Without question the past few years have been the most difficult in decades for executives in transition. Political rhetoric aside, there are a variety of reasons for the slowness in hiring. Technological advances, uncertainty about the economy or government policies, new industry trends – there is no shortage of explanations.
Is Our Society Moving Toward a “Freelance” Future?
But from my point of view, the handwriting is on the wall. “Job security” has a very different meaning today than it did fifty years ago. Executives who used to change jobs only three or four times in their career now face the prospect of ten times that many jobs before they retire, if they ever can.
For the professional the frustrations can seem insurmountable. And the thought that this could become a routine experience, repeated every few years, is not at all comforting.
How Marketable Are You as An Employee in This New Arena?
Being out of work is no longer a six month affair. More typically it’s now a two-year or longer ordeal. Whether or not you are prepared for it, the executive job search has become an exercise in sophisticated marketing.
Training for this is not something that most executives get even in business school. Outplacement firms and some executive search firms offer basic training, but the committed searcher will need to augment this with personal study and coaching.
Is Entrepreneurship in Your Future?
But what if you feel you have done a thorough job of conducting a truly professional executive job search, have not been satisfied with the results, and are now ready to look at alternatives – namely, becoming a business owner? Here are some ideas to start with:
- If your strengths (i.e. Accomplishments History) are primarily in managing people, you might do well to investigate a franchise or already existing business — onethat needs new vision and energy (but has an existing customer base and cash flow). The “systems” and support the franchisor provides are probably far more important than your experience with (or even interest in) the product or service.
- Starting a business from scratch can be an expensive and challenging adventure, but if it fills an existing need or represents a “disruptive” technology, the rewards can be significant.
- Developing an online business can offer some unique advantages, especially if you’re good with the written word. You will also have an advantage if you have strong technical skills, because internet technology is a moving target. But, beware of the “get rich quick” offers that make it seem easy. There are definite principles that underlie real success in the online world. Be sure you master the basics – including the marketing techniques — before jumping into this Wild West fray.
Regardless of the path you choose, it will require some level of financial resource as well as proficiency with marketing and sales. So don’t throw in the towel before doing your research. But you may discover that taking on the entrepreneur’s mantle will infuse you with new excitement and open doors to opportunities you didn’t realize were out there.