Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!
I’m a business analyst by training. I spent the early days of my career in corporate finance and then as a strategic analyst. I found that I had a passion for strategy and planning. I enjoyed getting to know a company’s business model and its competitive strategy. I wanted to understand how a business fit within its industry segment and the economy as a whole. It wasn’t long before I migrated into general management where I enjoyed twenty-two years of steady progress. I developed a strong portfolio of skills supported by a broad base of experience. While building my corporate career I became caught up in mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, reengineering, rightsizing and downsizing, and Chapter 11 reorganizations. I saw most of our major industries move overseas, while the service sector steadily grew and technology became a dominant player. I knew that major forces were in play, transforming the economy. I moved from Tampa to Toledo, then Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and finally, in 1996, to Atlanta. The moves were getting tiresome, and my daughters were entering High School. Whatever free time I had, the company demanded it. The only friends I had were other employees. I did not have the life I wanted for my family. A career in Corporate America had become too volatile for me. I realized that my future was better spent elsewhere.
It was time to go out and become my own boss. That is how I found my way into executive search. The skills I learned in my corporate career have served me well as a recruiter and consultant. I never lost my passion for strategy, however. I still want to understand my client’s business model so that I can be more helpful to them. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been exciting. I have learned many new skills, like business development. I have refined other skills, like negotiating. My communication ability has improved significantly, especially my ability to listen. I started blogging regularly over five years ago. I thought that was a good strategy to reach more candidates and clients. This skill has been developed and is becoming more refined. I have learned how to weather business downturns and to recognize opportunities. I have learned that the customer is always right, but not all customers are right for me, and I am not right for every customer. Most importantly, I have learned that the market will tell you where you are needed if you pay attention to the signals. I have learned to improvise, adapt, and overcome! I have become a big supporter of entrepreneurial pursuits.
Over time, I have come to know many professionals. As one would expect, most of these folks were between jobs, looking for a new situation. I tried to provide guidance and counsel as to how they should conduct their job search. The landscape has changed dramatically over the past seventeen years and with those changes, my advice has changed. Today, I tell them to consider multiple options like starting a business or becoming an independent contractor. After all, finding work of any kind is about networking and selling oneself.
Currently, I am putting the finishing touches on a presentation I will make next month. It is more of a set-up to facilitate a group discussion about the “New Normal.” The title of the presentation is "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!" More about that in my next post.
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Jim Weber, President
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal
New Century Dynamics Executive Search
1. GM, Private Club based in Southeast, Confidential Search: New
2. Director of Business Development, Atlanta-based B2B Professional Services Company: New
3. Training Director – Southeastern-based Restaurant Group: New
4. Senior Accounting Manager – Atlanta-based Manufacturer. New
5. Controller – Orlando, FL-based Restaurant Company: New