Thursday, March 02, 2006

HB Presents: Salaryman Lessons 3

OK Class, welcome back. Today we're going to cover something important: being recruited. Yesterday afternoon I was invited to apply for a position with a new company, so today's lesson is on mobility, upward or outward.

In Salaryman Lessons 1, we covered the two most important aspects of being employed: looking good, and knowing how to drink coffee. Salaryman Lessons 2 discussed the nuances of peer-group socializing (something that these kids could learn a thing or several about) and avoiding the dreaded “double-dip.”

Today, in Salaryman Lessons 3, we bring it all together: how to decide when you are so totally smooth, so adept at sipping warm beverages, that you are ready for the express elevator to the executive floor. At first glance, the call I received today was that keycard to suite-level: a product management opportunity at a giant public company, in consumer electronics development, in a very high-tech industry with literally billions of development dollars already behind it. Stock options! Marble toilets! Sign me up!

Well, maybe. Because there are a few key questions you need to ask yourself before you jump on and ride it to Gravytown:

1. Is the company that is calling me currently undergoing a very public Chapter 11 bankruptcy re-organization? (Yes). If the answer is yes, you might want to think this over pretty carefully.

2. Has the product line that this company wants to put me in charge of ever made any money? (No, not according to their filings). Again, this is like Woody Woodpecker drilling “Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” right into your forehead. At some point the investors are going to pull the plug on this line, or it will be sold at a huge loss. How much time would you have to learn the industry before you had to 'transition' to something new?

3. Are the odds favorable that over the long term I will have the same type of opportunity at my current firm? (Possible to likely.) Does it matter? Their checks clear.

So it’s not as simple as it looks. Sure it’s flattering to get the call – which is why it’s so dangerous! This job is glamorous, but the company has problems. I also have a few things going for me already - I like my job now, and it has a higher level of job-security than a new position at a bankrupt firm. The most important thing for me though is that even though this position would probably pay more in the short term, in the long term I will never have as much creative control or product influence at a large company as I do at the firm we've been building over the last few years. I don't see the point in going from mainspring to cog again, it's why I left my last job.

And that, class, is one to grow on. Stay tuned four Salaryman Lessons 4: "What to do when they clean the fridge and toss that sandwich half you were saving." (Here's a hint: "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!")

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1 comment:

Judy said...

Congrats - that is a HUGE kudos to you for being considered for that job! Even if it is with a wishy-washy may-not-be-here-tomorrow company, you should be highly flattered.

I think in one of your upcoming reports you need to address "Bathroom etiquette - what to do when the big cheese is in the john with you" - especially hitting on body noises as I KNOW my husband could probably use a few pointers in that area! HAHA