Making it Happen

For the last 7 years, in partnership with Execunet (, I have hosted a monthly networking breakfast for mid- and late-career  professionals looking for their next position . I have a hand shake agreement with the founder, Dave Opton, to provide this opportunity for local transitioners to expand their business connections.  Not surprisingly, people take something of value with them from every meeting and sometimes that take-away changes the course of their lives.

Such is the case with Rick, an operations executive, who reconnected with us mid-2008…for the second time. We first connected about 3 years before, and after attending for months, Rick landed a position that fit his skills and experience level. The economy being what it is,  that came to an end and Rick found himself back in the search.

This time around, though, was a more frustrating experience for him. He had too much experience for one opportunity and not exactly the right kind for another. His search turned into a “never quite enough” journey that always ended in, well, never a good enough fit.  During one meeting, the discussion turned to what Rick really wanted to do…how he really wanted to use his expertise and who really needed it.  The thinking that he did from that brief discussion led him to his current place, one where he is “making it happen.”

Rick’s value is to a multitude of business owners, as his operations experience is broad and deep. He knows business inside and out and recognizes that the best of operations are those that value the people who run them…where people are respected, treated as partners and encouraged to contribute their best work.  He also recognizes that this economy is more than a little challenging for many businesses, especially smaller organizations with less fat and perhaps less operational savvy. He knows that laying off workers is a usual first response to money concerns, and he also knows that it may not be the best let alone the only response.

So, partnering with a professional legal firm, Rick is holding an open seminar to provide information on “Advanced RIF Strategies” for employers. And while the content will cover risk assessment and strategy,  it will also cover alternatives to RIF and the short-sightedness of failing to consider the fall-out to both those RIF’d and those survivors left behind. And, from an operations perspective, Rick is at expert at the fall-out.

Although Rick has incorporated his business, he may still interview for opportunities that come calling…his options are open. The point is that he is taking responsibility for his own career direction, and making decisions that fit his strengths and expertise. He is making it happen and not just sitting around and “waiting to be picked.”  This “waiting to be picked” strategy, by the way, is  deadly and way outdated in today’s economy with its flat employment market.

Whether you’re searching for something new or are lying low hoping that you’re not a number for the next RIF, my question to you is this: how are you taking responsibility for making your career direction happen? How are you stabilizing and growing your value within your current organization? And if you’re looking to make a transition, how are you describing your value to potential employers?

Either situation (staying or leaving) is one where knowing your value and letting the right people know it are critical to your success and, ultimately, your security. Are you making it happen?

3 Responses

  1. When I read words of wisdom such as Janine has shared here I not only learn something, but also realize how fortunate we are to have Janine facilitating our meetings in the Columbus area but even more so, how fortunate those attending are to have someone with her depth of experience to work with.

    Dave Opton
    Founder, ExecuNet

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Dave! I hope you continue to follow my career owner space. What I see is that our businesses are in great need of a new career paradigm…1) to successfully retain the talent they need and have; and 2) to get ‘all brains on deck’ and aligned with the organization’s mission.


  3. Janine,

    I could not agree with you more. Our survey data certainly underscores this, particularly with regard to the challenge of retention.

    I have added your blog to the Blog Roll on Six Figure Learnings in the hope that it may help in others discovering the “learnings” that you have to offer.


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