If two people approach a CEO and one says “I am looking for a job with you” and the other says “I am looking to tackle a major challenge you are facing – and being paid for this project without further promise of employment” – in the current environment, who is more likely to land work? In this example, the second individual is even more likely to succeed if he or she has researched the organisation and their market, considered emerging market needs, and is talking of needed solutions in the business.

In the work we do with senior executives, we are seeing investment bankers move into angel investing, business coaching and consulting, into interim executive roles and into portfolio careers, including directorships combined perhaps with consulting. Our work is increasingly focused on building the right frameworks for new emerging businesses – even if these are often a “business of one”.

Career resilience – with a lessening dependence on organisational employment – rests on seeing yourself in this light: a “business of one” with a need to continuously explore emerging needs and to refashion or adapt your capabilities. I should conclude by acknowledging that none of this is easy. The exploration of new ways of working in a tough economic context following retrenchment is challenging. Seek out advice and support, link up with others undertaking the same journey and see if you can turn a challenging time into one of discovery and hopefully a new opportunity.


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