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The Daily Grind

More Executives Seeking Non-Traditional Jobs

A recent Wall Street Journal Article (More Jobless Execs Foot Their Outplacement Bill, July 7, 2009) by Joann Lublin highlighted our career transition, assessment and coaching firm. In this article, the author describes the variety of services that our clients experience that lead them to
identify their talents, interests and needs. They develop a customized
plan utilizing our research expert, alumni, current clients and network
to target the companies that would be best for them. The article focuses
a fair amount on one aspect of outplacement programs, the finances, but this is not “the brave new world” as the author writes. In almost thirty years of working with executives in career transition, the issue of who pays for what and how much has been a consideration. What is particularly compelling in the article are the stories of the different executives that are pursuing a variety of career options.

In one case, a client has evaluated an industry and believes that the business model is wrong for today’s and our future economy. Another client is very interested in the health care model and why health programs tend not to be successful. He recently received a contract to operate on-site health clinics for businesses. What I have seen change over the last few years is the number of executives who are following through with more entrepreneurial or “non-traditional” work. Until recently,
executives often would say to me that they wanted to do something else; to not continue as a “regular corporate executive.” However, by the time our assessment feedback had been finished and they had a strong dose of reality of what it would take to make the change, along with a better understanding how they had been successful in the past and what their risk tolerance was, they were back considering looking for something similar to what they had done before. But, this has changed and I believe that this is the more interesting trend.

Why are we seeing more executives consider non-traditional work? We believe that executives are not as confident that those traditional positions are currently available and may not be in the future. The “dwell-time”, the time to get the new job, has lengthened in the last year. The loss of wealth that most executives have experienced has caused them to realize that they are going to work longer than what they had thought. This has pushed up the time frame for doing something that is more relevant, more
interesting and where they can be in greater control of their future.

So, if you are like the executives mentioned in the article or many of our recent clients who are evaluating their career, it would be wise to consider the current marketability of your career, along with your skills and interests. If you are working in a stagnant industry with skills that may not be as needed as what once was the case, take some time to think creatively about what you think is needed now and blend this with what you like to do. It is the right time to look at your career in a new light. (by Daniel J. DeWitt, PhD)

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