The transition from corporate to post-corporate life is as inevitable as moving out of your parents house to a life on your own. There comes a time when corporations can decide, as your parents may have done, that it would be better for all concerned if you would go elsewhere.
For some of us this is no problem, as we have been straining at the leash to go new places ever since we first learned how to walk. As soon as we learned all we needed to know about our house, our neighborhood, our job, etc. we were ready for another challenge. What’s that over there? Who are those people doing those cool things? What are those books about? Inquiring minds want to know!
There can be a time, however, when we hit a rest point and we want to stop and enjoy the view. We have a comfortable job, the boss leaves us alone so we can work, and we are thinking about buying a new car, truck, or summer cabin. We think life is finally coming together, at last!
Wrong. Wrong! WRONG! Like Europe in the ’30s, we are ignoring the winds of change that are sweeping steadily toward us. You cannot hide in your cubicle, secure in the knowledge that you are doing a great job for a boss who respects you and has shown his respect with real money, not just attaboys!
Your personal competition is no longer the fresh young faces just out of the University, it is the tens of thousands of bright young people in other lands who speak English as well as you do and several other languages as well! They are increasingly available, at salaries that CFOs slaver over.
Unfortunately, most of us have become commodities. Whether we are salespeople, program managers, systems analysts, or fast-track executives, our value to the company is increasingly measured by our hourly wages, not by our experience levels and knowledge of customer situations.
If, in the course of corporate events, it becomes necessary to lighten ship, the more experienced and more expensive people present an opportunity that bean-counters cannot resist. If you have not been troubled by layoffs, it is probably because you are below the radar. Yes you are a commodity, but you are so far down in the rank and file that your salary does not justify the trouble it would take to sever you from the organization.
Just don’t expect that it will stay that way. If you continue to work hard and produce well, you will eventually begin to make enough money that you WILL become the subject of layoff discussions. The solution is NOT to do less or to knowingly make less money. The solution is to plan for your life after corporate life.
I will discuss this in more detail in following posts, but I would like to leave you with this thought. What if you were already prepared to shift over to working full-time for yourself or with a small team of other consultants? What if you had already done your homework and were set up with a fictitious name and a proper corporate structure, and were already generating income? You would probably be walking around smiling, while others in your company were chewing their nails and reading Want-Ads.
How many of you are well-prepared in case the corporate ship goes down? Who among you is unprepared? Maybe it’s time to think about it.