A good friend of mine was at one of the leading companies in the U.S. for the better part of two decades. He worked his way up the ladder to become a
Where does one start with that? I mean, after “holy smokes” and “I’m really sorry”, what does one say to the person or about the event? Let’s start with the event itself. Here is a person who earned his way to the top of a very steep and tall pyramid now being unceremoniously let go. Sure, the company will say this was simply about consolidation and efficiency, but this guy was good at what he did. I witnessed it myself both close up and at a distance over years. He busted his tail and gave his all for the company. And, importantly, he drove great results.
The lesson is: no job is safe today. Absolutely none. No matter how large the company, how well you have performed, or what industry you’re in. None of it matters. What matters is: do you control your own destiny? If so, to what extent, and how much influence can you have. I see good folks tossed overboard pretty regularly these days. Maybe their division is being cut and no one in the remaining organization wants to do the hard work of figuring out who’s worth keeping. Yup, 5% - 10% of the company, the good along with the bad, just tossed out. This is like cutting off your entire hand when only your pinky needed to go. That is some lazy, short-sighted thinking. But it has become more and more common. CEOs come and go. CFOs come and go. If they can be at
If you thought being at a big company was any sort of job/
Does that mean we’re all going to leave for startups or small/mid-sized companies? Well, no. However, I do think more people are going to think hard about what their ideal company situation is, which will change their behavior and career. I think a lot of entrepreneurs will come out of this last downturn. Even finance and
As for the person let go, the timing is never good and there will be a rush to market oneself and get that next offer. Any offer when you are mid-career and cast adrift by your employer will look sorely tempting. One’s ego takes a serious blow when this happens, no matter how good you are.
My hope, and I am an optimist, is that this will prove liberating after it’s through being heartbreaking and gray-hair-inducing. Perhaps he’ll land with another big company, or maybe he’ll follow his passions and land at a place that both appreciates his talents and knows how to put them to good use. But one thing is sure, no job is safe anymore – you can count on that. The smart finance leader will increasingly look for places that have more to offer than just heft.