Adversity as opportunity
If you are a business owner or have been looking for a job in the past 18 months, you must feel pretty acquainted with adversity. Cheer up: Apart from the upcoming recovery, which we feel quite acutely, there are a few points that I’d like to share with you, coming not only from observation but from personal experience. Adversity is giving you a unique opportunity to revamp your skills, your career objectives or your business model.
- Always wanted to take that class /finish that degree /finally get certified? Now is the time, breaking away from a busy work schedule. Costs are not always high, and often, you can get subsidized if unemployed. That’s how I’ve accumulated different degrees, building critical knowledge in professional fields (and just for fun, too, in some instances). One advice though: list on your resume only the education relevant to the position you are applying to. Back when I worked in corporate, employers would think of me as purely academic simply in view of the letters Ph.D., which I promptly removed. It’s perfectly legal to refrain from listing every single degree or work experience in your resume, it is not supposed to be a complete Curriculum Vitae.
- You were employed at a financial institution…and always loved teaching Hebrew / writing movie scripts / grooming pets. Maybe you can build enough clientele to skip answering every ad on Monster and finally stick to doing what you really like. I see a lot of people operating successful career changes because of hard circumstances. My background was not in HR, although as a General Manager I supervised the HR function too. The market demands and serendipity, together with my love of learning, made me want to acquire utmost expertise in that field. And if you love something, you can bet at being really good at it too.
- As a business owner, you have been facing increasing competition and an ever shrinking market. Of course, times are challenging, but could you be going with the wrong business model? Something that may have worked in 2005-06 may just not cut it nowadays. If your product or service is a commodity, and your only differentiator is the price, you may be in trouble, because there are enough desperate people out there to do it at lower cost. Unfortunately, your clients may not really care about the level of service or quality of products at this time and just go for the cheapest option. My personal advice is not to get dragged to the lowest level of professionalism. Rather than agreeing to compete with newcomers who may use your methods, positioning and even have access to your address book, move to the next level and do something they could never follow you at. Be your best and leave them in the dust. So if your long-time friend/ most trusted employee used you to open a competing business, don’t get mad: they actually did you a favor. Real entrepreneurs are serial inventors, and now, you can be re-inventing your business model. Here again, I talk from experience, and honestly, the harder the road the more rewarding the results.
Anyway, it’s the season to be forgiving, as tradition tells us God decides on Rosh Ha Shana how successful we will be all year…
Happy New Year 5770 to us all!