Job opportunities plentiful for executives

Dear Joan:
I read several recent columns of yours in the Sunday paper and decided to write to you regarding my situation.

I am the president of a small business in Illinois that is for sale. It is very likely that the company will be sold in the next thirty days. When the transaction closes, I will receive substantial cash for my stock but my job will end. I have spent the last seven years working for this company, but now at age thirty-nine I find myself in the job market again.

Are there any sources of information for executives who are dissatisfied with their present job or for people in my position? I realize that some corporations have extensive executive outplacement programs, but my firm is too small for that. If you could give me any information about resources I could use in either obtaining a new position or a new company, please let me know.

There are some pros and cons here. The pros: You are young, have a comfortable financial cushion and, therefore, time to look for a good job. The cons: Some companies may be hesitant to hire you at a level lower than president because they fear you'll be dissatisfied.

Here are some ideas for you:

Consider looking at companies that were your competitors. Larger competitors may be interested in your credentials and won't be threatened by your former title. A smaller competitor's president might fear that your private agenda is to unseat him or her.

You might try contacting your suppliers and customers for leads in related industries. These sister operations might be interested in your experience and perspective.

If you have not been a part of a professional group-either formally or informally-you will be at a disadvantage when you try to find out what's available. Groups such as Rotary Clubs are not only helpful for sharing ideas and support but can be lifelines for job changers.

If you are able to relocate, you'll probably want to watch the Wall Street Journal for executive level openings. Also look in trade journals that specialize in your field.

You may want to call executive search firms and let them know you are available. As you probably know, these firms are hired by companies to locate very specialized or high level executives.

Even though they can't act as your employment agency, they may know of something that's available or be able to connect you to someone else. In any event, you can be sure you'll be added to their active file.

If you want to buy a company, try some of the brokers that specialize in selling small to medium sized companies. Every state has brokers that match buyers and sellers of many kinds of businesses-everything from small retail service establishments to good size manufacturing companies.

Brokers get many of their tips from bankers, accountants and attorneys. You may want to pay a visit to the commercial loan officer at your bank to see if they have any information.

What ever you do, don't rest on your laurels thinking you have plenty of time to find a job. The longer you're unemployed, the greater the skepticism of the potential employer.

You may be able to do some consulting in your field. This may be more than a temporary solution if you have vital skills to sell. Many consulting businesses are booming in this country as large organizations are scaling down and using outside resources.

Even though your job has ended, you're fortunate to be able to take some time out and think about what direction you wish to take. Now is the time to ask yourself "What do I want to do and what really is satisfying to me?" Indulge yourself with some healthy self-exploration. 

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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