Managing Director, Ambition Hong Kong
Take control of your career
I am the regional head in my company but lately, I’ve been worried. The headquarters in the US has assigned several lucrative businesses I created to a younger guy from the States. Adding to the misery are the aggressive cuts. I’m only 50 and these moves are clipping my wings. The gossip doesn’t help and I think the boss wants me to go. I’m too young to retire and yet the market seems to think I’m too old to stay. What can I do to turn things around?
This is becoming an increasingly common theme. You need to regain control of your situation by creating some certainty, undertaking a career makeover, and making some firm decisions about your career.
Uncertainty is the killer, because gossip and hearsay and your own perceptions of what is happening can affect your performance and health.
You need to create some certainty by having a career conversation with your superiors. You are not seeking assurances, but you want to be able to understand what your employer thinks about their investment in this part of the world and why, and how that affects you as the regional head.
Offer your views and preferences as well, because ideally you want to be able to influence the decisions that are made about your future. For better or for worse, this conversation should give you more clarity about the time frames – short, medium or long term – that you have to work with before your time is up.
Whatever the outcome of the discussion, I suggest a career makeover to ensure you have transferable and marketable skills to remain employable.
Being employable is actually more important than being employed. It means your skills are relevant to the whole market, not just the job you are doing with your current employer.
Spend some time analysing yourself and assess where the gaps in your expertise lie in relation to the job you do and would want to do if you left your current employer. Then write and implement a plan for gaining the skills and knowledge you require which may be through coaching, undertaking a relevant course or changing your approach to work.
This self-analysis helps you establish a starting point from which to make a decision about what you do with your career.
From your conversations and career makeover you hopefully have some time to make the necessary changes or adjustments, or alternatively you may not.
However, you will have more certainty and control because you have a better idea of what you have to do to remain employed and employable.
Good luck with the next steps.