
What should you be prepared for?
In my most recent past, I have been involved in the two very cyclical professions:
- Learning and Development (Training)
Recruiters are the first hired when the economy picks up AND the first to be let go when the economy slows down. It is great to be a recruiter right now. Wait until the next recession hits and suddenly recruiters are no longer in demand.
Learning and development professionals know that their mission can easily be eliminated. In fact, as traditional stand-up training has faded into oblivion driven by online training, if your job is eliminated it may never come back.
Ask any recruiter or trainer whether they have a Plan B for their career.
Mergers and Acquisitions
I have worked for two successful tech startups that were acquired. Both eventually started to lay off staff. This can be due to eliminating redundant positions, or because expectations of growth after an acquisition are not attained.
Rarely has there been a merger or acquisition where layoffs do not eventually follow! It may take a couple of years but…
This can now include taking a company private or being bought by private equity. Once a company is taken private is much easier to lay off staff and keep it quiet. The rate of companies being taken private via private equity firms is accelerating.
If you work for a company where an acquisition or merger is possible, you better have a Plan B for your career!
I currently have multiple clients in the pharmaceutical industry. Many companies have patents on pharmaceuticals that are going to expire in the next few years. Several of these companies have announced multi-year staff reduction plans.
Patent protection is key to profitability in many industries, but when the patents expire it is like going over a cliff. Profits dry up overnight! When this starts to happen you will see lots of mergers and acquisitions. Check out this list of merger and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical industry. It is a pretty big list.
If you work in the pharmaceutical industry or any other industry dependent on patent protection, you should always have a Plan B.
Creative destruction has been around for a very long time. Check out my post, Surviving Creative Destruction in the 2nd Half of Life if you are unfamiliar with this concept.
There are two easy-to-spot targets of creative destruction:
- Retail is being devastated by online commerce driven primarily by Amazon.com.
- Mobile computing, started by the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, has had a devastating effect on many industries.
I previously wrote about this in the post Has Your Job Been SMACed? If not Yet, It Will!
If you think your job is immune to creative destruction, then you must be smoking something and yes, you are inhaling. You really need to be developing a Plan B.
We all know what happened in the last two recessions. Having worked in the semiconductor and telecommunications industry during the dot-com bubble, I knew the end was coming and acted accordingly. Similarly, I was working in the non-profit industry raising money from the financial industry at the beginning of the great recession. In hindsight, I saw the collapse coming but did nothing about it. A safe place appeared in late 2007 as luck would have it.
If things seem just too good to be true, you need a Plan B!
Sometimes stuff just happens. My last employer put me in a highly unethical position, which I wrote about in a recent post When Your Ethical Boundaries are Crossed [Updated]. My Plan B was already in place, but I was not prepared to act quickly enough.
What will you do if your employer places you in an untenable position? Do you have a Plan B?
You will always be prepared to move to your next position if you follow the steps of the Targeted Job Search,
You never know when you will need a Plan B for your career.Marc Miller
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