Phase 2 for long-term consultants and their careers
Lately, I’ve been getting more than a few friends & colleagues contacting me as they are:
- no longer considered a strategic resource to their old employer - worried that their current employer is in a tough spot and their job/career could soon be toast - terrified that their clients (let alone their employer) are tubing and so, too, will their economic prospects
I don't want any more resumes and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with them anyway. In the off chance someone out there reading this needs some talented folks, email me. Otherwise, if you're one of those folks in a career crossroad, here's a short version of what I’ve told others lately:
- build a personal web page and get your resume on it. There are scads of web spiders that hunt for these. Likewise, many recruiters are using these tools on Google to find candidates
- be open to doing some independent consulting gigs in the meantime
- don’t waste a second wishing you were back at your old employer. Nostalgia for the good ol’ days isn’t going to help you. Your old employer has moved on and so should you
- use this time to take stock in what you really want out of life. A friend of mine is wrapping up 20 odd years with his employer and he wants to jump back into another pressure cooker job. I cautioned him that he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone anymore, so be more deliberate in what you want for Phase 2 of your career.
I’ve also told them to not be surprised at the lack of care or concern from your colleagues at your old employer. Be prepared to see:
- your daily email count to plummet from hundreds of messages daily to a few
- your old colleagues take weeks/months to respond to your calls and emails. It seems that now you’re no longer critical to their jobs and they’ve shoved you to the bottom of their priority pile
- co-workers can turn out to be fair weather friends
Do a frank assessment of what you’re good at. Many firms want high-end consultants who already possess a solid book of business and are willing to bring that to their firm (dream on!). What they really want are people who fearlessly kick down doors and get new client work (i.e., prospect originators). You, on the other hand, could be a subject matter expert that helps shape, expand and close deals. Other firms want people who sell and fewer still these days need people who can deliver. No matter what though, do not jump into a role that you aren’t suited for, can’t stand or won’t deliver.
Finally, re-discover the great people in your Rolodex. You put them in there for a reason but have you invested any time or attention with them lately? No one is going to do you any favors if you never bothered to find out how they’re doing (even once!) in the last decade. Re-invest in those relationships before you start trying to exploit them.