Will the Closing Door Hit You in the Butt as You Leave?


Office doorIt happens.

That stint with your employer starts to look like toast.

The accomplishments of five or ten months or five or ten years ago are yesterday’s news; “what have you done lately” if the mantra that’s sung from the corner office.

The boss – likely the new boss rather than the old boss, or maybe it’s the old boss’ new boss –  has you a short leash, and the clock is ticking.

And it’s clearly ticked off.

Sound familiar?

That appears to be the life of two longtime HP execs named Todd Bradley and Dave Donatelli but it could just as easily be you or a co-worker.

And while inching toward the exits is fine – that’s the the name of this post by Arik Hesseldahl regarding Donatelli and Bradley apparent impending departure on Re/code, an independent tech news, reviews and analysis site – there are some flaws if that’s your main exit strategy.

The fact of the matter is that unless you’re want to spend time on the beach, you should be always on the look-out to see what else you would do if your job went away today. Stuff like meeting people, learning what other people and organizations are doing, and all the time thinking how can I help the person I’m meeting because they could be me.

It’s not disloyalty. It’s reality.

It’s reality that anyone is one merger, one acquisition, one restructuring, or one technology shift from needing to find another job.

So you should give your best for your employer. You should also give your best to yourself and your career.

Keeping yourself current in the market, well-connected and networked in an authentic sort of way is smart; career smart.

Reid Hoffman and Ben Cashnocha tackle this subject in their book The Start-Up of You. It’s well worth your time to read the book and apply the concepts – like staying connected and vital in your career – in your life. It’s also the same advice I give my clients.

Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher, the co-founders of Re/code quoted above? They took this sort of advice when their run with Dow Jones ended last year.  Their response when Dow Jones decided to part ways? Startup their own alternative tech news site, already off to a terrific start.

 Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub.

Office door: Photo credit: Carl Johan vis Flickr

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