Avoiding the Perfect Storm = A sudden loss of your job without any preparation to get the next one..

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A Sinking Ship

It’s the middle of the night and you are awoken to a shrieking alarm piercing the beautiful world that your dreams had transported you to. Brutally torn in to consciousness, you need to get out of the cabin and on to the deck. It’s dark, you are three decks down and for all you know the ship is sinking and this is not a drill!

Approaching the end of the financial year can be a very uncertain time for agency employees, as agencies desperate to make their numbers, cut the only meaningful costs, payroll. What can you do to mitigate this uncertainty?

Life can sometimes send us a perfect storm and we should anticipate the possibility by preemptively ensuring we are able to jump to another ship. Anticipation will ensure the other vessel is a yacht sailing quickly in to calmer and more prosperous waters, versus another sinking ship!

Preparing to Evacuate – Fire drills make sense

Don’t wait to make connections with other agencies and businesses; Don’t wait to have an up-to-date resume; Don’t wait to be engaged with social media, building your own reputation. And certainly don’t wait to be building specific expertise and achieving meaningful results. When you finally decide it’s time to move from your current job, be prepared in the only way you can be, leave from a position of strength. Don’t leave it until you’re desperate, until the alarm bells are ringing rather, plan ahead and, have a clear sense of what it is you are looking for. Anticipate that there could be an emergency and avert its effects because of you preparedness.

The whole idea of ‘on-going preparedness,’ covered in my previous article, ‘Mitigating Risky Career Maneuvers’ aimed to address. (The idea of actively every day preparing yourself for your next role.) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mitigating-risky-career-maneuvers-stuart-parkin?trk=prof-post

Significantly, even if you are prepared to leave one ship for another, you then need qualify information in order to make a fair assessment as to whether an opportunity (or ship) in front of you is the best one for you.

How to gain a true sense of the opportunity?

When somebody is desperate to hire you, be mindful that they will, whether they know it or not, try to ‘sell’ you and therefore, may be tempted to tell you what you want to hear.

Equipped with a sense of what role and circumstances will make for a great professional progression, your challenge is to ask questions which do not alert the interviewer to the information you need objective answers to.

Can I be successful in this role?

To understand whether you can be successful in a new role requires an understanding of culture, leadership style, agency goals, team, strategic style and the resources and timeframe you will have to deliver. And if working on an account, the state of the account and why the role exists for which you are being hired. You should have a clear sense of the value associated with your core skills in the new agency.

Which questions help me to truly qualify the opportunity in front of me?

So, what types of questions help you evaluate the opportunity for your next career step: Some good ones include:

Who does the agency regard as its main competition? = what type of work is ‘really done’

How does the agency primarily derive its revenue? = What is the real channel focus here?

What type of work is most celebrated here? = Creative, strategic, cost saving?

What characteristics do successful people here exhibit? = What/Who is valued?

Why is your agency successful? = What defines success here?

What is the biggest anticipated change expected here in the next year? = Gives the interviewer a chance to inform you about pending leadership, client or organizational changes.

What does a successful 2016 look like for the agency? = How ambitious are people here?

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