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Sticking It Out In Tough Times

In the current market environment, like any other, the decision to leave a company isn't always yours to make. But what if it is? For many senior level employees at global firms, the choice between leaving a sinking ship or sticking it out for the long haul presents many challenges.

First, it's important to consider whether you are up for the task of starting anew and assimilating into a new organization. And, are you prepared to be one of many in your industry looking for work after large-scale layoffs at your firm?

A recent Forbes article cited one example involving a senior marketing executive who stuck it out while her company's stock price fell rapidly. While the company endured rounds of layoffs and cut employee perks, she remained.

In situations such as these, it's more important to consider who's leaving the company than how many are leaving, says Forbes writer Tara Weiss. If the most talented employees are walking, it's a strong sign that those with a stake in the company's growth are pessimistic about its future, even when market conditions improve, Hay Group Global Managing Director Will Werhane told the magazine.

When You Gain By Staying

Yet, at companies that can weather the storm, the decision to stay on can pay off in the long run. During tough markets and cutbacks, companies value problem solvers more than ever. Prove your worth by delivering new clients or streamlining costs. By demonstrating you can develop solutions, or better ways of doing things, you can make yourself indispensable.

It's also critical that you determine the severity of the company's problems. Be informed, both by staying abreast of news and keeping your eyes and ears open internally. Don't necessarily believe rumors. Get the facts by talking to colleagues, and try to get a feel for how the company compares with your competitors. You can even talk to people at other firms in the industry or recruiters who specialize in your field or sector.

The decision to stay on at a company during a downturn can be a fretful one. Nevertheless, these times can be "the most compelling ones for career development," says Tashi Lossalle, vice president at the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.

AUTHORScott Krady Insider Comment
  • Mr
    Mr. Capital
    4 August 2008

    If you really have options, go ahead and ask for a raise. Depending on the answer you will know if you are the next one to be laid off or you may ge a retention package. What is really bad is staying in a sinking ship not knowing if it is you or the ship which will sink first!

  • Pe
    31 July 2008

    well, this is the best time to start something fresh. and this is the time to prove your worth. otherwise you will never try again!

  • mu
    28 July 2008

    I learned from 38 yrs of US banking, interim challenges, fin'l, 18 yrs of int'l expatriate assignments, private HNW investment practices, mrktg and business development tasks while volunteering and learning at all times... that a decision to stay on is harmful when downsizings and losses persist at a company's or a bank's growth in market share, sales, revenues (and in our current dismal economic condition); a decline in equity valuations. It's an intuitive hard decision made by one whose performance, productivity, appraisals, drive, positive outlook and creativity attest to what impact is one's career prospect affected. This is not science taught in college! It is earned on the job. Moving on is an unknown adventure! Optimists who envision to overcome layoffs and defeats (which they shall encounter no matter what), shall fear not but fear itself if they stay put or move on! Family and friends; reflecting on past achievements, belief in self abilities, serenity while persevering hardship are strong elements! Surviving by way of discovering challenging job adventures is a value added helpful asset. The future is bright. M. Hannoush-Int'l-GCC Banker-Fin'l-HNW P'folio C'ltant-Mtl-QC-

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