Bloomberg recently surveyed economists regarding career advice for new college graduates. I highly recommend that you read this article if you’re a new graduate or someone who cares about one. Every point is well made. I want to focus on two of them.
Be willing and able to relocate: The economy is better than it was in 2009, but it’s still not great. To have the wide range of opportunities and the best chance for an optimal salary, be open to moving. Study the industry you want to work in and identify where it is strongest. I’d recommend looking at 3-5 cities. Find ones you would want to live in where there are opportunities in your field.
“Don’t be a lifer”: Loyalty is a virtue. However, it can kill a career. Staying with the same company for 10 or 20 years sounds like a good thing, but it often limits your earning potential and chances for advancement. As the article demonstrates in a graph, loyalty makes sense for people between the ages of 45-70. It is easier to change jobs and industries early in one’s career. Explore the options that work for you and be open to relocating for new career opportunities.
If you learn to manage your career early rather than just looking for a job, you will earn more money and have more control over your destiny. Again, this article in Bloomberg is a good starting point
I have a new client that we’ll call Fred. He’s worked as a manager in the hospitality industry at the same company for over 10 years. His boss recently put all the wait staff on a tips only pay structure, which is illegal. Fred pointed this out to his boss, who then demoted him to a bartender position that is paid tips only. Fred says that his boss treated him fairly in the past and doesn’t understand what’s happened. That said, he’s getting a resume and moving on. He’s been loyal. He won’t be stupid. In this economy, workers have to be loyal to themselves, especially when bosses steal their wages.
I have a client whom I will call Mary. She has been a business manager for 15 years, working at a family-run business where she is not a family member. After going on vacation a few weeks ago, she returned to work only to learn that she had been laid off and replaced by her assistant. Mary had been hired by the business’s founder. Now, his son runs the business, and his primary value is cost control, which lets him keep more money in “the family.” 15 years of loyalty mean nothing.
A few years ago, one of my friends worked as a manager for a home health service. The owner of the business had three daughters. My friend trained one daughter, then another, and then she trained the youngest daughter, who took over her job. The business owner told my friend that she appreciated her work, but family comes first. The irony is that the company went out of business three years later.
Not all family businesses are cruel or disloyal. But, if you work for a small family business, it’s probably good to remember that – as my friend’s boss put it – “family comes first.”