An action plan for financial sector professionals
By Maite Barón, CEO, The Corporate Escape™
Is the banking sector still in the doldrums? Are more redundancies to come?
Though the torrent of job losses may not be as rapid as it once was, banking in common with many other corporate sectors is still experiencing far from settled conditions.
The redundancy axe is still falling, and when it does, it can do so suddenly, so jobs that felt safe and secure last week seem anything but this week. That means no one is completely safe from the potential chop.
How best to deal with such an environment and such uncertainty on a daily basis? Here are nine suggestions that can help you make a successful move from at-risk employee to someone in charge of their own future.
1. Don’t bury your head in the sand. There’s no point imagining that redundancy will never happen to you. Accept that it could happen, and free yourself from the straitjacket that stops you considering future possibilities. Until then, you’re locked in the past and stuck where you are.
2. Having accepted that the ‘impossible’ is in fact possible, ask yourself: ‘If I were made redundant tomorrow, what would I do?’ Your immediate reaction would probably be to start looking for another position similar to the one you’ve been in. In reality, however, and particularly if you’re 40+, getting back into a job at the level you’re used to, in what is a fiercely competitive jobs market, is an increasingly unrealistic expectation. There are too many out there, younger than you, willing to do what you have done for much less.
3. Ask yourself: ‘If I were made redundant tomorrow, what could I do?’ It could be time to starting thinking outside the box, and look at options for setting up in business. Professionals who once worked in the corporate sector are increasingly reinventing themselves as entrepreneurs, establishing their own highly successful niche businesses, often online, and a world away from the realms of corporate banking. In fact, setting up on your own as a freelancer, an independent contractor, or starting a business, is virtually the only way in which to take control of your personal and professional life.
4. Start to create a plan B – an alternative to what you are doing right now. Don’t worry, this doesn’t commit you to anything, it’s merely an example of forward thinking. It will enable you to run through possibilities and consider the practicalities of alternative options. And if you aren’t made redundant, or just choose to stay in your current position, that’s great. However, if the worst does happen, you will be better equipped and far better placed to hit the ground running.
5. Don’t wait for things to happen to you. Instead, pro-actively look for opportunities and reasons to get out of what you’re doing right now. A foolish notion when you still have a good job? Not really. Once you have made your mind up to leave and do something else, you can use any remaining time in your job as valuable breathing space. A lot can be achieved in six or eight months of continued employment to build your skills and resources, get a clearer vision of what you will do, develop an entrepreneurial mindset and complete the planning needed to ensure you succeed beyond your current job.
6. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. It’s all too easy to run with the pack, thinking that somehow there’s safety in numbers. But just because your colleagues have decided they are going to stick it out, or haven’t fully considered the options open to them, that doesn’t mean you should do the same. So don’t buy into their belief that things are going to get better soon. Be prepared to do your own thing, and don’t share your plans with those at work until you ready to make your move.
7. Don’t let your present occupation define who you are in future. The majority of corporate workers have ended up where they are through sheer circumstance, and now they box themselves in, believing that this is all they can do. It’s not. You have the skills, the talent, the experience, the intellectual capacity and background, to carve out a totally different niche of yourself should you choose – one that will provide you with a much more rewarding lifestyle. Don’t invest so completely in your past that it becomes a millstone around your neck, holding you back and stopping you from looking into the future and what it might be.
8. You can also use this time to build up a support network and get the help you need to get going. Having made the decision, you will want to make things happen as quickly and effectively as possible. And while achieving success from scratch on your own is possible, you won’t make the progress that you could with the right help – it will be that much harder and take that much longer to gain the firm footing you need to move forward.
9. Don’t leave any of these steps until it’s too late. You can choose to stay where you are and ignore what’s happening around you, but if you haven’t taken any action, and are suddenly made redundant, catapulted onto the job market along with all your ex-colleagues, you will immediately lose any ‘time buffer’ you have to prepare, and so will have to build momentum from a standing start.
Is your corporate escape going to call for courage? Of course it is. Making any life-changing decision usually does, even if it is to our long-term benefit. The alternative is to make no choice at all, to keep your head down, to find a lucky four-leaf clover, and hope that your name is not written high on the redundancy wall.
Are you ready to take some action to safeguard your professional future? Then download your free guide ‘5 Keys To Help You Take Control Of Your Working Life here: http://maitebaron.com/ln/gbf/10_13